Library filed under Energy Policy from New Hampshire
The NH House Science Technology and Energy Committee narrowly voted Tuesday to gut energy-efficiency funding through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and roll back the state’s renewable energy standard, in a move that one Republic denounced as partisan and a Democrat called “nuts.”
Clean tech energy advocates – worried about the effect a cantankerous legislative process was having on the burgeoning technology in New Hampshire – may have been somewhat relieved by NH Sen. Jeb Bradley’s words at this year’s NH Energy Summit in Concord. “I am ready for a bit of a break on energy this year,” he said at the Tuesday gathering.
Representatives of five transmission projects proposed in July in response to the Massachusetts solicitation for 9.45 TWh/year of hydro and Class I renewables (wind, solar or energy storage) tried to explain why their projects should be among those selected in January. Contracts awarded under the MA 83D request for proposals are to be submitted in late April.
Evans-Brown says opponents want to know why their scenery should become the pass-through for Massachusetts' electricity needs, "people who have businesses that would be impacted by the construction, and who believe they're business depends on tourists coming up to visit. There's a very famous pancake parlor that the owner came and gave very impassioned testimony."
“I think that would take some coordination among the New England governors to begin with. And I think it would take a real tough look at what got us here," Monahan says. "Did we overbuild the system? And then unwinding those investments is going to be particular challenging. You can’t just up and disrupt that process in the middle.”
In December, 2015, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (‘SEC’) adopted new rules governing the siting of energy projects in the state, including wind energy facilities. The new rules represent the culmination of 2+ years of intense focus by stakeholders with widely varying interests. In that time, the SEC conducted months of hearings and deliberative sessions, all open to public, where thousands of pages of detailed comments were debated and ultimately distilled down to standards intended to better quantify the data presented by applicants, reduce subjectivity and lead to more informed, and more consistent decisions on energy facility siting.
Backers of gas generation countered that renewables are benefiting from government-backed subsidies and long-term contracts that threaten to reintroduce government-mandated integrated resource planning. ...state policies are giving renewables undue advantage and undermining conventional generators’ investments in the market.
"Subsidizing an overdependence on one foreign government-owned source of electricity will lead to lost jobs and soaring energy bills for decades to come," said Dan Dolan, the group's president....Hydro-Quebec would use increased U.S. exports to subsidize lower prices for its provincial customers, in turn costing New England ratepayers an estimated $20 billion over 25 years.
Dozens of submissions will need to be vetted in coming months as the three states look to sign long-term contracts for electricity from wind turbines, dams and solar projects. The states are seeking up to 600 megawatts of power.
Companies designing projects to bring clean electricity to southern New England say they’re grateful Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have finally made a request for proposals to carry that power to the region. But meeting the region’s longer-term goal of expanding the use of renewable electricity from wind, solar and hydroelectricity will require more transmission capacity than the states requested, said Edward Krapels, the CEO of Anbaric Transmission, which is proposing one project in Maine and another Vermont.
Washington -- Aggressive energy efficiency efforts and new distributed generation capacity -- virtually all of it in the form of solar projects -- are combining to put a lid on growth in peak demand and electric use in New England, ISO New England said in its newly released 2015 Regional System Plan.
New England’s most populous states are looking to tap Canadian dams and rivers for more of their electricity, a change that officials say would help cut greenhouse-gas emissions and help keep some of the nation’s highest power prices in check.
With so many major projects in play, the role of the committee has never been so politically charged. Since 2013, two bills have been signed into law that were designed to enhance public participation and provide more protections for property owners during committee deliberations, but critics say the process is moving in the opposite direction.
House Bill 208 originally would have repealed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program, but was changed by the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee to retain the emissions reduction program, but use all the money generated by emission allowance auctions as rebates to electric customers.
Flanagan said the program has created a slush fund used to balance the state budget, more than encouraging renewables. The state Legislature in 2013 grabbed more than $17 million from the Renewable Energy Fund to balance the budget and bail out the financially troubled Tri-County Community Action program in the North Country, leaving a balance of $7.8 million for renewable energy grants and rebates.
DOVER — New Hampshire has work to do if it wants to secure its energy future.
While highlighting what he said is a "lack of adequate infrastructure" in New England, Tony Clark, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also told U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in an Oct. 15 letter that he is concerned that "there is a deeper flaw in the existing electricity regulatory regimes in place throughout the Northeastern United States."
Asked what specific steps the U.S. should take to reduce its reliance on foreign oil, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster barely mentions natural gas, while her Republican challenger in the 2nd District, Marilinda Garcia, doesn't mention renewable energy sources
Nearly half of New England’s electricity is now generated by natural gas, compared with just 15 percent in 2000. But officials say the region doesn’t have the pipeline infrastructure to match the need. The problems arise during the winter, when electric power generators and home heating companies are both vying for natural gas, which is funneled to the region through pipelines coming from the Pennsylvania area.
“New Hampshire Wind Watch is appalled by the governor’s selection,” said Lori Lerner, president of the group that aims to educate people about the effects of industrial wind projects in the state. The public member is meant be a citizen affected by the energy projects, Lerner said. “The intent was never to have legislators or additional state officials in the process.”