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- Our Team | Clean Energy NH
OUR TEAM Meet our Staff & Board of Directors below! Contact Bio Photo Credit: Sam Searles Sam Evans-Brown Executive Director Sam Evans-Brown Executive Director Contact Bio Beth San Soucie Deputy Director Beth San Soucie Deputy Director Contact Bio Kelly Buchanan Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Kelly Buchanan Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Contact Bio Chris Skoglund Director of Energy Transition Chris Skoglund Director of Energy Transition Contact Bio Melissa Elander Energy Circuit Rider Melissa Elander Energy Circuit Rider Joshua Singer Program Coordinator Contact Bio Contact Bio Gabriel Chelius Community Energy Coordinator Gabriel Chelius Community Energy Coordinator BOARD OF DIRECTORS JINJUE ALLEN Enel North America Inc. TOM BURACK Sheehan Phinney; Chair DANIEL CLAPP ReVision Energy; Secretary HON. MARTHA FULLER CLARK BART FROMUTH Freedom Energy Logistics JULIA GRIFFIN MADELEINE MINEAU Essex Hydro; Vice Chair TOM ROONEY TRC Companies; Treasurer JACK RUDERMAN NH Housing APRIL SALAS Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College CHRIS STEWART SHERRIE TREFRY VHB DAVID WORTHEN Worthen Industries STAFF BIOS & CONTACT SAM EVANS-BROWN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BIO Sam leads Clean Energy New Hampshire in its effort to create a cleaner, more affordable, and more resilient energy system in the Granite State. Sam grew up in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Prior to joining Clean Energy New Hampshire in 2021 he was a podcast host and radio journalist for nearly ten years, during which he wrote stories about New England energy issues extensively and won several regional and national awards. He's an excellent bike mechanic, a Spanish speaker, and a father of two. Sam graduated with a B.A. from Bates College in Politics and Spanish in 2009. CONTACT BETH SAN SOUCIE DEPUTY DIRECTOR BIO Beth is the Deputy Director of Clean Energy NH. In this role, Beth is responsible for overseeing internal matters at CENH, outreach and communications to the organization’s membership base, event planning oversight and project management, and assisting with the organization’s digital and traditional media presence. Previously, she served as the Director of Communications with Stay Work Play NH, a nonprofit dedicated to attracting and retaining more young people to New Hampshire. CONTACT KELLY BUCHANAN DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS BIO Kelly joined Clean Energy NH as Director of Regulatory Affairs in 2020. She represents the interests of Clean Energy NH and its members in regulatory proceedings at the NH Public Utilities Commission and in other venues. Previously, Kelly was the Advocacy Program Coordinator at NH LAKES, where she specialized in government relations and research. Kelly has a BA in Environmental Studies with a minor in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. CONTACT CHRIS SKOGLUND DIRECTOR OF ENERGY TRANSITION BIO Chris joined the Clean Energy NH team in January 2022 as the Director of Energy Transition, a role in which he will serve as the specialist in matters of policy and implementation of those policies, and will lead the organization’s intervention at the Public Utilities Commission. Most recently, he was the Climate and Energy Program Manager at the NH Department of Environment Services and was a central part of strategic climate and energy policy initiatives at the local, state, and regional level. Chris holds a Bachelor’s in Biology from Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire. In his free time, he can be found completing the replacement of his yard’s traditional landscaping with vegetable gardens and a diverse polyculture orchard. CONTACT MELISSA ELANDER NORTH COUNTRY ENERGY CIRCUIT RIDER BIO Melissa Elander worked as an Energy Auditor and Weatherization Project Manager in the North Country of New Hampshire before joining Clean Energy NH. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Plymouth State University and a Master's of Arts in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from American University. CONTACT JOSHUA SINGER PROGRAM COORDINATOR BIO Joshua is Clean Energy NH’s Program Coordinator. He works to plan, develop, and deliver educational and technical assistance to communities around NH. Josh is the primary point of contact for Clean Energy NH’s municipal members, he organizes quarterly Local Energy Solutions Workgroup meetings, and heads the Drive Electric NH Initiative and Coalition. Prior to joining Clean Energy NH, Josh worked in the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s market access program. Joshua has a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in Environmentally Sustainable Business Design. CONTACT GABRIEL CHELIUS COMMUNITY ENERGY COORDINATOR BIO Gabriel joined CENH in May of 2022 as the Community Energy Coordinator working to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency in the North Country. He received his Bachelors in Environmental Science & Policy from Plymouth State University. CONTACT
- 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 Aug 8 6 min Let's Talk Markets Recently, the State of New Hampshire put out a long-awaited update to our ten-year energy strategy. This document is not binding in any... Clean Energy NH Jun 29 4 min The Era of Cheap American Gas is Over In the past two weeks, New Hampshire residents learned that most of our electricity bills will skyrocket in August. For Eversource’s... Clean Energy NH Jun 14 3 min Employee Q&A: Meet Gabe What interested you in working at Clean Energy NH? When I first talked to Melissa Elander about the community energy coordinator position... BECOME A MEMBER Show your support for a clean energy future for the Granite State! MEMBERSHIP YPiE Sustainable Housing Series: Mercedes' Story Aug 17, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Zoom Webinar With increased energy costs and home prices, young people are keeping energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources in mind. Register CENH Circuit: Monadnock Edition Aug 23, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Peterborough Town Library, 2 Concord Rd, Peterborough, NH 03458, USA Take part in the CENH Circuit series - coming soon to a region near you. Second stop: the Monadnock region. Register LES Conference 2022 Oct 14, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM Manchester, 700 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101, USA The Local Energy Solutions (LES) Conference is New Hampshire’s premier event of the year bringing together local energy champions, policymakers, municipal officials, town staff, regulators, and industry representatives. Register WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
- Policy | Clean Energy NH
REPRESENTING CLEAN ENERGY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE POLICY ABOUT OUR POLICY WORK We build bipartisan coalitions of energy stakeholders to support favorable policies and practices that strengthen NH’s clean energy industry. We’re a proven, trusted, local organization that uses fact-based data to inform and educate NH legislators and their staff on driving creative alternatives for energy policies and programs. We represent our members at the State House and the Public Utilities Commission and provide resources for policymakers, businesses, local energy committees, municipal staff, and individuals. LEARN ABOUT: BILL TRACKING FIND A LEGISLATOR POLICY RESOURCES SENATE TESTIMONY 101 GET INVOLVED We can't do it alone. It is important that you contact your elected officials to let them know legislation that supports clean energy is vital to NH's well being. The NH legislature and legislative process is available to each and every citizen and business. The legislative session runs through January through June of each year, with some study committees meeting in the summer and fall. THE NH LEGISLATIVE PROCESS Most meetings of the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee are held in the Legislative Office Building in Concord (33 North State Street) while most meetings of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee are in the State House (107 North Main Street). The public can attend any meeting, but can only speak at the public hearing that begins the process. The public can also observe a committee's work sessions and the executive sessions (when voting on bills occurs) but cannot speak unless questioned. Utilize the following resources and become a member to show your support for clean energy! POLICY RESOURCES FIND A LEGISLATOR Search by town, district, or county to find your elected representatives and view their profile and contact information. HOUSE ENERGY COMMITTEE Access the list of representatives on the 2019 House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee. SENATE ENERGY COMMITTEE Access the list of Senators on the 2019 Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. REGULATORY RESOURCES The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) maintains information on state incentives for renewable energy systems, applications for net metering, and for setting up energy systems. POLICY UPDATES View our updates on the legislative session and regulatory proceedings at the PUC. Sign-up to receive direct updates through our newsletter here , or become a member to receive access to our policy calls. LEGISLATIVE PROCESS MAP Explore the Granite State legislative process for an overview of the path bills take through public hearings, executive sessions, crossover, voting, and more! This includes opportunities for public involvement. UNDERSTAND BILL STATUS Learn how to read a bill status page and no longer be stumped by legislative acronyms with this helpful resource.
- August 23, 2022 | 9:30 PM2 Concord Rd, Peterborough, NH 03458, USA
- October 14, 2022 | 12:00 PM700 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101, USA
- July 13, 2022 | 8:30 PM31 Warren St, Concord, NH 03301, USA
- Let's Talk Markets
Recently, the State of New Hampshire put out a long-awaited update to our ten-year energy strategy. This document is not binding in any way; no policies are set when it is released, and no policymakers are statutorily bound to following its dictums. But the document serves as a statement of where the Executive Branch would like to steer the state and can signal to regulators or legislators the types of policies the governor and his appointees would like to see. That document signaled over and over that it wanted such policies to be based on “markets” (a word which appears 188 times in the document) and to be “cost-effective” (64 appearances). However, it has been observed that the strategy didn’t specifically identify any policies that would meet this criteria. The issue is that the delivery of electricity is perhaps the single most highly regulated commodity in the US economy. Electricity saves lives. It provides the power for ventilators during respiratory pandemics, and air conditioners during heat waves. It is central to our economy, fueling manufacturers, tech start-ups and air compressors at construction sites. As such, around a hundred years ago we decided as a society that access to electricity should be as close to universal as possible, and not left to markets alone. This being said, the electric industry in most of New England deregulated in the late nineties, and while the infrastructure to deliver it continues to be a state-sanctioned monopoly, there is competition for the electrons sold over those poles and wires. And we at Clean Energy NH have long believed that rationalizing and modernizing these markets will drive deployment of clean energy technologies. As such, please allow me to volunteer a few ideas. Any state policymaker inclined to make energy cleaner and more affordable is free to pick these ideas up and run with them. TRANSACTIVE ENERGY RATES This idea has been kicking around for decades, having been developed and championed by the economists at MIT. When you get your electric bill, chances are, you’re charged a flat rate per kilowatt hour that you use. However, the price of energy fluctuates wildly throughout the day and the year, with the costliest hours coming during our summer peak. Because every piece of infrastructure on the grid needs to be designed to accommodate these peak needs, a rough shortcut is to understand that 10 percent of the hours of the year drive as much as 40 percent of the cost of our electricity. So, why not charge people more for the hours that cost us more, and drive conservation in those few, peak times? This is the core insight of real-time, or transactive energy rates. In fact, one such rate is already being piloted by the New Hampshire Electric Coop. For participants, every day at 4pm their devices receive a signal that contains the price of electricity during every hour of the day in the following day. This signal is encoded in an open-source format that any device can be configured to read. This would allow your hot-water heater, your thermostat, your electric car charger, or even your home battery to be configured to automatically respond to those price signals. Your water heater wouldn’t turn on if the price exceeded a certain amount. Your thermostat would automatically dial back the AC by a degree or two during the daily peak. Your backup battery or your two-way EV charger could even be configured to sell a few kilowatt hours back to the grid if the price is good enough. The NH Electric Coop is actively seeking out partners to take advantage of this new rate. One early adherent is Generac, who has made a huge bet in the home battery space, and will now sell batteries that will come configured out of the box to respond to the Coop’s transactive rate. Another is Nuvve, a national leader in “vehicle-to-grid” electric car charging. With these market-based rates, you could be paid for your backup battery or your electric vehicle. Every utility should offer them. METERED ENERGY EFFICIENCY I love energy efficiency: getting the same thing for less energy and money? What’s not to love? The problem, generally, is that we are not terribly rational when it comes to how we spend our money. We are primates that evolved based on a need for instant gratification, and investments that pay off over a 5- or 10-year period simply don’t jibe with our psychology. (Not to mention that the average American homeowner moves every 8 years and may not fully realize the payback for their improvements.) These are just some of the reasons why people invest much less in energy efficiency than is economically rational, and we should find ways to encourage it. However, our existing methods for handing out these subsidies are too burdensome. Contractors must follow formulaic methods that are prescribed by centrally administered utility programs. They run through check lists of what they must do to prove they complied with the program requirements, even if these steps are unnecessary or superfluous. Their methods are circumscribed by what the central planners think their methods should be. A better approach would be to pay for performance. The energy performance baseline of a building could be established in advance, based on meter readings and fuel delivery records. A contractor could arrive and install improvements in a property, following the latest science or advancements in building trade knowledge, and then be paid based on the measured savings that a customer accumulated after the fact. The administrative costs would fall, and we would incentivize contractors and homeowners to save as much as possible. CREATE LOCAL ENERGY MARKETS As mentioned above, over a hundred years ago we decided that provision of electricity was too important to be left to the markets. However, in the late 90s, we realized that while access to electricity should be universal, the energy sold over the poles and wires could be allowed to compete. Now we have thriving regional electricity markets that run an auction for who the lowest cost supplier of electricity will be every five minutes. There are also auctions run once a year for which power plants will be expected to be ready for peak demand days 3 years out, called capacity auctions. We have markets that determine who will provide voltage support and frequency regulation and spinning reserves. But when it comes how that electricity is distributed locally, the markets end. Our distribution utilities (think Eversource, Liberty, and Unitil) make all the decisions when it comes to how we will manage our peak demand on hot days. These decisions set our electric rates. This type of central planning does not need to be. We could work with our utilities to turn themselves into Distribution System Operators. In this model, we would have our own, local markets. These markets would reward any resource that could reduce the amount of energy we used during the peak moments of each month, and the peak moment of the year. Batteries installed in homes as backup to the grid can do this, by discharging when prices are high. Solar arrays can do this, particularly if they are installed to point west, so they are generating later in the day when demand is highest. Energy Efficiency can do this since it reduces demand all of the time. And lastly, any customer can do this, because if they know that prices are high at certain moments, they can simply not turn on power hungry appliances. THE LIMITING FACTOR The only thing standing in between us and all of these “market based” ideas is that the utilities are still operating in a 1950s model, frequently with 1950s technology. Until the utilities begin to invest in technology that allow us to send price signals to individual customers—such as smart meters, or other networked controls—we be physically incapable of implementing any of the ideas laid out above. This was a key limitation that was laid out in the “Grid Modernization” docket, which was opened at the Public Utilities Commission in 2015, investigated for seven years, and then closed this past spring with no substantive action. In other words, to date, we’ve had a lot of talk about wanting “markets” to solve the problems of what may be the most regulated sector of the New Hampshire economy, but no action. I personally hope this latest update to the 10-year energy strategy reverses that trend.
- The Era of Cheap American Gas is Over
In the past two weeks, New Hampshire residents learned that most of our electricity bills will skyrocket in August. For Eversource’s residential customers, the rate they pay kilowatt-hour will rise from 19 cents to more than 32 cents: 22 cents for the energy, and another 8 cents to deliver it. With this rate, New Hampshire customers will nearly have the highest electricity rates in the United States: higher than Alaska, where most customers pay about 22 cents, and lower only than Hawaii. Needless to say, if your state is paying nearly as much for energy than a string of isolated atolls thousands of miles from shore, something has to change. We are now reaping what we have sowed. Over the past 20 years, we have massively built out natural gas fired power plants in New England, from 15 percent of generation in 2000 to 53 percent in 2021. Natural gas prices set our electricity prices, and pipeline gas in New England is currently two to three times more expensive than the same time last year. This problem is not going away anytime soon. While it seems to us that prices have gone through the stratosphere, gas is currently fetching ten times more in Europe. American producers are responding to this powerful price signal to send their product overseas. And with the European Union’s newfound resolve to wean themselves off Russian gas, even more American gas will not be burned at home. If you’re hoping that American production will rise again, don’t be so sure. From 2010 to 2018, the low price of gas in the US meant that the American fracking industry lost a cumulative $181 billion dollars, which led the former CEO of the nation’s largest gas producer to call the shale revolution “an unmitigated disaster” for investors. According to a survey done by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 60 percent of shale executives said they weren’t increasing drilling activity because they didn’t want the high prices to end. Finally, anyone suggesting that the solution to expensive natural gas is more pipelines to bring in more natural gas has a bridge to sell. Unlike the gas price spikes we experienced in the winters of 2012 through 2018, this latest increase is more about fuel prices and less about pipeline capacity. In part thanks to warm temperatures, on only a few days this winter did our pipelines approach capacity. Moreover, other states have implemented policies that seek to reduce gas demand and the few peak winter days where capacity is a problem, policies that save New Hampshire residents money. In other words, it’s not the infrastructure. The era of cheap American gas is simply over. There are solutions, but—like our two-decade gas-building binge—they will take time. As such, perhaps it's no surprise that politicians from both parties are looking for policy solutions that can be implemented before the next election, like gas-tax holidays or one-time electric bill credits. But the truth is, as Robert Frost wrote, I can see no way out but through. We need to build ourselves out of this crisis. We at Clean Energy New Hampshire have a whole package of technologies we believe will lower the amount of money consumers spend on energy every year: solar on every roof, insulation in every attic, a smart meter and smart appliances connected to the grid, heat pumps outside, and an electric car in every garage. This is the life our family is living, and I’m happy to show anyone who asks the spreadsheet of our energy costs. In this price environment these investments pay back even faster, which means this is where the markets will take us eventually. However, if we want to get there faster there is a suite of policies that help families choose each of these technologies, if we have the courage to adopt them. But since we’re laser focused energy rates right now, let’s talk about how to use clean energy to lower them. In Maine last year, following a competitive bidding process, utilities awarded long- term contracts to six large-scale renewable energy projects. Those projects will deliver energy to residents of the Pine Tree state for between 3 and 4 cents per kilowatt hour. Compare that to the 22 cents that Eversource and Liberty got when they went to the gas-dominated market in these past two weeks. New Hampshire lawmakers could authorize our utilities to issue a similar request for proposals in the next legislative session, or sooner if they have the courage. Procurement for long-term contracts with renewable energy providers is increasingly the norm. In Texas—in the wake of the blackouts caused by the freezing up of their natural gas system, and this year’s heat wave in which renewables staved off further outages—utilities have been issuing solicitations for hundreds of megawatts of renewable energy contracts. Competitive solicitations are not a subsidy, they are simply a different financing arrangement that recognizes that renewable energy projects have free fuel and high capital costs and require different market structures than fossil fueled power plants. The truth is that nearly no-one believes natural gas is our future. Governor Sununu acknowledged in his press conference on Wednesday, stating that we are in the midst of a transition to renewable energy. A glance at the queue of power generation projects proposed in New England tells the story. In 2017, 48 percent of the proposed capacity was gas, and in 2022 only 3 percent was. Meanwhile, wind, solar, and battery storage represent 95 percent of what’s proposed. The only question is whether the lower energy rates that result from those projects will flow to other New England states or if we’ll really do something to help New Hampshire ratepayers.
- Employee Q&A: Meet Gabe
What interested you in working at Clean Energy NH? When I first talked to Melissa Elander about the community energy coordinator position at CENH, she mentioned how often she worked with New Hampshire communities. I was drawn to the opportunity of working closely with the community members and business owners of New Hampshire because I believe personal and grassroots efforts are some of the best ways to enact the change you want to see. When I learned CENH was a nonprofit organization I got excited to work with a company that was more driven by the issues I was passionate about and less about turning a profit. What were you up to prior to working at the organization? Before starting at CENH I was completing my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy at Plymouth State University. Why did you decide to work in the clean energy industry? I think I’ve been drawn to the clean energy industry since I was young, I remember building a small solar circuit with my grandfather so I could charge my Gameboy. Later in my life, I became more passionate about the environment than engineering and decided to pursue a career in it. I think I soon realized that the energy sector has such a massive influence on the environment and environmental policy that I felt like I could have the most impact by working to advance the renewable energy sector in any way I could. Describe your position in more detail. Who will you be working with and what will you be doing? As the community energy coordinator at CENH, I will spend most of my time working with businesses and homeowners in Coos county helping to implement energy efficiency measures and renewable energies in their homes and buildings. Most of my work is acting as a team member for these projects, someone who can dedicate more time to some of the more time-consuming tasks. For instance, I can assist in filling out grant applications and putting individuals in contact with contractors, energy auditors, and grant representatives while seeing each project through to the end. What aspect of your job excites you most? Why? I think the most exciting aspect of my job is the chance to interact with a wide variety of people. I love hearing about peoples lives, what drives them and what goals they have for themselves and their businesses. Helping people to become more energy efficient and economically independent while also working to tackle climate change is such a unique opportunity that I am so thankful for. What advice would you give to your younger self? Try every single kind of food someone offers you. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? When I’m not working I enjoy cooking, hiking, swimming, skate boarding and snowboarding, and spending time with my partner. A typical weekend for me is… Sleep in. Then finding a trail or swimming spot I haven’t been to yet and exploring there, in the evenings I like to experiment with new recipes and relax by watching a movie. What’s on your bucket list? Going on a food tour on every continent, also sky diving. If you could choose anyone to play you in a movie, who would it be? Tom Hardy Tell us one thing most people don’t know about you. I have been to 46 out of the 50 states. Fun Facts: Coffee or Tea? And how do you take it? Coffee just milk Favorite NH Restaurant Trailbreak Tap & Taco in West Lebanon Favorite Musician/Band/Music genre The Clash Favorite Recreational activity Snowboarding Favorite Holiday Thanksgiving