Maine utility regulators are soliciting proposals from qualifying combined heat and power projects that use wood fuel to generate electric heat and power for industrial or space heating purposes to sell energy, capacity or renewable energy credits (RECs) to Maine's investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities.
Cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), involves the generation of electricity in ways that also enable the productive use of heat from the generation process. Cogeneration can provide significant efficiency advantages compared to standalone electric power generation using thermal fuels, because typical standalone electric power plants cannot capture as much of their fuels' energy content as can CHP plants.
A law enacted by the Maine legislature in 2022 requires the state's Public Utilities Commission to establish a wood-fired CHP program. The law, An Act To Establish a Wood-fired Combined Heat and Power Program. P.L. 2021, Chapter 604, creates opportunities for qualifying combined heat and power projects to seek Commission-ordered long-term contracts to sell electricity or RECs to Maine's investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities.
To implement the Act, the Commission has issued a Request for Proposals in Docket No. 2022-00342. To be a qualifying combined heat and power project for this RFP, a generation facility must meet the requirements of Section 3 of last year’s new law, including the following: