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Study: Electric Heat And Vehicles Would Save N.H. Residents Thousands Per Year

Saul Griffith and Sam Calisch
Rewiring America

A new study shows New Hampshire residents could save thousands of dollars a year by electrifying all of their energy uses – particularly their home heating systems.

The analysis comes from a Washington-based nonprofit, Rewiring America, which formed this past summer. Co-founder Alex Laskey said in an interview that they’re advocating a switch to electric vehicles and heating and to rooftop solar power where possible.

“What we have realized in doing the math is that … the lifetime cost of owning the electric alternatives is cheaper than owning the fossil fuel status quo,” he said.

In addition to lowering the carbon emissions that drive climate change and creating local jobs, he said, electrification would save New Hampshire $2.1 billion dollars a year.

Residents here pay an average of about $6,200 a year for all their energy uses, he said, compared to about $4,500 nationwide. This study found this difference is driven almost entirely by oil and propane heating, and gasoline costs to a lesser extent.

The study says electrification would lower the average Granite Stater’s energy costs to $2,288 a year – less than their current average annual driving costs alone. Laskey said immediate reforms could create these savings by 2025, powered by small-scale solar and grid modernizations to offset the increased electric demand.

Credit Saul Griffith and Sam Calisch / Rewiring America
Rewiring America
A breakdown of New Hampshire's current energy costs, and potential savings through electrification.

Instead of raising utility rates to fund the switch, he said, the state should pursue policy reforms that decrease the up-front cost of upgrades – including by changing building codes, permitting and inspection rules to encourage electrification.

“I think this should appeal to Republicans in the state and New Hampshire generally, given its politics and independence,” Laskey said. “A lot of the costs to electrifying are tied up in red tape.”

Laskey also wants to see the federal government and states like New Hampshire help people borrow money at lower interest rates – more comparable to mortgages – for things like electric heat pumps, hot water heaters and vehicles.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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