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February 28th, 2013

Torrefied Wood: A New Renewable Energy Export For New England?

by Andrew Price, President & COO

Thermogen Industries has made some very big announcements recently about a new energy product, torrefied wood pellets. Although compatible with residential and commercial wood pellet stoves, Thermogen has indicated that its torrefied wood pellets are not currently targeted at local consumers. Instead Thermogen indicates it has its sights set on coal fired power plants in the UK and Europe. Thermogen has proposed building a production facility in Eastport Maine that could cost as much as $120 million, as well as a $48 million production facility in Millinocket Maine.

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February 22nd, 2013

High Wholesale Electricity Prices In New England: When Should Consumers Expect Relief?

by Andrew Price, President & COO

Wholesale power prices in New England have been extremely high this winter. Electric commodity prices in the real-time and day-ahead markets are near 10 cents per kWh on average and have exceeded 70 cents per kWh at times. This compares to an average of less than 4 cents per kWh last January and February. The cause of high prices is not a mystery; New England’s heavy dependence on natural gas for power generation is in conflict with the region’s growing demand for natural gas as a heating and process fuel. Coupled with inadequate infrastructure to import natural gas from outside the region and some key outages at New Brunswick Canada natural gas production facilities, the fuel shortage is creating persistently high electricity prices.

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February 14th, 2013

Northeast Carbon Cap Reduction Proposed: Valentine Folly or Gift?

by Andrew Price, President & COO

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is looking for some love this Valentine’s Day for its plan to reduce allowable carbon dioxide emissions by 45%. The cap on emissions would be reduced from the current 165 million short tons to 91 million short tons in 2014. The cap would fall by an additional 2.5% in 2015 and each year thereafter through 2020. Although a 45% reduction in a single year may seem like a very large request, even on Valentine’s Day, the proposed cap is set about equal to current emission levels. The price of RGGI carbon allowances has traded near the regulatory floor price of $1.93 per short ton for many years, due to a cap that has been far above actual emissions.

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