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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: February 11, 2009
CONTACT: Pamela Monroe, (603) 271-0882

State Settles Air Pollution Case with Pinetree Power, Inc –
Bethlehem Power Station for $92,700

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Thomas S. Burack announced today the execution of an Administrative Fine by Consent with Pinetree Power, Inc. of Houston, Texas, for its wood-fired electric generating facility in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. The settlement resolves alleged violations of the New Hampshire Air Pollution Control Act and the Federal Clean Air Act that occurred at the Bethlehem facility during the installation of pollution control equipment in 2008.

Under the terms of the settlement, Pinetree Power agreed to pay administrative fines totaling $92,700 for violations of its air permit, of which $23,175 will be paid in cash to the State. The remaining penalty of $69,525 will be paid in the form of supplemental environmental projects to fund local energy efficiency related projects, renewable energy projects, clean fleet programs, or other environmentally related programs to benefit the Town of Bethlehem.

Pinetree Power operates a 17.5 megawatt wood-fired electric generating facility. In March of 2008, Pinetree Power undertook the installation of overfire air and flue gas recirculation technologies, as well as selective catalytic and non-catalytic reduction systems. Installation of this technology provides air quality benefits by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions approximately 65 percent. However, during the equipment installation, Pinetree Power’s contractor incorrectly installed the overfire air dampers, thereby causing carbon monoxide emissions to exceed the federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit limits.

"Even though, in the end, Pinetree Power’s pollution control project will provide a net benefit to the environment, the company must comply with all environmental requirements and permits along the way," said DES Commissioner Burack. "In settling this matter, we took into account the cooperation of the company, the efforts it took to address the violations and the ultimate environmental benefits of the project."

The installation of the control technology qualifies Pinetree Power for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) under New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standards program. As a renewable power source generator that now meets specified emission standards, Pinetree is eligible to receive RECs. Each REC is a marketable/tradeable commodity that represents one megawatt hour (1,000 kWh) of power generation from a renewable energy source. Pinetree Power’s air pollution control project helps to assure the continued use of biomass as a renewable resource and will help meet Governor Lynch’s commitment to have 25 percent of the state’s energy use supplied by renewable energy sources by 2025.

For information on the settlement with Pinetree Power and New Hampshire’s air quality compliance program, contact Pamela Monroe, Compliance Bureau Administrator, at 271-0882.

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