The spring has been very busy in the legislative and regulatory offices. As part of the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) process to determine the state’s future around net- metered renewable energy across the Granite State, the Energy Future Coalition submitted a settlement proposal with the goal of achieving a compromise using a proven, data-driven approach to lower energy costs for consumers, continued economic growth and job creation for the state, and the opportunity to position New Hampshire as a leader for clean energy.
The Energy Future Coalition is an alliance of local and national solar businesses, energy industry representatives, and clean energy advocates, including the NH Sustainable Energy Association (NHSEA) seeking to find a data-driven, New Hampshire-specific solution that includes compromising on the value of distribution credits paid for exports and obtaining a NH-specific Value of DER study. New Hampshire policymakers demonstrated tremendous leadership last year by signing HB 116 into law and doubling the state’s solar net-metering cap. Net-metering is a policy that enables the right to self-generation and fair credit for power sent back to the electricity grid. The bill also initiated the state’s PUC to launch a 10-month proceeding to explore the future of net metering policy in New Hampshire. As the PUC nears a decision, this coalition’s proposed compromise offers a path forward for the state to begin driving down energy costs for consumers and making the state more energy-independent, while protecting ratepayers, supporting thousands of good jobs, and continuing to grow the renewable energy economy. The PUC hearing on the two competing net-metering settlements closed on March 30, 2017. A decision is expected by June of this year.
After the spring break, many bills crossed over from one body of the Legislature to the other, as follows:
- SB128: An act relative to the policy goal of electric utility restructuring. This bill would give utilities broad authority to undertake large infrastructure projects and enter into long-term power purchase agreements. It undoes some of NH’s present Electric Restructuring policy.
- SB123: Establishing a commission to study a carbon reduction investment program for NH. NHSEA supports this bill
- SB124: Establishing a commission to study municipal regulation and incentives for solar energy. NHSEA supports this bill. This bill passed in the Senate and is now in the House.
- SB51: Establishes a study committee to review “RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standards) subsidies.” It passed in the Senate, and is now in the House.
- HB1 & HB2 (budget bills): HB2 would divert 20% of the Renewable Energy Fund each year. HB also has problematic language that could prevent the PUC from expending funds to implement the EERS. NHSEA opposes both of these items in the budget.
- HB574: An act increasing the limit on contributions to the community development finance authority for which an investment tax credit may be taken. NHSEA supports this bill.
- SB 129: An act improving the RPS by increasing the solar resource class, directing a portion of the Renewable Energy Fund to low-income customers, and improving the biomass provisions. NHSEA supports this bill, which passed the Senate and had a hearing in the House on April 11.