The race is on in New Hampshire. Last week, candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, the U.S. House and the New Hampshire Legislature filed their papers. You’ll see more and more of them over the summer months as these hopefuls work to win your favor. Energy is a topic that will – and should – be a part of their campaigns.
Because New Hampshire is a part of the New England electricity grid, voters here need to be aware of what’s happening throughout the region – a region in the midst of an emerging energy crisis.
New sources of power are desperately needed. Five transmission projects have been proposed as a way to connect New England with renewable resources to the north, and three natural gas pipeline expansion projects are being discussed to increase the region’s fuel capacity.
We’ve already seen the consequences of relying too heavily on one fuel – natural gas – without having the infrastructure to meet cold-weather demand (for a brief explanation on what happened this winter, click here). In addition, nearly a quarter of the generation capacity in the region stands at risk of retiring by 2020. This looming closure of existing power plants has prompted New England’s power grid operator to warn that the “situation is becoming more dire.” In addition, New England must also place a greater emphasis on developing clean power sources to meet its energy needs in light of newly-unveiled federal policies.
Who’s going to pay for this necessary energy development? You need look no further than the solar boom in Massachusetts to understand where policy makers stand. The promise of money from electric customers is encouraging some developers, as both the state of Massachusetts and the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) have, separately, suggested that utility customers share the cost of building new infrastructure to lessen the risk of such significant investment.
It’s essential to work quickly to avoid a deeper energy crisis, while also thoroughly vetting this slate of projects to ensure customers get value and power. So when you see a candidate on the campaign trail this summer, ask them, “What’s your solution and who do you think should pay for it?
Electric-power crisis in the making?
(Foster’s Daily Democrat)
Guest viewpoint: Dramatic change needed for energy consumers
Pipeline to the future
(Worcester Telegram & Gazette)
After Coal: The Fracking Paradox
Mass. pipeline plan stirs hope and alarm
Utilities discuss how EPA power plant rule will affect transmission
(Electric Light & Power via Transmission Hub)
Solar bill compromise reached