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Senate Lawmakers Propose Restoring Renewable Energy Fund

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.

The chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Republican Jeanie Forrester, says its the position of her caucus that such 'dedicated funds' should be used for their intended purpose. “We've gotten a lot of support for our position on that, and we've heard a lot of encouragement from the industry to support protecting that dedicated fund,” she explains.

House Budget writers projected the renewable energy fund would yield $52 million over the next two years, and proposed sweeping that entire amount into the general fund. "The number that the house actually picked, the $52 million was not a real number," says Forrester, who suggests the actual revenue into the fund over the biennium could be closer to half the House's projection. 

The Senate needs to vote on its version of a final budget by early June, and Forrester says her committee will come out with its full budget proposal in the coming weeks.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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