Renewable Energy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Renewable Energy

Robert Bukaty/AP / via Maine Public

The state of Maine is proposing the country’s first floating offshore wind farm in federal waters off Northern New England.

They hope to win a federal research lease to build a dozen turbines over about 16 square miles. The project will generate 120 megawatts of power.

That's enough to power at least 75,000 homes. It's bigger than many onshore wind projects in the region, but far smaller than the typical full-scale offshore development. 

David Murray / via NHDES

Democrats describe themselves as the only party taking the threat of climate change seriously. And President Trump’s continued denial of climate science and rollbacks of environmental protections haven’t made it easy for Republicans to change that.

But some New Hampshire conservatives think their candidates could be doing more to run – and win – on climate change.


Annie Ropeik / NHPR file

Climate change policy marks one of the sharpest divides between incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and his Democratic challenger, Concord state Sen. Dan Feltes.  

NHPR’s Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with reporter Annie Ropeik about how the candidates' differences on this issue put the state at a crossroads on climate action.


Community Power New Hampshire

More than 20 local governments sent a letter to the state’s Public Utilities Commission last week asking it to develop rules and regulations that would support community power programs.

These programs allow municipalities and counties to purchase power on behalf of residents and businesses within their jurisdiction. Advocates say this is one way to get more energy from renewable resources, and at possibly lower costs to ratepayers. 

Utilities would still be the ones to distribute that energy.

NH Electric Co-op

Solar power in New Hampshire took a big step forward Monday, as the state Site Evaluation Committee unanimously approved a utility-scale solar project for the first time.

NHSEC

State regulators didn't raise major concerns Friday at the start of final deliberations on New Hampshire’s first-ever major solar power project.

The 30-megawatt Chinook Solar array is proposed by Florida-based NextEra, which also owns Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. It would cover about 100 acres of private land in the small Monadnock Valley town of Fitzwilliam.

Wikimedia

A new emissions inventory for the city of Concord points to potential climate change solutions as the state capital works to sharply lower its greenhouse gas emissions.

Concord’s city council set its climate change goals in 2018. They want all electricity used locally to come from renewable sources by 2030, and the same for heating, cooling and transportation by 2050.

Taylor Quimby

This week, during their highly anticipated “Battery Day” event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk laid out the company’s plan to have a $25,000 electric vehicle on the market within three years. He also mentioned that the company will be breaking into the lithium mining business.

 

Experts are skeptical. But why?

USDA

Researchers at Dartmouth College have published a new analysis on how current and future uses of plant-based energy could be a key solution to climate change.

The study looks at bioenergy and biofuels, which can come from all kinds of plants, including grass, trees, corn or algae.

What Is The Promise of Green Hydrogen?

Aug 26, 2020
Q Hydrogen Solutions

Is there a way to combat climate change and keep that furnace in your basement? We learn about green hydrogen and examine if we can use it to take advantage of existing natural gas infrastructure as we wean ourselves off fossil fuels. We discuss the promise and pitfalls of green hydrogen and where these fit in the energy future of N.H. and the country. This program is part of NHPR’s By Degrees climate reporting initiative.
 

Airdate: Wednesday, August 26, 2020

ReVision Energy Instagram

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.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

The Democratic candidates for governor continue to clash over their approaches to climate change, with State Sen. Dan Feltes rolling out a "green jobs" plan Thursday.

His primary opponent, executive councilor Andru Volinsky, says the new plan glosses over Feltes's continued support for natural gas.

Joy Jackson / Unsplash

Gov. Chris Sununu handed down another expected veto of a clean energy plan Friday.

He rejected a bill that would expand New Hampshire's Renewable Portfolio Standard and increase how much solar power utilities must use.

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NHPR file

Gov. Chris Sununu continued a string of summertime vetoes Friday, rejecting bills on renewable energy, the state minimum wage, and education.

The record number of vetoes underscores the partisan and policy clashes that have defined the governor's second term, with Democratic majorities in the Legislature repeatedly passing priority bills, only to have Sununu strike them down with his veto pen.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was in New Hampshire Wednesday, touring the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Bernhardt’s visit came just before the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps New Hampshire and other states fund ecological and cultural conservation projects.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

Federal regulators have declined to act on a challenge to a pro-solar energy law from a group with ties to conservative New Hampshire politics and Gov. Chris Sununu.

The New England Ratepayers Association’s petition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dealt with net metering, where customers can generate and sell their own, often renewable power back to the grid to save on their utility bills.

Via USDA website

New Hampshire's attorney general is joining the opposition to a federal challenge to net energy metering policy, ahead of the end of public input on the case Monday.

Dozens of other states, companies and groups and companies have already joined the case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Many filed comments opposing the petition.

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

Advocates are calling on New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to support job training for clean energy projects as part of COVID-19 economic recovery.

Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas joined state nonprofits for a roundtable on the issue Friday.

The lawmakers and their Senate colleagues have joined recent calls for renewable energy investment in upcoming stimulus bills. 

Donna Hiltz / NHPR

Members of Congress from New Hampshire are joining a call for clean energy workforce investment as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen joined nearly 60 other Democrats, led by lawmakers from New York and New Mexico, who sent a letter on the issue to Congressional leadership this week.

The letter cites research showing the clean energy sector could lose nearly a quarter of its jobs to the pandemic in the near term.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation is opposing a federal petition that would erode states’ control of a major solar energy policy.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR file

A federal challenge to a policy that benefits solar energy – from a conservative lobbying firm with New Hampshire roots – is attracting attention from around the country.

The New England Ratepayers Association, or NERA, is based in Boston but active in Granite State politics. They formed in 2016 and do not disclose their membership.

Zoom screenshot

Democratic state lawmakers say they'll push for renewable energy development as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

State senator and gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes addressed the issue during a virtual Earth Day town hall Wednesday.

Click here to sign up for our coronavirus newsletter to get the latest updates.

BOEM.gov

A fishing industry group wants New Hampshire and neighboring states to put off planning offshore wind development during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, or RODA, sent a letter to the governors of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts on Tuesday. The group represents the fishing industry in states with offshore wind development.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR File Photo

Town meeting ballots across New Hampshire on Tuesday will include a resolution in support of carbon pricing, due in part to the efforts of youth climate activists.

The warrant article is spearheaded by a group of nonprofits and advocacy groups, under the name Carbon Cash-Back Coalition.

Amy Quinton / NHPR file photo

State lawmakers worked on a bill Monday to make condominium and homeowners associations allow the installation of solar arrays.

The bill comes from Brentwood Democratic Rep. Liz McConnell, with bipartisan co-sponsors and backing from Senate Democrats.

It says HOAs must treat requests to install solar as they would any other architectural change, and can't restrict them for aesthetic reasons.  

Rob_ / Flickr CC

Governor Chris Sununu on Monday vetoed a bill on net energy metering that was held over from last year's legislative session.

It’s his first veto of the 2020 session, on top of a record number in 2019.

The bipartisan bill was one of lawmakers' latest attempts to increase the limit on how much renewable energy towns and businesses can generate themselves and use to save money.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New England used more wind and solar power than ever last year, but fossil fuels still make up half the electricity generated in the region.

In new data, power grid operator ISO-New England says 49% of electricity generated in New England last year was from natural gas. Less than 1% was from coal or oil. 

Natural gas use has roughly plateaued in the region in the past few years. It peaked in 2015.

wikimedia commons

Will large-scale solar energy take off in New Hampshire? Although far behind its New England neighbors in producing solar energy, there are several major projects in the works that could significantly boost capacity here.  But these expansive installations can face challenges and opposition, even among renewable energy supporters. 

Courtesy Michael Behrmann / Clean Energy NH

Most New England states have been investing in alternative energy sources for years. But New Hampshire has been slower to act in response to climate change.

Now, the Granite State is looking to be a leader in a major new source of renewable energy: offshore wind.

Enel Green Power North America

The Littleton Zoning Board will continue to hear from residents at a hearing Tuesday about a proposed battery storage project.

Battery energy storage systems use rechargeable lithium ion batteries to store electricity from the grid when prices are low.

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