Renewable Energy

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.    

Chris Hunkeler / Flickr Creative Commons

The governors of all six New England states have signed an agreement that aims to lower energy costs and improve electricity reliability.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory / NREL

Regulators have given Public Service of New Hampshire, the state’s largest electric utility, permission to phase out its EarthSmart Green rate, which allows customers pay more to support renewable energy. PSNH asked for relief from the program because just 148 customers are signed up; that’s about .04 percent percent of their customers.

But it’s a phenomenon that isn’t unique to PSNH. In general New Hampshire rate-payers haven’t been convinced to switch to more expensive renewable rates.

A big priority for environmental groups – The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, or LCHIP – has survived through budget negotiations. But that win comes at the expense of a raid on funds set aside for renewable energy development.

Under the budget deal struck today LCHIP was allotted the full $8 million dollars that it’s expected to raise. The program uses funds raised from fees tacked on certain real-estate transactions to pay for land conservation grants.

Land Rover Our Planet / Alex E. Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is one of only three states with a split legislature: Republicans control the Senate, Democrats the House of Representatives. The two bodies have shown an ability to work together on some issues this session, including business tax credits and limits on lead fishing tackle.

But with the end of the legislative year fast approaching, inter-chamber gamesmanship is on the rise. It can start simple enough. A routine legislative procedure on the House floor.

Comstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the "Production Tax Credit" and why is it so important to developing alternative renewable energy?-- Sean Gallagher, Boston, MA

Environmentalists and wind energy boosters breathed a sigh of relief this past January when Congress voted to reinstate the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a federal tax incentive for companies that generate renewable energy from wind, geothermal or “closed-loop” biomass (dedicated energy crops) sources.

Newfound Lake Group Opposes Grafton Wind Project

Nov 23, 2012
Mark Seymour / Flickr Creative Commons

The Newfound Lake Region Association is adding its voice to those opposing a new wind farm. As proposed, the Wild Meadows Wind Power Project would include 37 turbines spaced out over six-thousand acres leased in Alexandria, Danbury, and Grafton.  At the blades’ peak, the towers would be 400-feet tall. 

A group of power providers that would compete with the Northern Pass says the project can’t make money without some kind of renewable energy, government subsidy, an assertion  Northern Pass disputes.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

 

A group of New England power generators is worried Northern Pass will try to get federal or state subsidies by persuading government officials to declare its electricity is renewable.

Such hydro-electric power is not currently eligible for subsidies.

Asea / Flikr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire House has passed a new version of the rules that govern what counts as renewable energy. The bill would expand the definition of renewable to include thermal energy.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

The New Hampshire legislature is considering a bill that would expand the state’s renewable portfolio standards. That means more money to subsidize renewable energy.

Supporters say the measure is a real boost to the state’s wood industries, but critics doubt whether the new subsidies are worth the price.

There’s a little something for everyone in the new Renewable Portfolio Standards.