Latest Clean Energy Denies Rights of Clean Energy System Owners
Favors Corporate Interests
Once again, Governor Sununu has delivered a paradox; where his previous veto of the widely bi-partisan HB365 vowed he supported clean energy, his most recent veto of SB72 says otherwise.
SB72 would have corrected a statutory clause that allows electricity suppliers to claim property of clean energy system owners. Although seemingly minor, the clause has been wreaking havoc on the market for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
“RECs are proof of renewable energy generation,” says Madeleine Mineau, Executive Director of Clean Energy NH. “Every solar, hydro, wind, or biomass system has an owner, and that owner should have full control and rights over the RECs their system produces. RECs are their property until they decide to sell them on the market, if they choose to do so.”
The REC market was created under New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, a policy also enacted by dozens of other states across the country. The REC market was specifically designed to create a market-driven mechanism in order to encourage the growth of local, distributed clean energy systems.
Currently, electricity suppliers are given free credit to count any unregistered RECs against their compliance obligations. The result has been disastrous for the REC market, sending demand and prices through the floor and having serious consequences for system owners who had factored selling RECs into their system economics. NH’s RPS is the only state to create such a credit and in recent years the credit was larger than the obligation.
“SB72 was intended to correct a very clear problem and restore this market-based policy to its original intent and function. As it operates now, it is unfair to system owners because utilities and other electricity suppliers essentially claim their property, often without their knowledge and definitely without their consent,” continues Mineau. “Clean Energy NH, and our over five-hundred members, many of whom own clean energy systems and RECs, are disappointed the Governor chose to veto this bill.”
Veto Slams the Breaks on Electric Vehicles in NH
Governor Sununu’s most recent veto blocks EV goals for state vehicles
Contrary to previous statements and actions, Governor Sununu pumped the breaks on expanding policies to encourage the growth of electric vehicles in the Granite State by vetoing SB275. This bill established a broad vision statement for state-owned vehicles to be zero-emission, or all-electric, by 2039.
“Any concerns voiced by state agencies during the bill’s hearings were taken seriously and in response the bill was amended to insure SB275 did not place undue financial or technological strains on the ability for state agencies to carry out their functions in a safe and efficient manner. This bill was a positive step forward for New Hampshire’s adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and would have sent a clear signal that the State of NH takes the transition to zero emission vehicles seriously,” Says Madeleine Mineau, Executive Director of Clean Energy NH.
Clean Energy NH has expanded its work in the electric vehicle sector as an important aspect of New Hampshire’s clean energy future.
“The technology behind EVs has come a long way in a very short amount of time. We felt very confident our state agencies would benefit from transitioning to a zero-emission fleet and had the tools and time to do so in an efficient manner under SB275,” continues Mineau.
The veto is the latest in a series of gubernatorial vetoes, several of which have blocked policies that would allow significant progress for clean energy. This is veto is more surprising given the Governor previous support of EVs by directing 15% of the state’s allotted funding under the VW Settlement towards expanding EV charging infrastructure.