In 2015, New Hampshire set a record for biomass use: 2.6 million tons of low-grade wood was converted to electricity. In 2014, biomass accounted for roughly 22 percent of Maine’s total harvest volume. Depending on local markets, biomass represents between 20-30 percent of the harvest volume in the Northeast, which equates to a significant amount of electricity produced from renewable resources grown in local forests.
Biomass power plants are key outlets for low-grade wood, yet many are economically challenged in the region; some have closed altogether, while others hang on by a thread. Biomass electricity—generated either for the larger power grid or for internal use by forest industries—competes economically against other fuels. But with falling prices for natural gas (the most common generation fuel in the Northeast) and limited growth in the electricity market, biomass has struggled to remain competitive as a fuel source.