The Sullivan County Biomass Heating System on the Unity Campus provides the County with the benefits of annual energy savings, keeping dollars spent on energy in the local area, reduced reliance on fossil fuels, and reduced net carbon footprint. Built in 2014, the Biomass Plant burns wood chips, a by-product from the local lumber industry, to generate stream used for heating, hot water, cooking, and laundry operations.
On average, the Biomass System burns 3,000 tons of wood chips each year, displacing more than 111,000 gallons of fuel oil. In 2021, the fuel savings between the cost of wood chips vs. fuel oil was more for the County were over $81,000. As fossil fuel prices continue to rise, the Biomass System will continue to save the County in its annual heat production, as well as continue to support the local economy.
Burning wood is also cleaner than burning fossil fuels, and the Biomass System emits over 100 less tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually than if burning fuel oil.
As of Spring 2019, the System also provides the County with an annual revenue stream from the sale of Thermal Renewable Energy Certificates (T-RECs). T-RECs are generated based on the amount of measured useful heat that is produced by the biomass system. In 2021, T-RECs brought in more than $76,000 in revenue to the County after fees which directly offsets the cost of woodchips and other costs associated with running the Biomass Plant.
Original construction of the Biomass System was funded in part by grants from North Country Rural Conservation and Development Council, US Forest Service, and NH Public Utilities Commission, as well as an USDA Community Facilities Loan.