As you may know, for the past five years I have been an intervenor before the NH Public Utilities Commission in it’s deliberations concerning the expansion of natural gas as an energy source in New Hampshire.
One important fact that has come out of these deliberations is that New Hampshire law precludes natural gas companies from expanding into other energy sources, such as wind, solar or hydro. This fact makes it impossible for gas companies to consider transitioning off fossil fuels to renewable fuels that are less harmful to our environment, because it would mean putting themselves out of business.
Many people agree with me that diversifying our energy sources makes us less vulnerable to price spikes and shortages caused by global events beyond our control.
Obviously the issue is much more complicated than that, but I am suggesting a change in current legislation that could help. Simply put, an amendment to RSA 378:37 would allow energy companies who deal strictly in fossil fuels to produce electricity – and make a profit – using renewable sources.
The suggested text is highlighted in bold:
378:37 New Hampshire Energy Policy. – The general court declares that it shall be the energy policy of this state to meet the energy needs of the citizens and businesses of the state at the lowest reasonable cost while providing for the reliability and diversity of energy sources; to maximize the use of cost effective energy efficiency and other demand side resources; and to protect the safety and health of the citizens, the physical environment of the state, and the future supplies of resources, with consideration of the financial stability of the state’s utilities. To meet this policy, the commission may permit, approve and otherwise authorize utility investment in, use and deployment of such energy sources as the commission deems consistent with the policy and the utility’s resource management capabilities on such terms and conditions as the Commission deems just and reasonable, without requiring the utility to obtain such authority as may be required under Chapter 374 or otherwise; in the event of conflict with any other commission regulations, under the general regulations of Chapter 374 or otherwise, this provision of this statute shall control.
I ask that our county legislators consider introducing this amendment for consideration during the upcoming legislative session.
Terry M. Clark
14 Barrett Ave.
Keene, NH 03431