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'Groundhog Day All Over Again' For Net Metering Debate In N.H. Legislature

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For the third year running, net metering is set to be a top renewable energy issue at the State House in 2020.

Advocates have tried for the past two years to pass expansions of net metering for towns and businesses.

Net metering would let these large customers generate more of their own power and save on their bills by selling the excess back to the regional grid.

Clean Energy New Hampshire's executive director Madeleine Mineau says the plan has failed repeatedly by just a handful of votes. In 2020, she says more than half a dozen bills will touch on the issue.

"Groundhog Day all over again,” she says. “Last year we had two net metering bills to track and I thought that was complicated - this year we're going to have, like, seven."

Mineau says the ultimate goal is a higher cap on net metering to let customers build more economically-sized projects where they’ll have the greatest impact.

"If we can expand net metering, there will be very significant development especially in solar, but this also really benefits our existing small hydro projects,” she says.

Opponents of the plan argue it will increase costs for customers. But state regulators say they can't determine if that's true.

Opponents also argue the reform funnels too much business to solar developers.

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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