New Hampshire bills would withdraw state from RGGI, repeal renewables mandate
- Two proposed bills in New Hampshire would see the state exit a regional cap-and-trade system and end its renewable energy mandate, the Portland Press Herald reports.
- HB 592 would end New Hampshire's involvement in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a nine-state emissions trading scheme, and HB 225 would repeal the state's renewable portfolio standard, which will require 17% renewables be used by the state's utilities this year. Both bills are being considered by the Science, Technology and Energy committee in the House.
- Opponents of the clean energy initiatives say they are raising the price of electricity in the state and making the economy less competitive. But the nine-state initiative has helped reduce emissions about 40% over the last 10 years.
It's not clear how much support New Hampshire bills to weaken clean energy policies have garnered.
The Associated Press reports the Sierra Club believes both bills have significant support in the legislature, and conservative groups led by Americans for Prosperity have publicly backed the measures. But Sen. Jeb Bradley (R), however, told AP that he doesn't expect either the RGGI or RPS bill to pass.
“When all is said and done, the current laws will largely stay in place,” Bradley said.
The RGGI compact includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and is the first "mandatory market-based program" in the country to reduce emissions, according to the group.
In 2014, New Hampshire invested approximately $4.5 million in RGGI allowance proceeds to its Energy Efficiency Fund.
New Hampshire senators last year voted to boost low-income efficiency efforts by increasing to at least 35% the portion of RGGI proceeds that will go to weatherization projects. States involved in the program are mulling tightening the emissions cap under the program, potentially raising raising costs out to 2031, according to modeling scenarios in a presentation last year.
In February 2015 the New Hampshire House voted to rebate back to customers all RGGI proceeds, ending spending on efficiency. When the program launched almost a decade ago, New Hampshire was one of a few states who used the proceeds on efficiency spending.
New Hampshire set up its RGGI-funded Core Energy Efficiency programs in 2012. Cumulative RGGI-funded investments in the programs are expected to save consumers more than $90 million.
- Portland Press Herald Battle lines over renewable energy drawn in New Hampshire
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