Last Friday, Massachusetts put into effect new regulations to govern incentives for biomass energy plants.


The new rules were based on a 2010 study led by the Manomet Center that concluded that carbon emissions from some biomass plants exceeded that from comparable fossil fuel plants.


The new rules essentially make it more difficult for biomass-burning plants to receive incentives under Massachusetts’ Renewable Portfolio Standard.


The more stringent regulations received national media attention, including an article in the Wall Street Journal and a report on National Public Radio.


About three quarters of the potential energy of the biomass is “lost right through the smokestack,” said Manomet Senior Program Leader John Gunn, in an interview last week with the Wall Street Journal.


The regulations were also praised by other conservation groups.


“The old rules seriously risked undermining the state’s ambitious climate targets by promoting projects that put more carbon pollution into the air,” said Sue Reid, vice president at the Conservation Law Foundation. “We applaud the Administration for driving this science-based policy forward.”


Mary Booth, director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, said that Massachusetts was developing “renewable energy policy on sound science.”


– Dave McGlinchey