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Advocates Draft Roadmap for Renewable Energy in N.H.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire legislators and renewable energy advocates issued their response Thursday to the governor’s 10-year energy strategy.

The volunteer coalition wrote plans for how the state can rapidly shrink its carbon footprint—and people’s bills—by investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy and new technologies.

They call it a roadmapto their goal of using renewable power for all of New Hampshire’s electricity by 2040.

State Rep. Lee Oxenham, D-Plainfield, says the state shouldn’t wait to start tackling climate change.

“We all know the bad news. This document shows us a path forward with good news," she says. "We know the causes and we have the solutions, both in terms of policies and technologies.”

Oxenham and other legislators say they’re hoping for bipartisan support for their plan next session.

She says they were disappointed the governor’s plan, released in April, didn’t take a stronger stance on replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Sununu's plan calls for an "all of the above" approach to keep rates low.  It also focused on prioritizing energy efficiency.

Marc Brown is president of the New England Ratepayers Association, which supported the governor's plan. Brown says he's skeptical that any long-term savings from the Democrats' plans could outweigh short-term increases in energy costs for efficiency or renewables. 

"Some people can afford the dollar, two dollars a month on their electricity bill," he says. "But for poor people, people on fixed incomes, this will impact them."

The Democrats' report also focuses on how new forms of energy can combat climate change.

Brown says the New England Ratepayers Association doesn't discuss climate change in its view of energy policy.

This post has been updated to clarify that Marc Brown would support a plan he saw as economically balanced. 

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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