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Council holds confirmation hearing on Sununu's pick to lead state energy department

A photo of powerlines against a cloudless blue sky.
Dan Tuohy
/
NHPR

The Executive Council held a confirmation hearing for Jared Chicoine, Gov. Chris Sununu's choice to lead the newly-formed New Hampshire Department of Energy.

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Chicoine is now the department’s interim commissioner. Chicoine told executive councilors the energy department is meant to be a resource for state policymakers and stressed a market-driven approach to energy issues, including climate change.

“There are ways for the market to solve these problems, in a way that protects ratepayers from high costs but achieves environmental benefits.”

On climate change, Chicoine also said "there is a lot of debate around this issue, people are divided. I would like to avoid moving to an extreme on either side."

He was also the Sununu administration’s first policy director and led the state office of strategic initiatives.

Chicone has also worked on behalf of libertarian-leaning politicians and helped run the state presidential campaigns of both Ron Paul and Rand Paul.

Chicoine declined to weigh in on the recent order from the Public Utilities Commission limiting a state energy efficiency program.

But he said he expects the energy department to take a formal position on the order, which is now the subject of planned legal action by Clear Energy New Hampshire.

It's not clear when Chicoine will be approved.