Environment

Environment
6:02 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

RGGI Board Recommends Big Carbon Cap Reduction

Credit Captain Kimo / Flickr Creative Commons

The nine states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are recommending reducing the cap on power-plant carbon emissions by 45%. The New Hampshire representative on the RGGI board is Tom Burack commissioner of of the DES. 

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Environment
10:23 am
Sat February 2, 2013

New Hampshire's Energy Future

PSNH's control center monitors the flow of electricity across the grid in New Hampshire.
PSNH

New Hampshire is about to start re-thinking its ten year energy plan. In a weeklong series, NHPR's Environment Reporter Sam Evans-Brown looked at where we get our electricity from and where we will get it in the future.

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Environment
4:55 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

The Micro-Grid: The Grid Gold Standard?

Clay Mitchell from Revolution Energy surveys the 60 kW solar array at East Kingston Elementary school. Despite cold temperatures the week before, the panels give off enough heat that most of the snow has slide right off.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

For the most dedicated environmentalists, small scale renewables, right in our back-yard are the gold standard of energy generation. In the final installment of this weeklong look at New Hampshire’s energy future, we consider what a more distributed grid might look like.

Along with smart-grid, micro-grid is the newest buzz word in the energy world. Basically it’s a little island of power lines coupled with its own source of energy, that is still wired into the broader grid. They’re not totally self-sufficient but can generate their own electricity for short bursts when needed.

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Environment
5:19 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Flattening The Curve: Moving To A Two-Way Grid

This is SustainX's prototype of a 40 kW compressed air storage system in their facility in Seabrook. This machine has since been cannibalized to create a much larger 2 MW prototype. These machines can be used to smooth demand, either from renewables or for large electric users trying to save some money off peak energy rates.
Credit Eugene Hunt / SustainX

The energy grid is vastly more complicated than it was ten years ago. The old model was to plug in and pay for what you use, but now the grid is starting to ask for something back from consumers. This change is aimed at flatten the demand curve.

Think about how you use electricity: you wake up, turn on some lights, and maybe have a hot shower. After work you come home, cook some dinner, and watch TV. In the winter, maybe you heat with some kind of electric heat, or – even more likely – maybe in the summer you switch on AC.

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Environment
5:30 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Canadian Hydro And The New England Grid

Hydro-Quebec generates a massive amount of electricity using hydro-power: 33,000 megawatts, which is more than the record peak of New England's electric demand. But the impacts from those dams are massive as well.
Credit Peupleloup / Flickr Creative Commons

Along the corridor of towns that would host the controversial Northern Pass Transmission line, it’s hard to find much support for the project.

But with power plants retiring and the slow growth of many renewables, all of those rivers in Canada look mighty promising to grid operators. As part of our weeklong series on NH’s energy future we ask does big Canadian hydro have a place in New England’s energy mix?

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Environment
12:00 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

New England Fishermen Face Grim Vote On Cuts

New England's fishing fleet is facing grim news as regulators meet to consider steep cuts in catch limits that fishermen warn will trigger industry collapse.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Decarbonizing The Grid: Where Are We?

Cellulose insulation is piped from a Bruss Construction trailer into the attic of an old, drafty home in Hopkinton, NH
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire’s energy grid relies heavily on fossil fuels like oil and coal, and getting the grid off of those fuels will be a major hurdle in addressing the challenge of global warming.

But here in New Hampshire, it’s proving a steep challenge to get carbon out of the electric supply, without breaking the bank for customers or utilities. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying. As part of a weeklong look at New Hampshire’s Energy Future, we ask what’s being done about CO2?

Efficiency First

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Environment
5:30 am
Mon January 28, 2013

A Decade Of Deregulation

PSNH's control center monitors the flow of electricity across the grid in New Hampshire.
Credit PSNH

New Hampshire is about to start re-thinking its 10 year energy plan. But to understand the future of energy, it’s important to understand the energy past, and how we got to our current energy mix.

In the first of a week-long series looking at where we are and will be getting our electricity, here is this look at today's grid.

You flick a switch, and the lights come on, the microwave starts, the computer boots up.

But apart from knowing that yes, there are some power plants around burning various things to generate juice, how does this all happen?

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Environment
5:44 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

N.H. Sees Drop In Toxic Emissions; PSNH Plant Big Driver

From 2010 to 2011 toxic releases from PSNH's Merrimack station saw a drop of nearly 40%. The plant had to be taken offline for part of the year while the scrubber was installed.
Credit Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA says that releases of toxic chemicals into the environment in New Hampshire were down in 2011. 

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Environment
10:28 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Wind Critics Gather For Talk

A wind Farm in Groton, NH was finished in December, and is coming online now. Two more are in the works for the region.
Credit Donna Hiltz / NHPR

A prominent critic of ridge line wind power says such projects are wrong for New Hampshire. Ben Luce teaches natural science and physics at Lyndon State College in Vermont. He spoke to a group of residents in the Newfound Lake region Friday.

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Environment
8:09 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Innovation Comes To Ice Fishing

Mark Beauchesne of NH fish and game shows off a Bluegill.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

This week the Granite state is playing host to an ice-fishing legend.  Dave Genz is the only ice-angler to make the freshwater fishing hall of fame and many credit him with sparking a revolution in the niche sport. And according to the so-called “godfather of modern ice fishing” and learned that the emblematic bob-house may be becoming an anachronism.

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Environment
5:00 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Appeals Judges Focus On 'Legislative Intent' In Yankee Case

Credit John Dillon, VPR News

Lawyers for Entergy and the state of Vermont faced off in a federal courtroom in New York on Monday in a case that will determine the state’s power to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

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Environment
5:29 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

The White Mountains: Training Ground For The Greats

At just over 7,500 meters high, Saser Kangri II was the 49th highest mountain in the world. It's located in the eastern Karakoram range, in India, very close to the borders with China and Pakistan.
Frederick Wilkinson Courtesy Photo

Conditions in New Hampshire’s White Mountains are notoriously harsher than their altitude suggests. But for World Class mountaineers this makes the Whites a perfect training ground.

It’s a windy, but warm winter day.  Fred Wilkinson hopes the thaw will make for what he calls sticky ice over at Cathedral ledge, meaning easily pierced by the pointy end of an ice-axe.

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Environment
5:37 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Air Pollution In N.H. To Reach Unhealthy Levels

Environmental officials are warning that air pollution concentrations could reach unhealthy levels in parts of New Hampshire during an upcoming temperature inversion.

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Environment
4:45 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Money For N.H. Fishery Disaster Delayed By Fiscal Cliff

Cod-fish populations that aren't recovering as quickly as expected could mean as much as an 80 percent cut in fishing quotas in the New England Groundfish fishery.
Credit Derek Keats / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire fishermen who are hoping for federal disaster relief funds will have to wait a bit longer for those dollars. Money slated to go to the Northeastern ground-fishermen was caught up in the discussions surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff.

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Environment
2:30 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Climate Science Is A Challenge For Ski Resorts

Credit Bretton Woods

On a sunny day at Shawnee Peak, a family-sized mountain about an hour northwest of Portland, Maine, faithful early-season skiers carve their first turns on a good choice of trails thanks to the numerous snow-blowers going full tilt to cover the otherwise brown slopes. Ski patrol, in their tell-tale red jackets, say something’s changed about winter.

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Environment
5:18 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Legislators Will Take Up Great Bay Issues In January

Fertilizer running of from immaculate lawns in the Great Bay watershed is in the cross-hairs of one Newmarket lawmaker.
Credit Flikr Creative Commons / GrahamKing

Come January, New Hampshire lawmakers will consider a bevy of bills dealing with the water quality of Great Bay. Some proposals confront waste-water treatment plant costs head-on, while others skirt that controversy.

The decline in the ecosystem of the Great Bay, coupled with Portsmouth, Rochester, and Dover's decision to fight the EPA over required wastewater treatment plant to upgrades is inspiring action in Concord.

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Environment
5:55 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Hunters Take 4% More Deer In 2012

A mild winter meant the best deer season since 2007. The deer harvest is controlled by Fish and Game, which issues permits based on the size of the state's deer herd.
Credit NH Fish and Game

Preliminary numbers for New Hampshire’s deer hunt are in, and it was a good year for hunters. A mild winter meant big deer populations, and a 4% increase on the hunting season from last year.

According to Fish and Game before the hunting season started there were about 85,000 deer in the Granite state. This year, hunters took about 14 percent of those animals, just fewer than 11,600 deer.

Sullivan, Strafford and Rockingham counties had the highest number of kills, and Belknap, Carroll and Cheshire had the least. It was the biggest dear season since 2007.

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Environment
5:32 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Report: $2.9 Billion Needed For N.H. Water Infrastructure

As unseen pollutants from runoff and other sources increase, N.H.'s water bodies could increasingly be filled with choking algae.
Credit Flikr Creative Commons / stragnet

The Governor’s Water Sustainability Commission released its report Monday. The report finds numerous challenges, the biggest of which might be a lack of political will.

The commission's list of threats to NH’s water quality is lengthy: too much pavement, aging dams and public water infrastructure, increased rainfall from climate change, and so on. The report estimates over the next ten years the state will need to invest $2.9 billion to confront just the infrastructure side of these issues.

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Environment
12:00 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Gifts for the Budding Naturalist

Birds that could be seen by your birdfeeder.

As the year draws to a close, it's a great time to reflect on Rachel Carson's Silent Spring once more. 2012 marks the books 50th anniversary. The book encouraged many young naturalists and, with the holidays approaching, we've come up with two gifts to further one's love of nature: a pair of binoculars and a bird guide.

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Environment
4:42 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Scientists To Test N.H.-Maine River With Dye

State and federal scientists in New Hampshire and Maine are planning to release a dye into the Piscataqua River to help determine if the area is suitable for recreational shellfish harvesting.

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Environment
4:40 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Anti-Wind Group Getting Organized

Credit Mark Seymour / Flickr Creative Commons

Opponents of proposed wind farms in the Newfound Lake region are getting organized. They hope that they’re forming the foundation of a state-wide anti-wind effort. Newfound Lake Wind Watch has changed its name to New Hampshire Wind Watch: it has a new website, work committees, petitions and letter writing campaigns.

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Environment
5:42 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Seacoast Scientists Say Great Bay Is In "Stasis"

The Great Bay Estuary has been called the most studied estuary in the country, and many who watch this ecosystem worry that it is on the verge of a collapse
Credit Flikr Creative Commons / Rickpilot_2000

A new report out Friday finds that the Great Bay Estuary is still struggling. Every 3 years the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, or PREP releases its State Of Our Estuaries report. The report’s data plays into an ongoing battle over the cost of new wastewater treatment plants on the seacoast.

If you’ve been following the efforts of conservation groups on the Seacoast, PREP’s data from the last three years are no big surprise.

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Environment
6:45 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

In A State Where Snow Is Money...New Study Examines Climate Change And Tourism

Credit Flikr / AspenSnowmass

A new study warns that climate change could devastate the economies of states like New Hampshire that rely heavily on winter tourism.

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Environment
5:18 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

USGS: Low Levels Of Arsenic in 40 Percent Of N.H. Groundwater

While concentrations of arsenic higher than 10 ppb - which is above the safe standard for public drinking water - are found mainly in Southeastern and South Central New Hampshire, lower concentrations can be found all over the state.
Credit U.S. Geologic Survey

A new study out from the US Geological Survey finds that low levels of Arsenic are present in 40 percent of New Hampshire’s groundwater. 

USGS scientist Joe Ayotte says it’s been known for some time that 1 in 5 wells in New Hampshire has more than 10 parts per billion of Arsenic, which is above the EPA standards for safety. These high concentrations were found mostly on the seacoast.

But this report looked at low levels of Arsenic, and found they are much more widespread.

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Environment
5:58 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Wanted: Berlin Moose Poacher

Moose have been hit hard by rising tick populations, so Fish and Game are especially concerned about poachers this year
Credit Flikr Creative Commons / Unhindered by Talent

New Hampshire Fish and Game is working to catch Moose poachers in Northern New Hampshire. But earlier this fall, the department worked to catch two Canadians poaching over the US – Canadian Border.

Fish and Game officials are seeking tips from the public about who shot a moose last week off of Kilkenny Loop Road in Berlin. Conservation officer Geoff Youngblood says the moose sustained multiple gunshot wounds, and tracks in the snow show the shooter finished the job at point black range, and then walked away, taking no meat.

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Environment
6:17 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Third Wind Farm In The Works For Newfound Lake

There’s a third wind farm in the works in the Newfound Lake Region. Portuguese Wind company EDP renewables is studying wind potential in the towns of Groton and Alexandria. The zoning board and selectmen in Groton have voted to allow EDP to install a meteorological tower, which is one of many steps on the road toward proposing a wind farm.

Bob Piehler – part of a group of activists from around Newfound lake opposes any new wind project in the region – says EDP showed a mockup of where the potential turbines could be placed.

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Environment
7:57 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Lighting Memorial Bridge, Not The Night Sky

The DOT head of the Memorial Bridge project, Keith Cota, points out design features of the new bridge to a Portsmouth resident
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Portsmouth has always been especially proud of its Memorial Bridge, and many residents are excited about the replacement. One group is so excited, they’re working to light the bridge up at night, just like many other iconic bridges around the country. But they’re hoping to do so in a way that’s got advocates for a dark night sky nodding in approval.

If you drive a little bit south on I-93, you know when you’ve hit Boston. Passing between cables of the Zakim Bridge – especially at night when they are lit in a ghostly blue – it’s how you know you’ve hit Beantown.

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Environment
12:00 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Ken Sturm/USFWS

Taxonomy is the attempt to place all plant and animal species in a logical order based on relationship. Two thousand years ago. Aristotle classified birds by appearance and behavior, such as birds that swim, birds of prey, and birds that sing.

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Environment
1:55 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Lessons From Lempster: Town Has Found Wind Farm To Be Neither Blessing Nor Curse

Lempster hosts the oldest operating wind farm in the state, which has 12 turbines. The most recently proposed operation would have three times as many turbines, and be located in Alexandria, Grafton, and Dunbarton
Credit Flikr.Creative Commons / PSNH

The towns of Alexandria, Danbury, and Grafton are weighing if they want a 36 turbine wind farm along their ridgelines.

It’s a contentious decision the town of Lempster approved in 2007. That project has been operating for four years, and it's the closest thing New Hampshire has to an analog for the decision these three towns are now facing.

When representatives from the Spanish energy company Iberdrola Renewables  meet with people in Alexandria, Grafton and Danbury, it gets pretty heated.

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