An article that highlights the benefits of Thermal RECs was just published in the Eagle Times newspaper (Nov. 2017 update: article is no longer available). Renewable Energy Credits used to be only for electricity that was generated from renewable energy sources. However, as of two years ago, New Hampshire created Thermal RECs which the power companies can purchase in order to bring their renewable portfolios up to their required limits. That puts money into the pockets of medium to large users of biomass fuels.
In the case of SAU 6, this amounts to between $20,000 and $24,000 each year! The system they are getting most of their RECs from is in Stevens High School where they burn PDCs (precision dry wood chips) made by Froling Energy. Their other site is the Claremont Middle School which is just down the road where they burn wood pellets. Both of these systems were part of a renovation project done by Johnson Controls New England Building Efficiency. Froling Energy installed both biomass boiler systems in the summer of 2014.
During the first winter, Stevens High School burned wood pellets. However, once they realized their system could also burn PDCs which have a net cost savings of over 25%, they switched over to PDCs.
In a time of low oil and propane prices, using a lower cost fuel like PDCs and cashing in on Thermal RECs make a big difference!