Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance
At a Glance
Clean and Renewable Energy, Financial Evaluation and Planning
Sudhanya Banerjee provided expertise, conducted research, and built a tool to assist DCAMM in decision-making when considering a switch to renewable biomass in state-owned buildings.
The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) works with state agencies to create and manage forward-thinking, sustainable buildings to meet the needs of the citizens of Massachusetts. Although the Commonwealth has dramatically reduced fossil fuel oil consumption (84% reduction from FY06 through FY17) in state-owned facilities, some fuel oil facilities remain. This presents an opportunity to explore renewable options to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower operational expenses. EDF Climate Corps fellow Sudhanya Banerjee was engaged to assess the feasibility of switching to renewable biomass resources.
Banerjee reviewed historical data on fossil fuel energy usage and annual operating expenditures for 33 state facilities spanning 3 Commonwealth agencies. To take advantage of the expanded Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (APS) Program to capture renewable thermal credits, he explored woody biomass opportunities by studying associated fuel types, equipment suppliers, sourcing options and supply chain requirements necessary to meet program requirements. Banerjee modeled the impacts of renewable thermal “credits” on project cash flows for various biomass fuel varieties. The model was built in a user-friendly spreadsheet format allowing input of specific site-based parameters to aid in decision-making during project development. This is particularly helpful when comparing capital and operating costs of traditional fossil-fueled boilers and renewable woody biomass systems. This financial modeling is critical to assessing the impact of the APS Renewable Thermal credits on a project’s financial viability. The spreadsheet tool also includes a life-cycle cost analysis model with sensitivity analysis that quantifies the financial implications and GHG emissions reduction potential of making a switch to biomass resources.
It is vital for DCAMM to understand the financial implications of switching from fossil fuels to woody biomass resources for state facilities. The ability to quantify the potential APS credit revenue a facility will receive for burning a particular biomass fuel type is important during project development to maximize project paybacks and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. This will help the Commonwealth assess woody biomass boilers as another option for environmental sustainability in investment decisions.