Renewable Energy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Renewable Energy

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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

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

What's Next for Renewable Energy Projects in N.H.?

Aug 7, 2019
Amy Quinton / NHPR file photo

The recent defeat of Northern Pass was a major setback for the import of large-scale hydropower into the region.  Meanwhile, efforts to build more solar and wind power are still underway… and some towns and cities have set their own renewable goals. We'll look at the reliability of these technologies… and  talk about their role in the future of our region’s power grid. 

A set of renewable energy bills got bipartisan support in a state legislative committee Tuesday. Most members of the House energy committee voted to advance a bill expanding net energy metering in the state.

The proposal would let towns and businesses generate more of their own power to sell back to the electric grid. Governor Chris Sununu vetoed a version of the plan last year.

Now, this year’s versions of the bill are nearing Sununu’s desk with potentially veto-proof margins of support.

Sustainable Hanover

The Town of Hanover is pushing forward with plans to connect residents with renewable electricity.

Town officials are working with Liberty Utilities and third party suppliers on logistics and pricing, Town Manager Julia Griffin told attendees at a public energy forum Wednesday night.

Hanover became the first community in the state two years ago to set ambitious energy goals through the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A new kind of solar array has begun to pop up in New Hampshire in the past few years.

It's known as a low-income solar project: Grants and donations pay the up-front installation cost, and the savings the array generates go straight to low-income residents.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Energy industry players announced big plans for the future of New Hampshire’s electric grid at a conference in Concord Thursday -- even as some progressive energy ideas continue to stir controversy in state government. 

A major offshore wind developer says it plans to explore the possibility of involving Pease International Tradeport in its business.

Picktricity

New Hampshire-based oil and gas distributor Sprague is getting into the renewable energy business – and they hope new solar panels on their storage tanks are only a first step.

The panels, installed by Massachusetts-based Picktricity, are not the common angled glass variety. These flexible “thin-film” panels can be glued almost anywhere.

Sprague sustainability director Jay Leduc says they've had the panels on top of an inactive oil storage tank in Portland since last spring.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Factories in New Hampshire pay more for energy than they would in almost any other state. There are steps they can take to reduce their costs – but those changes can be expensive, and they could even require policy reform.

Still, some businesses are making investments and getting creative to try and save on energy.

NHPR File Photo

Concord begins work Tuesday on planning how to use only renewable energy to power the community within a few decades.

The capital city passed a goal last summer of going all-renewable for electricity by 2030, and for heat and transportation by 2050.

On Tuesday night, they'll hold the first of three public input sessions on how to achieve those goals.

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