Environment

BlueRidgeKitties / Flickr CC

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. Siegert says Red Pine Scale and Hemlock Wooly Adelgid...

Courtesy New Hampshire Magazine

Northern Pass is a highly controversial proposal to run new 180 miles of new power lines from Canada, through northern New Hampshire, down to Concord, and then eastward to Deerfield. While a high-profile debate in the state, many New Hampshire residents are unsure of how Northern Pass compares to past energy projects, what both sides have at stake, and what the future of the region's energy supply could look like. In this three-part series presented in collaboration with New Hampshire...

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

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. When the results of a state-commissioned study on energy efficiency...

Sam Evans-Brown; Data: Climate Counts / NHPR

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. In the past Climate Counts has ranked companies on corporate practices like reporting emissions and having a plan to reduce them. This year they revamped their rating so it includes a ratio of emissions per dollar contributed to GDP. Mike Bellamente , the group’s...

Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting tomorrow Unitil customers will no longer be able to buy renewable energy from the utility. Only 25 of the company’s 75,000 customers in the state opt to pay extra for renewable power, and the utility says the cost of running the program don’t justify continuing it. Unitil’s Green Neighbor program has been around for three years, which is when the legislature required utilities to create such programs. But only .03 percent of their customers signed on, and so the law allows them to...

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

After a year of redesigns, the Wild Meadows Wind Farm has submitted its state application to be built in the towns of Alexandria and Danbury. But in the past 18 months, the ground has shifted dramatically beneath the feet of the industry in New Hampshire, these days uncertain winds swirl around the proposal. On a recent fall day, Ed Cherian with the Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola gave a tour of his company’s Groton wind farm to a group of students from the New Hampton School. One of...

Sergey Yeliseev / Flickr Creative Commons

Ospreys, also called sea hawk or fish eagle, are found all over the world including here in New Hampshire, But wherever they live, when the temperature drops the birds head for the tropics. For juveniles that first migration is a crucible that only 25 to 40 percent survive. A project in New Hampshire is tracking Granite State birds and learning about the many misadventures they have between their departure in the fall and return in the spring. Not too long ago if you wanted to learn where an...

boboroshi / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative is working to install more electric car chargers in underserved parts of the state. The pilot has helped hotels in Jackson, Woodstock, Plymouth, North Conway and Lincoln put in chargers customers to use. The coop is making the move because they believe there are indications that electric vehicles are beginning to gain a foothold. “The growth of electric vehicles, if you follow the national trends, are growing twice as fast as regular hybrids grew,” says...

Google

New Hampshire has a new Superfund site in the town of Farmington. The 123-acre parcel once hosted Davidson Rubber Company, a plant that manufactured car parts like dashboards, trim pieces and bumpers. It’s taken seven years to get a contaminated former industrial site included into the federal clean-up program. “Part of that process, from what I understand was molding of parts and there were solvents and other types of chemicals that were used as part of that process,” says town Administrator...

PSNH / Flickr Creative Commons

A legislative committee got an update Tuesday on the investigation into the cost of a scrubber that cleans emissions from the state’s largest coal plant. Public Service of New Hampshire’s Merrimack station. This spring the Public utilities commission will ultimately decide if PSNH spent a reasonable amount on its scrubber. PSNH says it did, and tried to appeal to the Supreme Court saying it was legally mandated to install the scrubber, so it didn’t matter that the scrubbers cost nearly...

NHPR

On Monday Governor Hassan joined Democratic governors from seven other Northeastern states in asking the EPA to clamp down on emissions drifting over their borders from other states. The petition targets states upwind from the Northeast, which Governor Hassan says produce the vast majority of ozone-causing pollution in New Hampshire, wafts across our borders from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic “If we took every single car off our roadways, we still could only reduce ozone by three percent,”...

Christian Patti / http://christianpatti.com/

The nine states that are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have written the EPA to ask that RGGI be used as a model for forthcoming national regulations on emissions from existing power plants. The EPA has already released rules on how much carbon dioxide new power plants are allowed to emit, But the rules that will crack down on existing plants are still in the works. Tom Burack, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, together with representatives from...

Sam Evans-Brown; Data: Electric Drive Transportation Association / NHPR

Today Public Service of New Hampshire launched its Electric Vehicle Hotline, where consumers can find out about electric cars currently on the market. The move comes as electric car sales have begun to pick up, and utilities see those drivers as a sales opportunity. According to data from the Electric Drive Transportation Association, an industry group, the number of both pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids sold has jumped up by more than 300 percent over last-year, after having leveled...

f2point8 / Flickr Creative Commons

Municipal Planners all around the state are teaming up with a University of New Hampshire Scientist to plan for Climate Change. With funding from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, Climate Scientist Cameron Wake has put together a new climate model that predicts more summer heat and bigger rain storms for many individual New Hampshire towns. On Monday, Wake presented the predictions to planners from the central part of the state, having already shown the findings to...

Michael Kappel via Flickr CC

A rift has developed among New England states over who should pay for transmission lines needed to carry electricity from renewable energy projects.
The issue is whether ratepayers across the region should foot the bill for power lines needed for southern New England. The debate has pitted Vermont against some of the more populated states to our south. Southern New England – in particular Massachusetts and Connecticut – needs more renewable generation to meet their clean-energy mandates...

Rastoney / Flickr Creative Commons

A House committee voted 12 to 8 to recommende against passing a bill that would require retailers to label foods containing genetically modified crops, or GMOs . The vote means the chances are slim of getting the bill through a divided legislature. Both Democrats and Republicans were among the 12 voting against the GMO labeling bill, citing concerns from its cost of enforcement to its constitutionality. The bill’s proponents contend that even though there is scant scientific evidence of harm...

New England Clean Power Link / www.necplink.com

A developer has proposed another transmission project that would link Canadian hydro-power to consumers in Southern New England. As proposed the project would be 150 miles through Vermont, and be entirely underground and underwater. The transmission line is called the New England Clean Power Link. It would run from Southern Quebec, buried along the bottom of Lake Champlain before turning east for 50 miles to Ludlow, Vermont, where it would plug into the New England grid. The route for those...

Meet Ben Kilham, 'Bear Whisperer'

Oct 29, 2013
Lauren Gesswien / Courtesy of Ben Kilham

From ThoughtCast comes a story about the bear whisperer of Lyme, New Hampshire, Ben Kilham, and the abandoned black bear cubs he has rescued , rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Some of these cubs have formed such strong bonds with Ben , that even when they’re fully grown, they still treat him as a member of the family, so to speak, and allow him special access to their bear secrets and behavior. Ben is featured in several nature documentaries, and is the author of two books —...

BSC Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

According to new research out of UNH, the same event that spelled the end of the dinosaurs nearly did in bees as well. An investigation into the genome of the small carpenter bee shows bee evolution ground to nearly a halt right around the time dinosaurs died out. UNH professor Sandra Rehan was busy mapping out the ancestral trees of the four tribes of carpenter bees she studies when she noticed something funny: around 65 million years ago evolution paused. “We discovered that there was a...

Sam Evans-Brown; Data: EPA New England / NHPR

The Environmental Protection Agency says in 2013 New Hampshire experienced only three days with poor air quality due to ground-level ozone – or smog. This fits into the overall trend of declining smog over the last three decades. ss Smog primarily is formed when pollution out of car tailpipes and power plant emissions interacts with light, and it forms more quickly (and so is worse) on hot summer days. But in New Hampshire, smoggy days peaked in the summer of 1988, with 36 poor air quality...

Christian Patti / http://christianpatti.com/

Since June New Hampshire lawmakers have been grappling with what to do about the persistently above market cost of electricity at the states largest utility, Public Service of New Hampshire. Now the legislative committee wants advice from regulators to see if selling PSNHs power plants is the solution, but that advice may be slow in coming. At the beginning of the summer, a preliminary report from PUC regulators suggested a crisis was brewing. Higher cost electricity has PSNH customers...

Sam Evans-Brown; Data: American Community Survey / NHPR

The frost advisories are beginning to pile up and boilers in basements are cycling on to take the edge off of the autumn chill: heating season is upon us. In most homes theres only one source of heat and options for saving on the one source of fuel are pretty limited, but thats not to say they dont exist. And of course there are those times when that 30-year-old boiler refuses to kick on for the last time, or when shifting prices of fuels do make it justifiable to install something new in the...

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Wind power developer Iberdrola Renewables has signed a contract to sell power to four Massachusetts utilities, and has included in that contract a proposed wind farm in New Hampshire that has yet to submit its application for construction. Iberdrola has announced it is part of a contract between six wind farms to sell up to 565 megawatts of electricity to the Bay state. The power would come from the Wild Meadows wind farm, proposed for a ridgeline spanning the towns of Alexandria, Danbury,...

The Beede Group

Later this month a water treatment plant will switch on in Plaistow to clean ground water at a notorious former oil dump. The total bill for the cleanup of whats now known as the Beede Superfund site could reach nearly $70 million dollars. This site is now on its way converting from brownfield to greenfield , but illustrates how the law governing the cleanup of superfund sites can also be messy. Jeano Poulin worked at Shaws service station in Manchester for 20 years and when his boss retired...

New Hampshire lawmakers say new leadership at Public Service of New Hampshire has brought a change of tone. For policy-makers this as a welcome development as they seek a solution to the steady bleed of customers from the states largest utility. The Electricity Restructuring Oversight Committee plans to draft a bill that would the Public Utilities Commission to determine if selling PSNHs power plants would save customers money. That solution has long been anathema to the company but the...

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Meanwhile, many of the stresses that threaten water quality more waste-water, increased runoff from pavement, and fewer forests to naturally filter water increase hand-in-hand with development. Those in the conservation community say the cheapest route is to keep water clean by putting land into conservation, instead of trying to clean it up after its already a mess. No-where is the tension between environmental quality and more acute, than on the seacoast, in the communities of the Great...

Public Service of New Hampshire, the states largest electric utility, has filed an appeal with the state supreme court. PSNH is trying to head off regulators attempts to question whether the company should have installed a mercury scrubber on its largest coal-fired power plant. At issue is who should pay for the $422 million dollar emissions scrubber on Merrimack Station in Bow. Regulators are working to determine if PSNH acted imprudently by continuing to build the scrubber even after the...

Peter Roome, Creative Commons

September 21st is the 75 th anniversary of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. The Category 3 storm tore through the center of the region moving at 70 miles per hour, with wind speeds that reached 125 miles per hour. In just hours, it killed hundreds and caused millions of dollars in damage. Southern New England and Long Island bore the brunt of deaths, mostly a result of catastrophic flooding. In northern states including Vermont and New Hampshire, it utterly altered parts of the...

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

When setting aside land for conservation, what are the priorities? Nice views? Old trees? Mossy stone walls? A pair of conservation groups think that maybe the biggest consideration should be how much the land will help different species survive climate change. New Hampshire’s show-stoppers are its great granite peaks, and a lot of resources are going toward protecting them. “We’re doing a great job of conserving high elevation and really rocky landscapes with steep slopes” says Mark Anderson...

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

The New England Independent System Operator, or ISO, who operates the region’s electric grid, presented the latest draft of its 10-year plan in Boston on Thursday. All Things Considered Host Brady Carlson speaks with NHPR's Sam Evans-Brown about the future of energy in the region. The ISO operates the Grid, but it doesn’t own any power plants, so how exactly are they involved with planning for the future of where we get our electricity. That’s right, the ISO doesn’t own anything that...

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