Energy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Energy

NHPR staff

After taking the spotlight in the presidential primary, climate change policy is back in focus in New Hampshire's governor's race -- and not just as a partisan issue.

Energy is driving a wedge between the Democratic candidates competing in next week's primary, as well as with incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with energy and environment reporter Annie Ropeik, who’s heading up NHPR’s climate reporting project By Degrees, for more on the candidates’ views and the role this is playing in the race.

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.

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

Roush Clean Tech / Twitter

The city of Manchester is adding 14 propane-fueled school buses to its fleet in an effort to improve local air quality.

The city has 81 school buses in total. The new propane-powered ones will replace the oldest buses, all of which are between 14 and 18 years old. Officials say tests show the propane buses can cut emissions from diesel buses by 96%.

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 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.

350 New Hampshire

Liberty Utilities says it will not build the proposed Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline in Southern New Hampshire, after finding a cheaper way to serve new customers by using existing infrastructure.

The company told the state of the change in plans in a Public Utilities Commission filing Friday afternoon. 

The $340-million pipeline plan dated to late 2017 and drew fierce opposition from climate change activists, who oppose any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the region.

Hemera Collection

The state is launching a broad new effort to find ways to reduce the air emissions that drive respiratory disease and climate change in New Hampshire.

The non-partisan Emissions Commission meets for the first time next week and will include members of state agencies, utilities and the legislature, along with health, business and environmental advocates.

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.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Environmental groups want federal regulators to reconsider a new water discharge permit for New England’s largest coal-fired power plant – Merrimack Station in Bow.

The Environmental Protection Agency permit was issued in May after many years of delay.

It dictates how the power plant uses water from the Merrimack River – burning coal to heat the water into steam that generates electricity, before putting that hot water back into the river.

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.

Courtesy of Marcus Ponce de Leon

By Degrees is a new climate change reporting project by NHPR. One major focus of the project is the connection between pollution and our health.

Last week, we talked about outdoor air quality in New Hampshire. But scientists are exploring the ways indoor air quality affects us too.

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:

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.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire is seeing more heat waves due to climate change. And staying cool is even harder this year because of COVID-19. Our new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, has this look at how New Hampshire's cities are coping. 

CSPAN

To kick off NHPR's new reporting project By Degrees, we're unpacking the basics of how climate change is already affecting life in New Hampshire, and how the state is contributing to and responding to the problem. 

Rachel Cleetus is the policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Climate and Energy Program, based in Massachusetts.

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. 

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