Last week, the New Hampshire Senate soundly rejected legislation regarding the burial of some electric transmission lines, which would have discouraged efforts in our state and the region to address our emerging energy crisis. Yesterday, a Concord Monitor article outlined the environmental and economic complications associated with burying transmission lines underground. Electric consumers in New Hampshire and the region are well served by a thorough review of the many moving parts of large scale energy projects – especially when the threat of inaction could result in increased costs.
Just days ago, we learned how much it cost to power the region through the coldest months. ISO-New England, which operates the region’s electric grid and market, announced that the wholesale cost of electricity for January, February, and March totaled $5.3 billion. That’s 75% more than the first quarter of 2013 and more than all of 2012.
That sharp increase was driven by a constrained supply of natural gas and a lack of fuel diversity in the New England’s energy generation. The region recognizes this problem, and is working to address it – yet every project faces challenges in the public and in policy. Regardless of the zip code, finding consensus has proven difficult.
But here’s what we have been able to agree on: New Englanders want a cleaner energy future, indicating broad support in a recent poll for renewable sources. A third consecutive survey has also shown increasing favor for the Northern Pass, indicating that the more people know about this clean energy project, the more likely they are to get behind it.
And why not? A recent study done in Rhode Island shows the far-reaching economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy investments in the Ocean State. Vermont, already a leader in green power, is looking to make the most of clean energy payments from the soon-to-be-retired Yankee nuclear power plant. New England is at an energy crossroads–we encourage our leaders to engage in thoughtful discussion about the path toward a cleaner, more diverse future that will benefit us all.
16-8 Senate vote effectively kills bill to bury Northern Pass lines
(New Hampshire Union Leader)
Burying electrical transmission lines not so simple
With Power Comes Ambivalence
(New York Times)
Pepperell board, residents pan pipeline plan
(Sentinel & Enterprise)
Candidates, Take Note: New Hampshire Voters Strongly Support State Clean Energy Policies
(National Law Review)
2014 NH STATE OF THE STATE POLL
(Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College)
Renewable Energy Program Produces Positive Economic, Environmental Impacts
(Rhode Island Public Radio)