Black Fly Breakfast Tomorrow – Henniker, NH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Henniker, NH (May 5, 2011)

 13th Annual Black Fly Breakfast to Highlight NH Biomass Plants in Crisis

Representatives from biomass plants and timberland owners to detail economic benefits of industry

 The 13th Annual Black Fly Breakfast, hosted by theUniversityofNew Hampshire Cooperative Extensionand being held Friday morning at Pat’s Peak Ski Area in Henniker, will include a series of speakers highlighting the current crisis facingNew Hampshire’s biomass industry.

Members of the forestry, logging, and related industries are increasingly concerned about the negative consequences posed by the potentially imminent closings of several ofNew Hampshire’s biomass plants, including the loss of than 400 – 500 jobs and more than $45 million in local economic activity.

Recent market conditions have resulted in an uncertain future for the six independent biomass-burning power plants in New Hampshire that collectively provide up to 100 MW of renewable electricity – enough to power 100,000 homes – to the New England electric power grid. These plants directly employ more than 100 employees and pay nearly $1.1 million dollars in state and local taxes.  In addition, their suppliers and subcontractors employ more than 400 workers in the form of chip producers, truckers, mechanics and maintenance sub-contractors.

The state ofNew Hampshirewill lose over $45 million dollars annually in economic activity if the four biomass plants with expiring contracts –Bethlehem, Tamworth,Bridgewater, andAlexandria– do not get renewed.  These plants, and the jobs that are created, are a critical part of theNew Hampshireeconomy, and a source of well paying rural jobs.

Speakers at the Black Fly Breakfast will include Bridgewater Power Plant Operator Mike O’Leary, New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA) Executive Director Jasen Stock, and Sarah Smith of the UNH Cooperative Extension.

Jasen Stock of the NHTOA will provide an overview of the state’s energy policy. “Its essential that those in related industries, our state government, and all New Hampshire citizens understand the key role that these biomass plants play in our state’s energy ‘big picture’,” said Stock, “The loss of these plants would hurt our state’s economy and have disastrous consequences across the forestry and logging industries.”

“I plan to speak to the current market conditions that biomass plants are facing, as well as the wide-ranging economic benefits of this industry,” said Plant Operator Mike O’Leary, “Bridgewater Power, along with three other biomass plants in the state, faces imminent shutdown if we are unable to secure short-term contracts to keep us in business and our workers employed.  In this tough economy,New Hampshiresimply can’t afford to lose any more jobs.”

The Black Fly Breakfast is held annually as an educational opportunity for members of the forestry and logging industries.  The event is free and open to members of the press.  For more information about the Black Fly Breakfast, including program details and directions, visit: http://extension.unh.edu/FWT/docs/BlackFly_may2011.pdf

For more information, please contact Amelia Chasse at Novus Public Affairs at (603) 570-9063.

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