The Republican-controlled New Hampshire State Legislature has introduced multiple pieces of legislation to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), gut the state’s renewable energy standard, and allow utility companies to purchase solar installations.

The bill to repeal the state’s involvement in RGGI (HB 208), which has reduced emissions in nine New England states by 40% since it was created, was eventually amended in the New Hampshire State Senate to eliminate the repeal provisions. The amended bill, which adjusts how auction proceeds should be allocated, passed the Senate but the House did not agree to the changes.

Representative Howard Moffett wrote of the RGGI repeal effort:

Well more than 100 members of the public attended. Dozens spoke in opposition to RGGI repeal. Of the four who spoke in favor of the bill, two were members of the House Republican leadership, one was concerned about communist plots and the fourth was the director of Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire, funded by the Koch brothers’ oil and gas interests.

Three bills were also introduced to rollback New Hampshire’s RES that requires 25% of the state’s electricity to be renewable energy by 2025. HB 143 would include hydroelectric plants (including electricity from Canada) in the RES, similar to the attempt by Governor Paul LePage to include large hydroelectric plants from Canada in Maine’s RES. HB 143 got stuck in the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee. HB 234 would eliminate the “Classes” defining energy sources eligible to meet the standard, effectively eliminating the renewable energy industry in favor of hydroelectric power. HB 234 was voted down in the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee.

The third anti-RES bill, HB 543, would have repealed the RES. It also failed to pass out of the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee.

Finally, SB 117, would have more easily allowed utilities to buy solar installations, by eliminating the requirement to show the benefits and impacts of solar on ratepayers. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, “Utility companies backed the bill, but solar energy proponents feared the changes would allow the utilities to buy solar systems and take them off the grid.” The bill passed the State Senate but was killed in the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee.

Posted by Energy and Policy Institute