PUC: Renewable Portfolio Standard Is Cutting Emissions, Fueling Solar Growth

Nov 6, 2018

Credit Rob_ / Flickr CC

Regulators have finished a big review of the state’s renewable portfolio standard, and they say it’s working as planned.

The legislature first enacted the RPS about 10 years ago. New Hampshire’s is one of many around the country.

It requires utilities to ramp up their investment in and use of renewable energy -- including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower -- with a goal of making the state's fuel mix 25.2 percent renewable by 2025.

The state Public Utilities Commission has been taking public input all year for its first 10-year review of the program, which it says can be a resource to legislators who want to tweak the program next session.

The PUC report says RPS data shows the standard is expanding use of renewable energy – especially small-scale solar power – while decreasing fossil fuel emissions and spurring economic development.

“Over the past decade New Hampshire’s renewable generation has doubled, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and emissions,” the report states.

It says the state’s carbon emissions have dropped nearly 20 percent between 2008 and 2015.

The review also says New Hampshire’s 70 megawatts of installed solar power alone will cut 50,000 tons of carbon emissions in the region each year – equivalent to the emissions of more than 9,700 passenger vehicles, or the electricity used by more than 4,900 homes.

Some states have considered adding nuclear power to their RPS options. Based in part on public input, the PUC is recommending against doing that in New Hampshire.