Energy

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For the last few years New Hampshire has used money from the Renewable Energy Fund to help with the costs of wood pellet furnaces and boilers.

The incentives are aimed at promoting sustainable energy use and getting rid of dirty old wood stoves. which can pose health risks. 

Sam Evans-Brown

  The utility that provides steam heat for the New Hampshire Statehouse and a number of other state government facilities is shutting down. 

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Northern Pass -- the proposed power line that would connect New England to Canadian hydropower -- has won a victory in Coos County Superior Court. A judge has dismissed a suit brought by the project's primary opponent, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Ivo Rocha Jr / Flickr/CC

We’ll check in with where the Northern Pass project stands, and what’s next in the process.

 

GUESTS:

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan has issued an executive order updating New Hampshire's goals of reducing fossil fuel use at state-owned facilities by 50 percent by 2030.

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

The energy company's announcement that it had suspended the controversial three billion dollar proposal prompted celebration among the project's opponents who considered the pipeline dangerous and unnecessary. But others warn that without more infrastructure, energy costs will rise.

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Energy company Kinder Morgan announced yesterday it is shelving plans for its controversial natural gas pipeline project through Southern New Hampshire. The news will likely increase the focus on other infrastructure projects in the region.

Debating N.H.'s Energy Future

Mar 24, 2016
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Granite State businesses have long bemoaned New Hampshire's high energy costs, complaining they discourage expansion here and even tempt some firms to leave the state.  Last fall, the Business and Industry Association launched a new campaign called Energize NH to focus attention on what it calls a crisis:  the high price of energy and the need for more infrastructure and supply to lower those costs. The Energize NH campaign comes at a key time, when the Granite State seems engaged in a huge discussion about energy over pipelines and powerlines, and whether other approaches and other ways of thinking are in order, including better efficiency, a smarter grid, and an emphasis on those power sources that don't contribute to climate change.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

More than one hundred groups and individuals were granted the official status of “interveners” before the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, which reviews proposed energy projects. These interveners have the right to file motions on the Northern Pass project, a $1.6 billion proposal that would connect hydroelectric dams in Quebec to the New England electricity markets.

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The New Hampshire house has backed a measure to lift the cap on a key solar energy program.

Currently, those generating solar power in New Hampshire can be reimbursed for sending excess energy back to the grid, but the cap on that reimbursement program is set at 50 megawatts. The House measure would increase that to 100 megawatts. 

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Tuesday Lancaster voters on a 113-to-8 vote gave the select board permission to borrow up to $320,000 for solar arrays that would generate 121 kilowatts.

However, rebates could lower the cost to about $243,000, town officials have said.

Town officials predict going solar will save the town about $25,000 a year. That’s about 25 percent of the town’s total energy cost.

It was estimated it could take about 15 years to pay for the equipment, but one town official said if the rebates come through and drop the price to about $243,000 it would be much quicker.

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Officials say plans to build an 8.5-megawatt solar project in Merrimack County can't proceed until more people are allowed to net meter.

Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield tells the Concord Monitor the solar installation, slated to become the largest in the state, would help halve the city's electric bill.

The project has received municipal approval, but Merrifield says the project is made financially viable through net metering, which lets customers sell excess solar power back into the grid.

Via Flickr CC

New Hampshire gas prices have continued to drop in recent weeks, though they may start to slowly rise over the coming weeks. 

New Hampshire's largest electric utility is seeking permission to buy and sell natural gas from a proposed pipeline expansion.

The Concord Monitor reports Eversource filed a request Thursday with the Public Utilities Commission that would allow it to buy natural gas from the Access Northeast pipeline expansion for two decades.

The pipeline expansion would be built by the Hartford, Connecticut-based utility and two other firms through Connecticut and eastern Massachusetts.

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.

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  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

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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. 

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