Effort to Derail Scrubber Construction Puts 1,000 NH Jobs in Jeopardy

CONCORD, NH — A new study shows that as many as 1,000 jobs could be impacted if installation of a wet flue gas desulphurization system, so called scrubber, at Public Service of New Hampshire’s Merrimack Station is delayed or stopped.

The economic impact analysis, prepared by Chief Economist Lisa Shapiro, Ph.D., and Market and Policy Analyst Heidi Kroll, will provide an estimate of the economic benefits to New Hampshire — jobs, gross state product, and personal income — from the project. The study was prepared for Public Service of New Hampshire and complete details of the study will be provided as part of an informational hearing on Senate Bill 152 on Friday, March 13th.

Installation of a scrubber at Merrimack Station is mandated by a law passed by the New Hampshire Legislature and signed by Governor Lynch in 2006 to reduce mercury emissions from the facility. Started in 2006, the scrubber project is currently completing phase 1 construction and phase 2 construction is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks.

“At a time when New Hampshire faces the highest unemployment levels the state has experienced in the last fifteen years, this project will create and sustain approximately 300 to 500 jobs directly involved with the project and another 500 to 700 jobs throughout the economy as a result of direct, indirect, and induced spending from the project,” said Dr. Shapiro, Chief Economist at Gallagher, Callahan and Gartrell. “More importantly, these jobs are immediate and sustained over the next four years.”

The study found that the number of jobs will peak in 2010, at a median estimate of over 1,200 jobs, when activity on the project is at its highest.

The analysis uses a model of the New Hampshire economy developed by the Regional Economic Model, Inc. (REMI), which is a 23-sector single-region REMI model, widely used by government and private forecasters to simulate the effect on the economy of various private and public initiatives and policy proposals. In New Hampshire, the REMI model was used, for example, by the University of New Hampshire to estimate the economic benefits of enacting legislation to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and has been used by the New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau (ELMI) to estimate the economic impacts from large mill closures in the North Country.