(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and U.S. Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) applauded a $1 million award to Continuum in North Conway to support the Ridgeline Assisted Living Community Wood Chip Fueled District Heating and Cooling Plant. This award will help Continuum modernize and streamline its wood energy production, including through state-of-the-art engineering features to maximize efficiency and meet emission control standards.
The Senators both wrote letters in support of Continuum’s application for this award from the U.S. Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture, and it’s the second year in a row that a project in New Hampshire has been among the highest award recipients. The funding comes as part of a batch of awards announced through the Community Wood Energy Program Grants.
“Harnessing renewable energy from wood supports New Hampshire’s forest products industry and helps increase our energy independence. I’m thrilled to see $1 million awarded to Continuum in North Conway, which continues to be on the forefront of innovation in biomass and wood energy,” said Senator Shaheen. “This funding will help create new jobs, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, increase energy savings and promote economic activity in our rural communities. I’ll continue fighting for the resources our forest communities need to thrive and grow.”
“Investing in wood energy helps our communities by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and strengthening our energy independence,” said Senator Hassan. “I am pleased to have helped secure this federal funding for Continuum in North Conway, so that they can continue to modernize. Energy efficiency not only helps the environment, but also supports good-paying jobs and boosts our economy -- and I will continue to work to invest in our clean energy future.”
“Wood energy systems are essential to transitioning away from fossil fuels and ensuring American energy independence, and New Hampshire has the opportunity to be a leader in ongoing efforts to expand biomass energy production,” said Rep. Kuster. “I’m pleased to see this funding heading to Continuum to upgrade their production capacity, create new jobs, and support our rural communities as they utilize low-carbon energy resources. I will continue working in Congress to advance smart energy policies and bolster energy security for generations to come.”
“These federal funds will help support New Hampshire’s forest industry, which is vital to our economic growth,” said Rep. Pappas. “It is critical that we invest in a more sustainable future and improve our energy independence. I’m pleased to see USDA award additional funds to Continuum to develop more energy-efficient infrastructure, spur economic growth, and lower energy costs for Granite State families.”
“We are very appreciative of the grant from USDA for this exciting renewable energy project,” said Joe Hogan, CEO of Continuum of North Conway, developers of the Ridgeline Community mixed commercial/assisted living campus. “The support of Senators Shaheen and Hassan, and Congressman Pappas demonstrates the statewide significance of this project, where we’ll use locally and sustainably sourced wood chips to virtually eliminate our need for imported fossil fuels to heat and ]cool the major buildings.”
Senator Shaheen has long advocated for America’s forests and initiatives that would create markets for low-grade wood as a renewable energy fuel. In the FY 2022 government funding bill signed into law, Shaheen championed the Community Wood Energy program and helped secure $4.5 million to assist communities recovering from biomass plant closures. Shaheen also co-led bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins – the Community Wood Energy Innovation Act – which was included in the Farm bill signed into law in 2018. Their bipartisan bill expanded eligibility for Community Wood Energy Program (CWEP), incentivizes investments in energy-efficient wood energy systems and supports facilities that repurpose low-grade, low-value wood that would otherwise be sent to landfills.
Shaheen previously led a bipartisan letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging the Biden administration to level the playing field among fuel sources and address languishing applications under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program, including moving forward with allowing renewable electricity made from biomass to qualify if it is used to power electric vehicles. Shaheen also helped reintroduce bipartisan legislation that would incentivize the use of energy-efficient biomass heaters in homes and businesses instead of relying on fossil fuel energy. The Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act would amend the federal tax code to incentivize the use of energy efficient wood boilers, stoves and heaters through tax credits for capital costs incurred in commercial and industrial installations. The BTU Act will also extend the residential credit passed last year through 2028.