Renewable Energy

US Department of Energy

Offshore wind supporters will mark Earth Day with a rally outside the Statehouse Sunday.

They want Gov. Chris Sununu to request a federal study of the Seacoast's wind potential.

Griffin Sinclair-Wingate, of the group 350 New Hampshire, says generating more clean power in-state will help Granite Staters financially and environmentally. And he thinks offshore wind is a perfect way to do it.

Jim Richmond

New Hampshire is refocusing its energy policy for the next decade, aiming to prioritize lower costs for consumers and to allow “unaided market competition” for all forms of energy.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

A pre-planned outage at Berlin's wood-burning power plant ends Saturday night.

The 75-megawatt Burgess Biomass Plant has been down for routine maintenance since last weekend.

Plant manager David Walker says they've been doing this twice a year since 2016.

"Biomass plants will typically schedule this time of year, because of what they call the spring and the fall mud season, so the loggers aren't allowed to get into the woods, or if the roads are posted and whatnot,” he says.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

 

Renewable energy advocates say they want to see more communities cutting emissions and pushing for offshore wind development in New Hampshire.

 

The League of Conservation Voters launched a new campaign in Portsmouth on Wednesday to push for those reforms at the state and local levels. 

 

WPS Geography

Environmentalists will kick off a new campaign for clean energy development in Portsmouth Wednesday.

The League of Conservation Voters' "Clean Energy for All" project spans 30 states, including New Hampshire.

State Director Rob Werner says they're unveiling the campaign in Portsmouth because zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions and using all renewable sources of power are now part of that city's energy policy goals.

ISO-New England

New England has gotten federal approval for a first-in-the-nation type of power supply auction. It'll let new renewable energy projects take over for old fossil fuel plants on the grid.

Once a year, the nonprofit grid operator ISO-New England holds an auction for power generators who want to supply energy for the region, starting three years out. 

Courtesy John Stark Regional High School

Communities across the state will confront questions of energy sustainability at their annual town meetings this week.

Several southwest New Hampshire and Seacoast towns plan to vote on urging the state and federal government to study offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

Some of those towns are far from the ocean, but Henry Herndon, director of local energy solutions for the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, says they could still benefit from new renewable power in the region.

Rob Strong / Sierra Club

A new report from the Sierra Club says about 50 American municipalities are now working on using 100 percent renewable energy in the coming years.

The first New Hampshire town to get on board was Hanover, which says it’s nearly a quarter of the way toward using only renewable electricity by 2030.

col&tasha, Flickr

Massachusetts is expected to decide by Friday if it can move forward on a deal with Northern Pass.

Since Eversource was denied a permit by the state of New Hampshire, other developers – large and small – have been eager to step up.

Massachusetts wants to sign a contract or contracts for 1,200 megawatts of renewable power by late 2020.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts opted last week for one large power line to cover a big chunk of its energy needs for the next 20-plus years.

The Northern Pass proposal beat out other big transmission projects and dozens of smaller options for the right to supply all renewable power the Commonwealth wants.

As NHPR's Annie Ropeik reports, this has analysts and developers wondering what role smaller projects will play in the future of the grid.

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

Energy developers are set to learn Thursday which of their projects will get long-term contracts to provide 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy to Massachusetts.

Several projects in New Hampshire are in the running.

Developers sent in more than 40 proposals to bring hydro, solar and wind power to Massachusetts, primarily from Northern New England and Canada.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The legislature is debating whether utilities should tell customers how much of their electric bills go toward renewable energy. 

Monthly energy bills already show how much each customer pays for things like transmission. Now, Rep. Michael Harrington is proposing adding a line, showing the cost per ratepayer of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS.

NH Solar Shares

Plymouth will soon be home to the state's first small solar panel arrays designed to help low-income families. The nonprofit behind the project hopes other towns will follow suit.  

Solar Shares has raised more $115,000 for the arrays and plans to break ground on the first one, near the Common Man Inn, in the spring.

xlibber / Flickr Creative Commons

Electric vehicle enthusiasts are gathering around New Hampshire this weekend for National Drive Electric Week.

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

Due to record demand, the Public Utilities Commission is putting a state-managed rebate program for renewable energy investments on hold.

According to a letter issued by the PUC on Friday, both the Commercial and Industrial Solar Rebate Program, as well as the Residential Solar and Wind Rebate Program, are closed to new applicants until at least September 1st. The PUC points to high demand, as well as an application wait list valued at $1.5 million.

PSNH

Members of the timber industry were in the state capitol today, arguing for the passage of a bill that would support the state’s struggling biomass industry.

National Grid

Utility company National Grid says it wants to build a new transmission line that would bring 1,200 megawatts of renewable power from Canada into New England. The major new project would take a different route than the controversial Northern Pass proposal put forward by Eversource.

Debating N.H.'s Energy Future

Mar 24, 2016
Sabatino Bahir / Flickr/CC

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.

Bendygo / Flickr/CC

In recent years, New Hampshire has seen rapid growth in solar power. With the approaching cap on a solar development incentive known as net metering, though, many in the industry say they can’t expand much more.  We’ll find out what’s going on, and how bright or dim the future might be for solar in the Granite State.

GUESTS:

https://flic.kr/p/5Dr6fa / Flicker CC

State officials announced Monday that the state’s renewable energy fund, which provides rebates for people putting solar panels on their roofs or installing high efficiency wood-fired boilers, earned $4.38 million dollars last year.

That might sound like a lot, but it’s a drop of 75% from the previous year.

Chris Alban Hansen / Flickr Creative Commons

Imagine a future where all of New Hampshire’s power comes from renewable sources. That’s all power: for your radio or computer, of course, but also for your heating and cooling systems and your car. A new study spells out how that could be made a reality by the year 2050. David Brooks of the Nashua Telegraph and Granitegeek.org spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.
 

Who conducted the study?

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. 

Via USDA website

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire Senate say they will restore funding for a program to incentivize renewable energy. The future of that program has been in question ever since House budget-writers proposed emptying the fund to plug holes in the state’s overall budget.

Renewable energy installers have been lobbying hard for restoration of the fund, which last year gave out more than $6 million dollars in grants and rebates to hundreds of projects.

The program is funded by payments made by utilities which have failed to reach annual renewable energy goals.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Major concerns of North Country residents outlined in a new, preliminary draft report include protecting air quality and the water supply both for drinking and recreation...

There is also strong support for local agriculture and improving energy efficiency, including renewable resources.

But there is also a desire for local governments to have more of a say in whether renewable energy projects are approved.

natural gas drilling / Flickr CC

An Environmental Group says regional energy policy makers and the natural gas industry have too cozy a relationship. To prove their case the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released a series of documents obtained by right to know requests. Those indicated therein say the claim is overblown.

The release highlights a growing unease in the environmental community toward bringing new natural gas pipeline into New England.

Solar Power: Brightening Prospects In New England?

Apr 24, 2014
mhsorens / Flickr/CC

This sun-fueled source is one of the fastest growing types of renewable energy in the country.  Although still a tiny piece of the energy portfolio, many are taking note of this expansion, including traditional utilities.  We’re looking at these brightening prospects for solar in New Hampshire and New England and the challenges that might cloud its future growth.

GUESTS:

A new state program is offering financial help to businesses that would like to start using wood pellets rather than heating oil.

The grants are designed to help businesses buy new heating systems that use a homegrown, renewable resource: wood.

The money is available through the Public Utilities Commission’s  Sustainable Energy Division.

Jack Ruderman is its head.

“We’re offering a rebate of up to 30 percent of the cost of the heating system and installation with a cap of $50,000 per system," says Jack Ruderman, the head of the division.

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 ask regulators for permission to shutter the renewable option.

mhsorens / Flickr Creative Commons

This sun-fueled source is one of the fastest growing types of renewables in the country.  Although still a tiny piece of the energy portfolio, many are taking note of this expansion, including traditional utilities.  We’re looking at these brightening prospects for solar in New Hampshire and New England and the challenges that might cloud its future growth.

GUESTS:

Sunset Power Lines
Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

 U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster wants to require utility companies to produce at least 25 percent of their power from renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biomass by 2025.   Kuster is co-sponsoring legislation to create a national Renewable Electricity Standard. She says doing so would help create nearly 300,000 jobs, cut pollution and save consumers almost $100 billion on their utility bills by 2030.   According to Kuster, 29 states, including New Hampshire, already have renewable generation standards.    

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