Business and Economy

ISO-New England

New England has gotten federal approval for a first-in-the-nation type of power supply auction. It'll let new renewable energy projects take over for old fossil fuel plants on the grid.

Once a year, the nonprofit grid operator ISO-New England holds an auction for power generators who want to supply energy for the region, starting three years out. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Eversource is asking New Hampshire regulators to reconsider their rejection of the Northern Pass project.

The utility filed a motion Wednesday with the state Site Evaluation Committee, or SEC. It wants the committee’s Feb. 1 denial of the project thrown out and the case re-heard. Eversource argues the SEC didn’t do its required diligence in discussing all the criteria the project had to meet to get a permit. 

Courtesy Brady Sullivan

New Hampshire-based developer Brady Sullivan is facing new lawsuits over severe mold in a Rhode Island apartment building.

The complaints are from current and former tenants of the Harris Mill Lofts in Coventry. They allege Brady Sullivan ignored their complaints as mold spread, causing serious chronic health problems.

Brady Sullivan denies the allegations. In a statement, spokeswoman Patti Doyle says the company is currently assessing safety issues at five units in Harris Mill.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts opted last week for one large power line to cover a big chunk of its energy needs for the next 20-plus years.

The Northern Pass proposal beat out other big transmission projects and dozens of smaller options for the right to supply all renewable power the Commonwealth wants.

As NHPR's Annie Ropeik reports, this has analysts and developers wondering what role smaller projects will play in the future of the grid.

PSNH / Flickr Creative Commons

The state Supreme Court has ruled for Eversource in the company's fight with the town of Bow over the value of a local power plant.

The decision comes as the utility finishes selling off Merrimack Station as part of its deregulation process.

The plant and some related assets have made up a big part of Bow's tax rolls for decades.

via NEPGA

New England's electrical grid is working overtime to keep up with power demand during this record cold spell – but analysts say recent upgrades to the system's safety net are paying off.

Dan Dolan is president of the New England Power Generators Association. He says his members learned their lesson from 2014's Polar Vortex, when fuel prices spiked as power suppliers scrambled to meet demand.

flickr/bcgrote

A new bill aims to give public sector workers more protections when it comes to workplace accidents or deaths.

A group of education and economic development officials are discussing how to meet New Hampshire's workforce demands.

The group met in Bedford on Wednesday at a forum on the future of the state’s workforce. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Taylor Caswell, the commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs who attended the forum.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

  The state won't make a final decision on the Northern Pass project until late February – but Eversource is already recruiting a workforce to build the transmission line if it's approved.

At least 100 residents and business owners from around New England braved snowy roads for a job fair in the White Mountains Wednesday.

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

Eversource is demanding a national environmental group take down a study that suggests they unfairly withheld natural gas capacity and inflated electric rates – but the Environmental Defense Fund is standing by its research.

Sam Evans-Brown /NHPR

Eversource is recruiting workers and suppliers for the Northern Pass power project, even as it awaits state approval.

The utility will hold job fairs for the major new transmission line in the North Country on Wednesday, and in Concord in January.

I am I.A.M. via Flicker Creative Commons

The New Hampshire-Canada Business Development Forum is scheduled for Friday in Whitefield. The forum will include a discussion on the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiation, which has been a source of tension within the trade relationship.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

An economist says New Hampshire state revenues are showing signs of leveling off.

Greg Bird of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies says there's been a marked slowdown in the growth rates of four state taxes: business profits, business enterprise, meals and rentals and real estate transfers.

He says the other 15 revenue streams that feed the state's General and Education funds have remained static for the past 2 1/2 years.

Allegra Boverman, NHPR

The medical and biotechnology industries have grown in New Hampshire the past few years as companies continue to move and expand throughout the state.

Liisa Rajala is an associate editor for the New Hampshire Business Review.

She spoke with Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley about the future of bio and medical technology in the state, and how these industries have already made an impact on cities like Manchester.

Let's get a brief recap of what this growth of the Manchester area is looking like. It's been going on for years now.

Jim Cole / Associated Press

Ten years after a paper mill shut down in the village of Groveton, New Hampshire, a Vermont manufacturer has taken root and has 92 people at work.

Last year, NSA Industries of St. Johnsbury, a metal fabrication company, signed a long-term lease to rent 73,000 square feet (6781 sq. meters) of space on the site of the former Wausau Paper Mill in Groveton.

NSA Industries bought $3 million in equipment, and plans to double that. It also plans to hire about a dozen more people.

Michael Kooiman/wikimedia

Wages in New Hampshire fell in the fourth quarter of 2016, mirroring a trend seen across the country.

The average weekly paycheck in New Hampshire was $1,092, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is down 4.1% from the previous year, the fourth largest decline in the country, and the largest dip in New England.

Cori Princell / NHPR

A company in Quebec announced Friday it’s opening up new operations in Berlin. Deflex produces fiberglass parts for Volvo buses and waterslides. The family-owned company says they’ve been looking for a way to make their products in America for American clients, and that they’ve been talking with New Hampshire officials about the move for over a year. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s economic output grew by 3 percent in 2016, the fourth highest rate in the country.

A new report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows the state’s finance and insurance sector helped fuel that performance, along with gains in retail and durable goods manufacturing.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, New Hampshire’s GDP kicked up at an annualized rate of 2.4 percent, a slowdown from the 4.6 percent growth seen in the third quarter of 2016.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A group of New Hampshire investors are launching the largest seed stage venture capital fund in state history.

Jaksmata/Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, the Trump Administration announced it will raise tariffs on lumber imported from Canada. The move comes in response to claims that the Canadian Government is providing unfair subsidies, which help undercut American producers. For home builders and saw mills in New Hampshire, the announcement is prompting very different reactions.

NH DRED

The Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism is hoping out-of-state experts can help in-state businesses attract more visitors.

Matthew Roth/Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire continues to add high-paying tech jobs to the state’s economy--just not fast enough to meet the sector’s growing demand.

Carsey School of Public Policy

New research from the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH shows the number of part-time employees who want to be working full-time has still not returned to pre-recession levels.

While the overall unemployment number is back to pre-recession levels, the percentage of workers who are part time but would like to be full-time remains higher than before the great recession.

Rebecca Glauber, author of the study, says the findings are an important asterisk to the overall unemployment rate.

Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate held steady at 2.7 percent for January, with modest job gains across a number of sectors.

Current Population Survey, © 2016 by Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson

New Hampshire lawmakers are again debating Right-to-Work laws, with bills currently moving through both the House and Senate. With Republican majorities in both chambers, and a newly-elected governor who favors Right-to-Work, the policy stands its best chance of passing in more than a decade.

But Right-to-Work isn’t exactly a kitchen-table kind of issue. If you aren’t in a union, or a large business owner, you may not know much about its history, what Right-to-Work does, or why it matters.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

By all accounts, commercial and residential construction is on the rebound in New Hampshire. But many general contractors say an aging workforce limits how much the market can grow.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

The term “apprentice” may conjure up thoughts of reality television and a certain President-elect, but actual apprenticeships--where workers learn skills on the job--are on the rise nationally. And in New Hampshire's health care industry, apprentices are being used as a way to fill a gap in the workforce.

Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

The state’s unemployment rate remains the lowest in the nation, dipping to 2.7% in November.

New data from the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security show the state lost 380 jobs last month, but that was offset by a shrinking labor force.

Fairpoint Communications To Be Sold

Dec 5, 2016
Ibew Fairpoint via Flickr CC

Fairpoint Communications, the largest telephone provider in Northern New England, is being sold. Illinois-based Consolidated Communications says it is buying Fairpoint for 1.5 billion dollars, marking a new chapter in the Fairpoint story, which has been marked by consumer complaints, union unrest and bankruptcy.

Last year, Fairpoint workers ended a year-long strike with a new contract that included worker concessions on health care and retirement benefits.

New unemployment figures came out Tuesday and at 2.8%, New Hampshire's rate remains the lowest in the nation. On paper, that may sound like a very good thing: nearly everyone who wants a job has one. But if you are an employer trying to fill a vacancy or a company trying to expand, these can be frustrating times.

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