How We Spend Money | New Hampshire Public Radio

How We Spend Money

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

A new report says New Hampshire’s state government has cut back its fossil fuel and energy use in the past 15 years, but still falls well short of the goals set by a 2016 executive order.

/Kristoferb - Creative Commons

While efficiency upgrades can save money and cut back on your carbon footprint, how much should we invest, especially during a pandemic? It’s been a big debate for N.H. utility regulators. The Public Utilities Commission delayed their decision on this issue in December 2020 and is expected to make a ruling by mid-February 2021. As part of  NHPR’s By Degrees climate reporting project, we examined the pros and cons of greater efficiency, and whether businesses and residents should have to deal with up-front costs to create savings down the road. What does this debate say about the state’s energy future? 

Airdate: Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Original airdate: Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020

Lopi Wood Stoves

Homeowners who install modern wood heating systems can now get a new tax credit, under the federal omnibus bill passed late last year.

New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation supported the measure, which the state’s timber industry has wanted for years.

NHPUC

The state Public Utilities Commission says it needs more time to decide on the future of New Hampshire’s energy efficiency programs, meaning no immediate changes to residents’ utility bills.

Saul Griffith and Sam Calisch / Rewiring America

A new study shows New Hampshire residents could save thousands of dollars a year by electrifying all of their energy uses – particularly their home heating systems.

/Kristoferb - Creative Commons

Energy efficiency upgrades can save money and cut back on carbon footprints. but how should much should we invest, especially during a pandemic? It’s been a big debate for N.H. utility regulators in recent weeks.  As part of  NHPR’s By Degrees climate reporting project, we unpack this issues and examine the pros and cons of greater efficiency. Should businesses and residents have to deal with up-front costs to create savings down the road? And what does this debate say about the state’s energy future?

Airdate: Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020

Annie Ropeik / NHPR News

Citing pandemic-driven economic concerns, top Republican state lawmakers are asking the Public Utilities Commission to put off the adoption of more aggressive energy efficiency goals, currently set to take effect at the start of next year.

NHSaves

New Hampshire's electric and natural gas utilities are proposing an increase to their energy efficiency savings goals for the next three years, in a plan that aims to cut costs and carbon emissions but could slightly increase customers’ bills in the short-term.

The proposal centers on the utility-run NHSaves rebate program, which gives ratepayers incentives to use less energy by upgrading things like appliances, insulation or machinery.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Activists are calling on electric customers in New Hampshire and New England to stop paying their utility bills on Sept. 1, in a strike that aims to put pressure on the regional energy system to address climate change.

No Coal, No Gas campaign volunteer Jeff Gang says the goal is to have a thousand people signed up to strike ahead of time.

ReVision Energy

COVID-19 has been hard on just about every industry in New Hampshire, and renewable energy is no exception. 

People worried about money are putting off investing in solar panels, and health concerns have made home energy efficiency visits more complicated. But scientists say investments like these can lower energy costs, and remain a critical way to combat the other big crisis we’re facing – climate change. 

As part of NHPR’s new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, NHPR’s Annie Ropeik has been trying to find out what might be ahead for the renewable energy industry in the state. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with her about what’s next.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR File Photo

A regional plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants also made the northeast healthier, by reducing air pollutants like mercury and sulfur dioxide.

But a new study focused on children found the benefits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, were even greater than previously thought – preventing hundreds of childhood illnesses and saving an additional hundreds of millions of dollars.

The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

File photo

Today, Monday, could be one of the hottest days of the year, and with that comes high demand for electricity. Using less power in the heat could lower your bills – as well as carbon emissions.

Electricity bills carry a fee based on the peak demand within the year. Consultant Emily Manns of Nashua-based Standard Power says it’s possible that fee will be set today, at the peak hours: between 4 and 7 p.m.

Businesses and factories may pay a penalty for using more power during that time, but it has an effect on residential customers, too: