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  • Clean Energy NH

    Clean Energy NH New Hampshire’s leading clean energy advocate We're dedicated to supporting policies and programs that strengthen our state’s economy, protect public health, and conserve natural resources. WHAT WE DO Click the icons below to learn more. LEGISLATIVE SOLUTIONS REGULATORY ADVOCACY TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE NORTH COUNTRY PROGRAM CLEAN TRANSPORTATION THE CLEAN ENERGY BLOG Clean Energy NH Feb 22 5 min In Celebration of Unitil's Pretty Darn Good Rate Case Unfortunately, it hasn’t often been the case recently that I get to write about things that I’m excited about that are happening at the... Clean Energy NH Dec 21, 2021 2 min Chris Skoglund to Join CENH After more than a decade leading climate mitigation efforts as a state employee, Chris Skoglund will join Clean Energy NH as the new... Clean Energy NH Dec 17, 2021 4 min Energy Efficiency: "The Lunch You Get Paid to Eat" As far as I can tell, the entirety of the pushback to the state’s energy efficiency plan that was recently rejected by the PUC stemmed... BECOME A MEMBER Show your support for a clean energy future for the Granite State! MEMBERSHIP 2022 Energy Innovation Conference May 24, 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM The Derryfield School, 2108 River Rd, Manchester, NH 03104, USA An afternoon of speakers presenting on new energy technologies, business models and more. Register WELCOME NEW MEMBERS

  • CALENDAR | Clean Energy NH

    EVENTS CALENDAR YOUR SOURCE for energy conferences, forums, workshops, webinars, networking, & more. UPCOMING EVENTS 2022 Energy Innovation Conference May 24, 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM The Derryfield School, 2108 River Rd, Manchester, NH 03104, USA An afternoon of speakers presenting on new energy technologies, business models and more! Register Now! PAST EVENTS

  • EVENTS | Clean Energy NH

    OUR EVENTS EVENTS CALENDAR PAST EVENTS Learn more about the events we organize & host! LOCAL ENERGY SOLUTIONS CONFERENCE New Hampshire's premiere conference for clean energy, featuring multi-track sessions, panel discussions, keynote address, EV showcase, and over 350 policymakers, legislators, top businesses, municipal leaders, and local energy champions. ​ View past LES Conferences: 2021 event information and past sessions and 2020 event information . NH ENERGY WEEK A series of events held annually each Spring, NH Energy Week brings together business and municipal leaders, industry experts, and policymakers for regional roundtables, and energy forums. ​ 2022 NH Energy Week event recordings can be found here . INDUSTRY FORUMS We host regular educational events including forums, workshops, and panels on top industry topics. Past topics have included Electric Ratemaking 101, Grid Modernization, Energy Storage, and Solar Siting. Become a member to gain special access to event invitations and discounts. MEMBER-ONLY EVENTS We host annual member-only events including our popular Summer Networking Cruise, and Holiday Dinner, featuring the awards for Clean Tech Business of the Year and Clean Energy Champion of the Year . Learn more about the annual Member Holiday Dinner here . REGIONAL & PARTNER EVENTS Our staff is regularly featured at events & conferences across New England including the NECA Renewables Conference, Solar Power Northeast, Northeast Renewables, Horizon18/19, NECEC Green Tie Gala & NEWIEE Awards Gala.

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Blog Posts (23)

  • In Celebration of Unitil's Pretty Darn Good Rate Case

    Unfortunately, it hasn’t often been the case recently that I get to write about things that I’m excited about that are happening at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). But when progress happens, it’s important to call it out. As such, the goal of this blog post is to call attention to a pending Settlement Agreement that has been proposed in Unitil’s rate case. A rate case is generally where an electric distribution utility officially asks the PUC for permission to increase how much it charges customers to pay for the lower voltage poles and wires that carry electricity from the transmission system to homes and businesses. These are important dockets where a lot of state energy policy is interpreted, though they often fly under the radar, since all of the arcana of PUC ratemaking can be difficult for the lay public to follow. But there’s no reason that these rate cases *need* to be confusing, and so let’s pull back the veil a bit, shall we? Most of the rate cases are focused on the utilities recovering costs for system upgrades and maintenance that they have incurred since the last case. But sometimes forward thinking changes are made as well. Here’s what’s in the rate case that we’re excited about. Revenue Decoupling You don’t have to hang out in Energy Policy Land very long to hear people complain about what many consider to be the central flaw in the electric utilities’ business model: “throughput incentive.” This is the idea that utilities only make more money when they sell more electricity, and so even though it might be in society’s best interest to use energy efficiently, utilities profit motive entices them ultimately to do whatever they can to sell more KWhs. However, it need not be so. Let me introduce you to a little idea called “Decoupling.” If you want to dive very, very deeply into this idea you can read all about the various methods in this exhaustive report by the Regulatory Assistance Project, but at its core the idea is fairly simple. Regulated utilities have something called a revenue requirement--the amount of money they need in order to provide their public good and a “reasonable return” for their shareholders. Regulators set that revenue requirement, but then in normal ratemaking, they divide the revenue requirement by the number of KWh a utility is expected to sell to set your electric rates. In revenue decoupling, the regulator simply says: “we set the revenue requirement…and then that’s what you get.” There’s a lot of ways to go about it, but all of them amount to “if you collect too much revenue you give some back, but if you collect too little we let you collect a little more later.” Under decoupling, utilities now no longer have an incentive to sell extra electricity just to earn a little extra profit. When combined with other policy tools like performance incentives for hitting energy efficiency goals, their business model becomes better aligned with what’s good for the economy, society, and environment. Liberty Utilities was the first to undergo decoupling in NH. If the settlement is accepted Unitil will decouple as well. That’s a good thing. All House TOU Rates Very little electricity is stored. The vast majority of electricity is generated and consumed simultaneously, and the grid must always be kept in balance. This enormous balancing act means that grid operators need to deploy a huge variety of resources with staggeringly different costs in order to match demand with supply. On one end of the spectrum wind, solar and hydropower have no fuel cost, and on the other end of the spectrum are power plants that burn ultra-refined jet fuel. The higher cost resources, which tend to be used only during the periods of high electrical demand, also tend to have much larger climate and environmental impacts. Reducing the high cost, highly polluting resources will have benefits across society. These high cost resources, when dispatched also tend to set the electric rates that we are charged. Despite the impact of these high cost resources, most NH ratepayers spend the exact same amount for every kilowatt-hour they purchase. This means that a million plus NH residents have absolutely no incentive to modify their behavior in very simple ways that have the potential to massively ease the stress on our electricity infrastructure. A very simple solution to this is to create an electric rate that provides households with a “price signal” that encourages them to shift their energy consumption to those times of day when electric prices are lowest. This can be done by charging people different amounts for electricity at different times of day. (Even more exciting is the idea of a “transactive energy rate” but we’ll leave that discussion for another blog post.) We have been debating the merits of these Time of Use (TOU) rates for decades now, but finally the utilities seem to be willing to give them a try and Unitil includes such an option in their rate case. The basic take-away from the earliest pilots of TOU rates is that the bigger the price difference between “on peak” and “off peak” hours, the more effective they are at driving consumer behavior. The biggest changes in behavior come when the cost of electricity during peak hours is at least five times more expensive than off peak hours. And sure enough, Unitil’s TOU rate is right on target. The “illustrative” rate example they included in their filings has a ratio of 5.22 : 1 between on and off peak. For homeowners that opt in to this rate (it’s not mandatory), this means that they will have an opportunity to use electricity during some periods of the day that are deeply discounted compared to current default electric rates. As more people adopt these rates and respond to price signals, less of the expensive dirty generation will be called into service, providing economic, public health, and environmental benefits. Let’s gooooooooo. Electric Vehicle “Make-Ready” Investments It is my belief—based on all of the available evidence—that eventually the electrification of our transportation sector is going to save society a metric boatload of money. However, you have to spend some money to make money, and at first we’re going to have to invest in the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure needed to encourage the transition to electric vehicles. Without a robust public charging network, NH residents and visitors may be hesitant to purchase or drive their EVs as there will be limited opportunities to charge their vehicles away from home. While some of the funding will come from already established public sources, and some will come from private investors, additional investments from the NH electric utilities are needed at this stage. This is called “make-ready” investment, and includes the back-end work (poles, wires, transformers, etc) needed to upgrade the grid in places where charging is happening. The Unitil Settlement Agreement proposal for these investments is pretty darn good. It includes make-ready investments that enable: Four fast charging sites, each with plugs for six cars, owned by third party charging companies. Twenty Level 2 chargers, each with plugs for as many as ten cars, (that’s as many as 200 chargers!) also owned by third parties. Another twenty Level 2 plugs installed on light poles in local main streets. Funding for $600 rebates for 250 individuals to install smart “managed” chargers at their homes so that the company can gather data on how such chargers are used. If this investment seems small to you, remember that Unitil is the state’s smallest investor owned utility and doesn’t have a gigantic service territory. This much EV charging infrastructure within the Unitil territory could be a big deal and lead to other utilities seeing similar scale investments in their territories, leading to the development of that critical public charging network. In Sum While our proposal for our rate-case would be even more ambitious if Clean Energy NH ran the world, Unitil’s is pretty darn good. As such, we’re pleased to sign on to the proposed settlement. We encourage the PUC to approve it without delay.

  • Chris Skoglund to Join CENH

    After more than a decade leading climate mitigation efforts as a state employee, Chris Skoglund will join Clean Energy NH as the new Director of Energy Transition. "I could not be more excited to welcome Chris to the team," said Clean Energy NH Executive Director, Sam Evans-Brown. "There is so much work to be done to truly unlock the benefits of clean energy in New Hampshire, and Chris's history uniquely prepares him to hit the ground running in doing that work here with us." Skoglund most recently served as the Climate and Energy Program Manager at the NH Department of Environment Services (NHDES), the state’s environmental regulatory agency. For more than a decade, he has been a central part of strategic initiatives across topics as diverse as energy efficiency, distributed energy resources, transportation planning, and climate-change mitigation. This work has occurred at all scales, ranging from support for local energy committees, to coordinating the State’s government lead-by-example committee, to managing state climate and energy planning efforts, to leading climate-mitigation planning among the New England states and Eastern Canadian provinces. “I joined NHDES fifteen years ago, focusing broadly on addressing climate change. During my time working within the state and across the region, my focus narrowed to supporting the transition to clean energy technologies, recognizing that they were invaluable to the health of our economy, communities, and environment,” said Skoglund. “It’s been clear for years that Clean Energy NH is the state’s leading organization working in this space, and I am thrilled to join the very talented staff and Board of Directors to advance the clean energy transition in New Hampshire.” In the role as Director of Energy Transition, Skoglund will be responsible for engaging broadly within the various fora that energy policy is made. He will serve as the organization's expert in matters of policy and implementation of those policies, and will lead the organization’s intervention at the Public Utilities Commission, as well as lending his expertise to Clean Energy NH’s legislative efforts when the need arises. Clean Energy NH is the state’s leading clean energy advocate and educator, representing over 500 clean tech businesses, municipalities, and individuals. Clean Energy NH is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides services and resources to support the Granite State’s clean tech industries, policymakers, and communities.

  • Energy Efficiency: "The Lunch You Get Paid to Eat"

    As far as I can tell, the entirety of the pushback to the state’s energy efficiency plan that was recently rejected by the PUC stemmed from people and businesses who didn’t like the final price tag, and see that money as a “subsidy” for people who want to save on energy costs. Indeed, this framing is popular among journalists covering the story. But in this blog post, I’m going to explain what that framing misses. Here's a simple fact: when I make my home or business more efficient it saves me money. This is obvious and true. But now a more complicated fact: sometimes, when I make my home or business more efficient, it saves *you* money too. How? Follow me down the rabbit hole my friend. Electric Savings Lower Electricity Rates My in laws recently got their home tightened up through NH Saves. When they did so, they reduced their electric bill by getting some old incandescent bulbs swapped for LEDs. (One in particular was in a rarely opened coat closet, and for years everyone knew to double and triple check that the bulb was off when the door was closed because it was a genuine fire hazard.) When they did that, they participated on a micro-scale in lowering New England’s electricity demand. This saves everyone money because electricity is paid for through auctions run by a not-for-profit corporation called the Independent System Operator (ISO). In those auctions, the cheapest ways to generate electricity are selected to run first and the most expensive last and we all split the cost of whatever supplies our electrons. The price of every kilowatt hour sold at each moment is set by the most expensive power plant that is turned on at that moment. Here's how those auctions work. So my in-laws new LEDs save me money by ensuring that the power-plants run on jet fuel never (or rarely) turn on. What’s more, my in-laws getting free light bulbs helps make it so that the New England system as a whole is actually forecast to need less electricity in 2030 than it does today, and more than 4,000 MW less than if we weren’t investing so aggressively in efficiency measures. In a world in which we didn't pay my in-laws to swap out that old coat-closet fire hazard, we'd be paying for a lot of power lines, power plants, transformers and insulators through our electric bills. But wouldn't it be cheaper to just let my in-laws pay a higher electric bill? Well, in fact, when you compare the cost of buying my in-laws some LEDs, vs. the cost of all those power plants we didn’t have to buy, investing in efficiency starts to look like a pretty darn good choice. Here's the price breakdown of the various options, put together by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Really, we face a choice: buy cheap energy efficiency now, or let demand grow out of control and buy expensive power plants later. Gas Savings Lower Electric Rates Recently, some friends of mine who heat with natural gas got their house insulated through NH Saves. Believe it or not that choice will *also* save you and me money on my electricity bill. What is this witchcraft, you ask? New England’s electricity generation is dominated by natural gas, which means the price of natural gas almost always sets the price of electricity. This effect is even more important in winter, since the cold weather pushes up gas demand and therefore prices. The coldest winter days, when New England’s pipelines are full to the max, can have astonishingly high electricity prices as a result. All of this means that when my friends insulated their gas-heated home, they freed up a little extra space in New England’s gas pipelines, which will make gas for our power plants a little cheaper, which will help keep my electric rates low as a result. Mind blown yet? It actually gets even more next level. The LEDs that my in-laws installed? Because our electricity prices are set by natural gas supply and demand, reducing electricity demand reduces electricity prices AND gas prices which then FURTHER reduces electricity prices. (Don’t believe me? Google “E-G-E Cross Dripe”. I promise its true!) So How Much Does Me Investing In Efficiency Save You? It all depends: some houses cost more to weatherize than others, some factories have more low-hanging efficiency fruit. But here are two graphs from deep in the appendices of the state’s three-year energy efficiency plan. They show the impacts of the efficiency programs on the electricity rates of people who take advantage of NH Saves, and people who don’t. The two graphs are for two different kinds of efficiency projects: residential and commercial or industrial. What these graphs say*, is that it’s true that if you don’t take advantage of NH Saves *at all* your electric bill will be *slightly* higher than it would have been otherwise. But not much higher: the approximately $5 a month that comes out of your bill to pay for NH Saves is *almost entirely compensated for* in lower electric bills overall: 0.6% higher. For an average residential rate-payer, that’s about 50 cents a month. And yes, your reading the Large C&I Graph correctly: non-participants should actually *save* money thanks to the subsidies they give their neighbors. Truly, in the words of Amory Lovins, that’s not a free lunch, that’s a lunch you get paid to eat. *A footnote here: to realize these savings, utilities need to submit a new rate case with a reduced “revenue requirement.” This should happen every couple of years, and regulators need to push utilities in those proceedings to pass efficiency savings along to customers. For all the much ballyhooed talk of the nearly $400 million price tag of the energy efficiency plan that the NH PUC just rejected, the utilities estimated that their revenue requirement would fall by nearly exactly that same amount thanks to that investment. Demanding we see those savings on our bills is why we have regulators and consumer advocates working for us.

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