Located in New Hampshire, the Schiller Station is a power generation facility that is a member of the Northern Wood Power Project. It is known for its usage of wood chips as a fuel source instead of the more commonly used fossil fuels or coal. Indeed, the plant did use a coal boiler, but this was removed in 2006. In its place, a 50 megawatt wood chip boiler was installed.
Public Service of New Hampshire, the local utility provider in the area, backed the conversion. The Northern Wood Power Project was able to use $70 million for the costs of the new boiler installation and is now capable of using wood chips, a renewable energy source. 400,000 tons of wood are estimated to be burned per year, purchased from local members of the timber industry.
The Schiller Station’s primary source of profit is from Renewable Energy Certificates. Certificates are granted for each megawatt-hour of electricity introduced to the local grid. Since it is one of New Hampshire’s most productive projects using renewable energy sources, it can qualify for approximately 300,000 Renewable Energy Certificates per year. The plant can then take these certificates and sell them to other local providers of electricity, funding the plants operation and offsetting the cost of conversion to wood chip burning.
Owned by the Public Service of New Hampshire, the Schiller Station is one of multiple sites owned by the company. Over 1,200 are employed, and the plants provide power to nearly half a million customers. The company was established in 1926 and has continued to expand. The Public Service of New Hampshire is a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, which operates out of Connecticut.
The Schiller Station, like so many power plants established in the 20th century, likely used the material asbestos. It is now known that asbestos poses a health risk to improperly safeguarded handlers, often with cancerous health effects not occurring until 20 or more years after exposure. Mesothelioma is an uncommon form of cancer that develops in the lining of air passages and the lungs and has been tied to exposure to asbestos. Often patients are diagnosed during the later stages of cancer, leaving little chance of remission.