The town of Lyme in New Hampshire’s Upper Valley has been a leader in clean energy initiatives not just locally but nationally too. According to members of the Town’s Energy Committee, Lyme was one of the country’s early adopters of heating a municipal building with bulk wood pellets.
In addition to the residential support for solar, the Town embraced wood pellets as a source of energy. The Town built a new Department of Works garage for the town’s snow plows. As part of that process the design included two pellet boilers. “I think Lyme is looking for opportunity for renewable local resources; like pellet wood,” added Bolinger. “This area is a very good presence in the wood pellet industry between firms that work in the area and forestry companies. It’s one of the motivators on the biomass side is to keep it local and reinvest our energy dollars local rather sending it out of New England.”
Fast forward 10 years, and the Lyme school is now powered by clean energy, replacing two aging fuel oil boilers with two automatic pellet boilers along with a 500-gallon thermal storage tank and 25-ton fuel silo.
The dual biomass pellet boilers generate 100% of the heating energy for the 41,700 sq. elementary school. “The school is registered as a renewable energy source which allows them to sell to the open energy market,” said Scott Nichols, Tarm USA, a local biomass company responsible for distributing the wood pellet equipment. Scott is also a member of Lyme’s Energy Committee. “Last quarter the school earned $1,800 in revenue by selling energy credits and over the course of the year that will be an additional $7,000 in revenue for the town.”
“My perspective is that wood pellets are a locally made fuel source. There is no other conventional heating source for businesses, homes, or towns that come from New England, New Hampshire or Vermont. Renewables are the only option and when it comes to heat, biomass is one of the only renewable energy options. We provide a means for heating that is carbon better, locally made, non-toxic, and completely automatic, it’s the same service as gas and oil but better for the environment. From a budgeting standpoint, the fuel costs are extremely substantial. Wood pellets are a very easy thing to use. Stable, and always has been.”
Scott Nichols, President, Tarm USA
Scott attended the September 8, 2016 Listening Session at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon
Mark Bolinger, Chair of the Lyme Energy Committee
“More than 40 homes were converted to solar. At the time Lyme was the first in New Hampshire per capita to have residential solar.”