A recent Maine Sunday Telegram article discussed challenges faced by the operator of the New England electrical grid during a cold snap in late December and early January (May 20). The article included a section on the role of renewables in addressing such challenges, but failed to mention the role played by electricity derived from woody biomass.

Unlike intermittent sources of renewable electricity, such as wind and solar, biomass power is a baseload source of renewable energy, which means that it can consistently generate the electrical power needed to satisfy demand. During the cold snap discussed in the article, ReEnergy’s four biomass plants in Maine were 100 percent available and near 100 percent capacity.

In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, biomass was the leading source of energy consumed by Mainers in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available.

We were closely monitoring the situation during the cold snap and noticed that renewables generally stayed at 10 to 11 percent of the electricity mix, and that more than 50 percent of that renewable mix was from woody biomass. More than 90 percent of Maine’s land is forested, and biomass is a critical part of Maine’s energy generation infrastructure that ensures continuous supply through challenging events like this.

Larry D. Richardson

CEO, ReEnergy Holdings LLC

Latham, N.Y.