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POLICY PRIORITIES: 2021

WE SUPPORT

programs & policies that strengthen NH's economy, protect public health, & conserve natural resources

Priority Oppose: 

 

HB213: The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is the only NH policy that encourages the development of renewable energy in our state; therefore, it is very important to defend it. Currently, NH’s goals are for 25% renewable energy by 2025, which lags far behind other New England states. The RPS also establishes the funding mechanism for the Renewable Energy Fund which funds renewable energy and efficient wood heat rebate and grant programs. HB213 would eliminate useful thermal and biomass electric classes of the RPS entirely, it would reduce our solar goal from 0.7% to 0.3% and other new renewables from 12.8% to just 6%. Overall, HB213 reduces NH’s renewable energy goals from 25% in 2025 to 8.8% in 2025. 

Reducing goals and eliminating entire classes in the RPS would harm the economic viability of existing and new renewable energy projects. 

 

HB549: If the 2021-2023 statewide energy efficiency plan is approved at the PUC, this bill aims to immediately roll back that hard gained progress. This bill would take the approval process for the efficiency programs out of the hands of regulators like the PUC, that can conduct careful evidence based review. It gives approval authority to the General Court exposing it to the whims of politics. The PUC has the expertise and resources to ensure that the SBC and energy efficiency programs are cost effective and in line with our state energy strategy. 

HB549 proposes to:

  • Require immediate suspension of implementation of 21-23 EERS plan

  • Suspend any scheduled or pending increases in SBC in the event of a state of emergency (such as the current pandemic)

  • Take approval authority of the SBC and energy efficiency plans from the commission. Now requires approval from the NH General Court. 

  • Increase the performance incentive paid to utilities for administering the programs making the programs less cost effective 

  • Specify that the 20% of program funding allocated to low income customers can only fund electric energy efficiency measures which would eliminate the very needed weatherization programs for low income customers

  • Replace stakeholder driven planning process with a rulemaking docket

  • Initiate EERS rulemaking to establish new savings goals “within the context of available, sustainable funding”. Also relevant to oppose HB351

In summary, HB549 aims to undo any progress proposed by the 2021-2023 energy efficiency plan and to make it nearly impossible for our energy efficiency standard progress in the future. 

 

HB225: This bill would essentially eliminate net metering for existing and new customers by changing the credit value to wholesale, currently around 2-3 cents/kWh. 

This bill changes the methods of calculating and paying for the energy net metered by a customer-generator to an electric distribution utility each billing period by: 

  • Increasing the net metering limit from 1 megawatts to 2 megawatts, 

  • Resetting all net metering credit calculations from a credit (on default service charges) equal to the metered energy generated by the customer-generator and fed into the electric distribution system over a billing period to a calculation based on wholesale prices (the monthly locational marginal price as determined by ISO New England), and;

  • Requiring a review every 2 years of net metering compensation rates to determine if costs are being shifted from customer-generators to non-customer-generators as a result of net metering.

    • If such cost shifting was found, HB225 requires an adjustment to the net metering rates. 

 

HB315: House Bill 315 would undercut the innovative potential of businesses to offer customers new products and services through Community Power. This bill would severely limit the implementation of Community Power programs and the potential for municipalities to make their own energy supply decisions through Community Power. HB315 entirely undermines the intent of the innovative update to RSA 53-E, which had bipartisan support.

HB315 would:

  1. Eliminate Community Power authority to provide electric power supply and related customer service, load management and energy conservation;

  2. Restrict energy services available to Community Power;

  3. Remove Community Power access to data necessary for program implementation; and,

  4. Subject Community Power plans to regulation by the Public Utilities Commission.

 

Priority Support:

The two following municipal net metering expansion bills are not the broader net metering expansion over 1MW we’ve hoped for before, but these bills provide real opportunities for progress that are highly likely to be achieved this session and would allow for renewable energy projects to move forward. It would also help many cities/towns to make real progress towards their renewable energy goals. 

HB106:

  • Allows for municipal and low to moderate income community solar projects over 1MW to participate in group net metering. 

  • “Municipal Host” projects must serve a group of 1 or more political subdivisions (cities, towns, public schools, counties, etc) to be eligible.

  • The municipal host (generator) and all members must be located within the same municipality except if in service prior to January 1, 2020 as well as within the same utility service territory.

  • The host (generator) system can be publicly or privately owned.

CENH is aware that the geographic limitation requiring the host and members to be located within the same municipality is very restrictive. We are working to expand that restriction and encourage you to support this bill but also ask that the geographic limit be broadened. 

 

SB109

  • This bill is very similar to HB106, but does not include the low-moderate income community solar projects. 

 

SB151: This bill would create a process for clean energy procurement and a request for proposal (RFP) process aiming to procure 600MW of offshore wind and 200MW of other renewables (small hydro, solar, biomass, wind). CENH supports this bill because such contracts have been very successful in jump starting renewable energy development, can deliver significant economic development benefits, and offer very competitively priced local renewable energy at large scales.

 

HB309: This bill would increase demand for Renewable Energy Certificates (REC), especially solar RECs by correcting the capacity factor used to calculate a credit for free RECs currently allocated to electricity suppliers towards their required goals under the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Currently, unregistered RECs are credited for free to suppliers and the amount of the credit is artificially inflated which drives down the value of RECs and reduces the economic value of renewable energy in NH. This bill would help reduce the free REC credit by roughly ⅓ helping promote new renewable energy development. 

 

SB78: The Renewable Energy Fund (REF) is funded from alternative compliance payments from electric suppliers in the implementation of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The REF is used to fund grant and rebate programs for central wood pellet heating systems, solar PV systems, low-income community solar projects, and a competitive grant program. 

 

This bill would return the REF to being continually appropriated to the Commission which will allow for more consistent funding, help reduce the likelihood of program stop-start and waitlists, and avoid disruptions from the change from one state fiscal year to the next. 

Currently the residential solar rebate program has run out of funding and is placing applications on a waitlist while roughly $2.5 million in the REF is going unused due to bureaucratic barriers. This bill would allow any available funding in the REF to be used for the intended purpose.