Renewable Energy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Renewable Energy

Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Labs

Offshore wind advocates in New Hampshire have high hopes after federal regulators this week approved construction of the Vineyard Wind project in Massachusetts – the largest offshore wind farm yet to reach the construction stage in the U.S.

Entergy / Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Natural gas use is expected to increase in New York after the closure Friday of the state's largest nuclear plant. But it probably won’t trickle out to New England, according to a regional industry leader.

President Joe Biden’s energy goals will make significant changes to where New England gets its power. How states choose to embrace these goals as part of their climate change plans could shake up the region's energy market over the next decade. This week, all eyes are on Biden, who will convene world leaders for an Earth Day summit.

No Coal No Gas / 350NH

New Hampshire’s coal-fired power plant, the last of its kind in New England not set to retire, will now remain online through at least 2025, despite calls from climate change activists for it to close. 

The news comes from a federal filing in late February by the regional grid manager, ISO-New England.

file photo

A number of New Hampshire towns is looking at community power as a way to provide energy that could lower costs for residents, help tailor their energy mix, and provide room for innovation. We explore how community power came about, how it would work, and the challenge to it in this year’s legislative session. 

Airdate: Monday, February 22, 2021

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.

Brox Environmental Citizens / Facebook

The state Site Evaluation Committee will decide whether to hold a special approval process for a proposed solar farm in Milford, after receiving petitions from nearby residents.

The proposed array, from a local subsidiary of New York-based Olivewood Energy, would have a capacity of 16 megawatts – about half the size of the normal minimum for SEC consideration.

A community group called Brox Environmental Citizens – named for the piece of land where the solar farm would be built – wants the SEC to step in and decide whether to review the project anyway. 

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.

BOEM

State senators are working on a bill that would have New Hampshire spur the development of major offshore wind projects and other renewable energy in the region.

The bill comes from state Sen. David Watters, a Dover Democrat. He previewed it at a late-December meeting of a bipartisan Senate wind commission, and said the aim is to create new zero-carbon energy and bring jobs to the state.

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.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

Renewable energy advocates say they expect to be playing defense on perennial policy debates in next year’s Republican state Legislature.

Great River Hydro

A final plan is out to relicense three major hydropower dams on the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont – a big milestone in a years-long federal process.

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Amy Quinton / NHPR file photo

A new report finds that small-scale solar power saved New Hampshire residents and utilities at least $83 million over the past several years, out of $1.1 billion in savings across New England.

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

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.

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