At town meeting this year, a handful of towns in the Newfound Lake region, and elsewhere, will take up questions related to wind farms. Many of these articles highlight the tensions between neighboring towns when one hosts a wind farm and its tax benefits, and the other just has to look at it. This dynamic often plays out in small town politics that may come to a head on town meeting day.
There is a hint of light at the end of a two-year-long legal battle over waste-water treatment plant upgrades on the Great Bay.
The towns of Portsmouth, Rochester and Dover have been arguing that regulators with the Department of Environmental Services and the EPA hadn’t proved that requiring millions of dollars of state-of-the-art wastewater plants would substantially improve water quality. But after a panel of independent scientists issued a sharp critique of the science used by the DES, a deal could be on the horizon.
Thursday Senator Jeanne Shaheen reintroduced a wide-ranging energy bill that would promote energy efficiency buildings and appliances. But Shaheen and her co-sponsor, Ohio Republican Rob Portman, had to make some compromises to get the long-stalled legislation moving again.
In the Southern Lakes Region of New Hampshire, a bid is underway to conserve about a thousand acres of forested valleys and peaks in the Belknap range. The fundraising campaign to buy this land has focused on a popular and convenient hike, Mount Major, on the shores of Alton Bay. As the project heads toward the finish line, it illustrates the tension between preserving access while still protecting ecosystems.
The developer of the proposed 23-turbine Wild Meadows wind farm has announced that it will put the project on hold. Iberdrola Renewables says it will focus its resources on resolving disputes around another wind farm in Groton.
“We don’t have a specific time table” said Paul Copelman, Iberdrola Spokesman, explaining that the application that is currently pending will have to be resubmitted.
The New Hampshire House appears poised to send the question of whether the state's largest utility should sell its power plants to regulators.
In 2012, lawmakers tried to force PSNH to sell its power plants outright, but that effort stalled in the New Hampshire house. So this time around they’ve written a bill that asks the Public Utilities Commission to rule on whether that sale would eventually lower electric rates.
That bill got near unanimous support during a committee hearing Thursday, including from PSNH itself.
New Hampshire’s energy community turned out at a Senate hearing on Wednesday to react to a senate bill proposing changes to the Site Evaluation Committee, which approves power plants. The proposed changes include shrinking the SEC to five members, including two public representatives, hiring dedicated support staff, and requiring projects have a net public benefit.
A new EPA Clean Air standard for wood stoves is set to take effect next year.
It has been 25 years since the EPA wrote the first woodstove regulations. Since the rules were last refreshed, the health hazards from the unburned particles in wood smoke have been researched and quantified. But with the new rules now pending, manufacturers are saying that prices for new stoves will rise, and worry that will result in more people sticking with dirty old stoves.
The White House has announced that New Hampshire will host one of seven regional “climate hubs”. The Forest Service’s Northern Research Center in Durham will provide technical support to farmers and land managers working to adapt to climate change.
Despite a couple of long cold snaps, Lake Winnipesaukee is still not entirely frozen. A fly-over by the civil air patrol last weekend revealed a large patch of open water and unstable ice stretching from Gilford to Moultonborough. A large patch of open water sits in between Lake Shore Park and Welch Island, and questionable ice extends all the way to Long Island. This section of the lake is called “the Broads,” which is typically last to freeze.
Wednesday the New Hampshire House of Representatives will take up a bill proposing a moratorium on wind turbines and electric transmission projects.
The Science, Technology, and Energy Committee voted 13 to 6 to recommend killing this bill, which failed to make it to the House floor last year, but the politics surrounding wind farms and Northern Pass have become volatile.
While frigid temperatures don’t feel particularly great, they do play an important role in the state’s ecosystem.
One way that cold temperatures can be helpful is by beating back the wave of invasive insects that have laid siege to the state’s forests, but State Entomologist Piera Siegert tells NHPR’s Brady Carlson that the some of the recent headlines about the impact of this cold on invasive bugs over-state the case in the Granite state.
When it comes to investing in energy efficiency, many in New Hampshire’s clean energy sector are worried the state is falling behind the rest of the region. A recent national report seems to bear that out. It ranks New Hampshire last in New England for efficiency policies. But efforts to ramp up the least controversial energy policy – using less – could have a hard time getting the support of the state’s business community.
A UNH backed project has come out with its latest ranking of which corporations are doing the most to combat climate change. The UNH spin-off Climate Counts finds only about half of the corporations ranked are on a sustainable track.