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Clean Power: a step closer, a PPA short


September 23, 2009
CONCORD — Clean Power Development should have no problems connecting to the Cos loop. The company, which is one of the two working to build biomass electric generation plants in Berlin, announced on Monday they received a draft ISO-New England study concerning possible problems connecting CPD's proposed 29 megawatt plant to the regional electrical transmission grid. The study found no issues with connecting the plant to the Cos loop.

The study was conducted by Siemens Power Technologies for ISO-New England. It determined the CPD project would not cause thermal or voltage problems on the Cos loop, and it would not cause a system overload. The loop will not require an upgrade to accommodate the CPD project, the study found.

The study was the one of three hurdles CPD faced before they could start construction, according to Bill Gabler, project manager for CPD, and the other two will be addressed within a month.

"We're ready to put a shovel in the ground, all we need is a power purchase agreement" he said.

CPD filed a shoreland impact form with the state last week, Mr. Gabler said, which, along with a $2,800 fee, takes care of one hurdle. The other is a wetlands mitigation plan, which requires CPD put six acres into conservation or pay the state $70,000. CPD is looking for six acres of wetlands along the Androscoggin River they can purchase and put into conservation for less than $70,000, Mr. Gabler said, and if they can't they will pay the state.

After these final two steps are completed, however, CPD still won't be able to start building because they don't have financing.

"And the financing at this point is almost 100 percent dependent on a purchase power agreement," Mr. Gabler said.

CPD currently has a complaint filed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission accusing Public Service of New Hampshire of unfair practices. The complaint said PSNH has unfairly refused to entertain a proposal from CPD to sell PSNH power from the the Berlin plant. PSNH responded they are under no obligation to purchase power from anyone, and that CPD is trying to force PSNH in to becoming an unwilling partner.

Mr. Gabler said CPD is looking toward establishing a purchase power agreement in another market, such as Vermont or Massachusetts.

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