Energy

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Northern Pass project is bidding for a contract to sell a portion of its energy to the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The three states have requested proposals in a process they are calling the "Clean Energy RFP" which they hope will drive down the cost of large-scale renewable energy, by buying in bulk.

The program is accepting bids from utility scale wind, solar and large-scale hydropower projects, as well as hydrogen fuel-cells and even battery storage.

Overall, natural gas is by far the most popular source of home heating in the U.S. But in the Northeast, homeowners are much more likely than in other regions to use heating oil.

Many homeowners are smiling this winter, because fuel prices are down 50 percent from two years ago.

But not everyone is happy. Buying heating oil is a little like playing poker: Bet on the wrong price and it'll cost you.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Two members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation have come out in opposition to Northeast Energy Direct—the controversial natural gas pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan.

Chesapeake Bay Program via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/UFV42

  The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in New Hampshire today promoting biomass energy. 

Lakes Region Planning Commission

A Boston hydropower developer is exploring the possibility of using two dams along a western New Hampshire river to generate electricity.

The Valley News reports Grafton Hydro has filed for a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to find out if it's feasible to generate power from the

mariordo via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/sybjF

The city of Keene has installed a new charging station for electric cars.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A Democrat running for governor is calling on New Hampshire to raise and possibly eliminate the limit on how much renewable power consumers can sell back to the state's utilities.

Under "net metering", consumers who use sources such as solar can earn credits for putting power back on the grid. The current limit in the state is 50 megawatts and the state's utilities are closing in on that figure.

Gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern said Monday the state should immediately raise the cap and consider erasing it altogether.

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

A new report on energy efficiency ranks New Hampshire in the middle among states, and lowest among the New England states. 

 Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is urging the state's congressional delegation to back President Barack Obama's proposal to significantly cut power plant emissions by 2030.

Hassan, who recently announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate, sent a letter Thursday afternoon to the delegation, saying it is clear that climate change is threatening the economy and people's way of life.

Dave Dugdale via Flickr / https://flic.kr/p/7kCZi1

Solar energy is big business in New Hampshire right now. Enough projects have submitted at least preliminary applications to add up to more than a 400 percent increase from 2014.

Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

It's one of the more, shall we say, parochial questions presidential candidates have faced on the campaign trail this year: What do you think of the proposed gas pipeline that may be routed through New Hampshire?

The pipeline is officially known as the Northeast Energy Direct Project.  And the question of whether it should run through the southern part of the state has been posed to a number of both Republicans and Democrats, including Jeb Bush. 

Kim Carpenter via Flickr CC

Heating bills should drop this winter for most U.S. households, thanks to a combination of lower energy prices and warmer weather across most of the country.

The U.S. Energy Department's annual prediction Tuesday calls for lower energy costs than the past two winters.

It says the biggest savings should be for those using propane or heating oil, with homes that use propane spending $322 less and those with heating oil spending $459 less than last winter.

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

  Organizers say today's New Hampshire Energy Summit in Concord will look at whether the state can avoid volatility in energy prices this winter.

Concerns about the region’s natural gas capacity a year ago prompted several utilities to proposed sharp price increases, followed by large drops in gas and oil prices.

Kinder Morgan

  Late Friday evening the Public Utilities Commission approved Liberty Utilities' proposal to buy space on a controversial natural gas pipeline proposed for Southern border of the state.

thomasglobal via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/9V2sxB

With every internet search come the annoying ads…popping up to obscure your view, streaming sound, or moving around distractingly in the corner. But can the internet survive without them? Today, what a new wave of ad blockers will mean for the future of the internet. Then, for a long time, being a Red Sox fan was to be an outsider, hardcore. That hard living, punk attitude motivated a group of teenagers to produce the most popular, and aggressive, T-shirt in Boston history. We’ll hear the Hollywood-worthy story behind the “Yankees Suck” t-shirt.

Eversource

Officials with Northern Pass, the controversial hydropower project, have announced an offer to bury an additional fifty-two miles of power lines – roughly a third of the total. But opponents still have concerns, including impacts on the environment and property values. We’ll get the latest, hear from both sides, and find out what might be next. 

Aboard a ferry off the coast of Rhode Island, state and federal officials take a close look at a steel structure poking out of the ocean. It's the first foundation affixed to the seafloor for a five-turbine wind farm off the state's coast.

It's a contrast to what's happening off the coast of Massachusetts. Developer Cape Wind has spent more than 10 years and millions of dollars there on a massive wind farm that it may never build.

https://flic.kr/p/5CMq7a / Flicker CC

This story starts with with John Ramaska, of Manchester, and any customer like him. A while back, he wanted to switch to heating his house with natural gas.

“My neighbor in back of me right over here has gas, so I’m in between gas and gas. No big deal, this is great!” he says, describing his thinking at the time.

But then he found out the pipe that connected him to the gas main wasn’t up to code, and he’d have to get a new hot water heater, and in the end Ramaska didn’t make the change.

The city of Portsmouth is trying to overturn a neighboring town’s approval of a controversial propane rail project. On Tuesday, a Superior Court judge heard arguments from attorneys on both sides.

The controversial Sea-3 rail expansion project would ship propane from fracking sites in the American West to their expanded Newington facility.  And it would run through Portsmouth. 

mariordo via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/sybjF

Durham is set to install a new charging station for electric cars.

Town officials say the dual-port station will be installed at the Pettee Brook parking lot, as part of a repaving project that’s set to begin this week.

According to Durham officials, the charging station is being funded by a $5,000 state grant. They say the University of New Hampshire will also contribute toward the costs.

meltedplastic / Flicker CC

The City of Manchester is halfway into replacing all of its streetlights with energy efficient LEDs.

The total price tag for replacing 9,000 street lights? $3.7 million dollars.  

But the savings, according to the city’s Deputy Public Works Director Tim Clougherty are “in the neighborhood of $550,000 dollars a year.”

The city says the upgrade will pay for itself in less than six years.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

The annual Clean Tech Leadership Index measures and ranks states on a range of indicators, such as renewable energy generation, green buildings and transportation.

New Hampshire ranks twelfth overall on the 2015 index, up four places from last year. Ron Pernick of CleanEdge, which produces the annual report, says the state excels in several areas. 

Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

The selectboard in Salem is urging the developer of the proposed Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline to consider alternate routes through town. 

Chair Jim Keller says the board believes the path of the preliminary route may be more economical for developer Kinder Morgan, but is untenable for residents.

“There’s a school nearby, a rehab hospital nearby their path, a protected water body nearby, “ Keller says. “So we had asked them to seek out alternative routes.”

Chris Jensen / NHPR

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has introduced a bill she says would reduce operating costs for places like hospitals, universities and manufacturing plants by helping them make efficient use of energy that would otherwise be wasted.  

Shaheen says the bill addresses regulatory barriers that hamper the use of heat recovery technologies known as combined heat and power and waste heat to power.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Barack Obama has signed a scaled back version of an energy efficiency bill co-authored by New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

The bill, co-sponsored by New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, aims to cut energy use in commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and homes. It includes the Better Buildings Act, which Ayotte first introduced in 2013.

The measure was popular with both parties. But it was defeated last year after becoming enmeshed in a partisan fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

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Audio for the full program:

In New Hampshire, Pittsfield schools have recently adopted an approach that flips the traditional model of teaching through student-led discussion and independent projects. We’re looking into how this working for Pittsfield.

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New England governors and policy staff met in Connecticut Thursday to discuss energy. The meeting didn’t produce any block-buster announcements, but in a joint statement the New England governors have pledged to work toward the goal of reducing the cost of energy.

ISO New England

  This fall, energy industry watchers were predicting that a cold-winter in New England would lead to high natural gas and electricity prices.

But despite record-breaking cold, energy prices have – thus far – remained in check this winter.

Last winter, the whole-sale price for electricity – that’s the price utilities and electricity supply companies pay – spiked to unprecedented heights.

Southern N.H. Debates Natural Gas Pipeline Proposal

Feb 5, 2015
Kinder Morgan

With high energy costs and inadequate means for transporting natural gas into the region, some are championing construction of an interstate pipeline spanning eighty miles and seventeen communities in New Hampshire’s southern region.  But opposition is fierce among those concerned about environmental impact and property values.

GUESTS:

Giving Matters: Making Renewable Energy Affordable

Jan 31, 2015
D-Kuru/Wikimedia Commons

The Northern Forest Center helps create economic opportunity and community vitality from healthy working forests.

 

David Benckendorf participated in the Center’s Model Neighborhood Project, and was one of 40 homeowners who purchased and installed a wood pellet boiler with the center’s help. “there were a lot of advantages to it and it really peaked my interest.” He eventually converted his oil furnace to a wood pellet boiler.

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