New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Legislation That Would Bring Energy Savings to More Residents

CONCORD, N.H. – On Friday, Governor Sununu vetoed a bill (HB582) that would have increased funding for efficiency projects, particularly for low income customers, who currently experience a long wait list for the popular weatherization programs. With his veto, Governor Sununu prevented additional revenue from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative from being distributed to these programs.

“By vetoing this bill, the governor has ensured that New Hampshire will continue to have difficulty investing in the cheapest form of energy available in the state,” said Ellen Hawes, Senior Analyst at Acadia Center. “This is a huge missed opportunity for New Hampshire’s residents and economy, as well as the state’s progress toward climate safety.”

Energy efficiency investments make electricity cheaper for all ratepayers. By 2027, energy efficiency is projected to reduce the amount of electricity we need to generate by more than 22%. In New Hampshire, the NHSaves electric efficiency programs deliver energy savings at 77% lower costs than buying more power. New Hampshire’s current use of RGGI auction revenue continues to provide benefits for the state, but the relatively small portion of funds directed towards energy efficiency prevents New Hampshire from maximizing its benefits.

For the first time ever, the New England grid operator (ISO New England) is predicting a decline in peak demand over the next ten years, mostly due to projected gains in energy efficiency and on-site solar generation. ISO-NE projects that by 2020, energy efficiency will reduce demand on peak days by more than all of the region’s nuclear power plants combined can supply. States must have strong programs to sustain and advance these gains.

In addition to this most recent veto, on July 19th the Governor vetoed a bill (SB205) that would have allowed the Public Utilities Commission to continue to set energy efficiency investment levels at rates most beneficial to ratepayers. This bill would have also increased the public’s ability to engage with how efficiency funds are spent, by expanding membership of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Board.

“By requiring legislative approval for this one portion of rates, the legislature will add delay, uncertainty and increased costs for utilities, stakeholders and the Public Utilities Commission, under Sununu’s erroneous and disingenuous assertion that it is a hidden tax,” said Hawes.


Media Contacts:

Ellen Hawes, Senior Analyst
ehawes@acadiacenter.org, 207-233-4182

Krysia Wazny McClain, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617-742-0054 x107

A New Approach to Transportation in Connecticut Could Cut Pollution, Boost the Economy and Deliver 23,000 Jobs

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today, Acadia Center released an analysis illustrating the benefits of a new approach for Connecticut to reduce transportation pollution while improving the system to better meet its residents’ needs. The analysis shows that, if designed well, a regional cap-and-invest policy developed through the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) could enable the state to make over $2.7 billion in crucial transportation investments by 2030, which would generate over 23,000 long-term jobs and $7 billion in economic activity.

“Connecticut can be a leader in developing a bold, equitable program to invest in needed transportation modernization while capping pollution in the state,” said Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate at Acadia Center. “By capping transportation emissions and auctioning pollution allowances, all residents in the state will benefit through investments in transportation infrastructure and improved mobility options. The state’s overburdened and underserved communities are disproportionately bearing the brunt of non-accessible transportation options and harmful impacts of local air pollution. A modernized clean transportation system would be transformative for Connecticut’s people and economy.”

Acadia Center’s analysis demonstrates that new transportation investments funded through a regional cap-and-invest program would deliver substantial economic, environmental, and mobility benefits in Connecticut. As Connecticut works with other states to develop this program, advocates, community groups and other stakeholders are joining forces to determine what that program – and Connecticut’s transportation future – should look like.

On Tuesday evening, Acadia Center, the Center for Latino Progress, the CT Roundtable for Climate and Jobs, Sierra Club and Transport Hartford Academy gathered, joined by 55 stakeholders including transportation and environmental advocates, environmental justice activists, health professionals, business leaders, Commissioner Dykes from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Tom Maziarz from the Department of Transportation, for an important Connecticut-focused meeting to discuss efforts to deliver a more equitable, modern low-carbon transportation future.

“It is far past time for the State of Connecticut to act. As we act to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants, we have the opportunity to invest in our communities, quality of life, and local employment,” said Gannon Long, Assistant Coordinator for Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress. “A transportation focused cap-and-trade system, implemented in 2021, could be a useful tool in achieving the state’s critically important emission reduction targets.”

To estimate the economic opportunity for a market-based transportation climate policy, Acadia Center’s report examined a sample investment portfolio including bus fleet electrification and transit system improvements, commuter rail updates and expansion, electric vehicle rebates and charging infrastructure, and walking and biking infrastructure. To determine how funds from this type of program are ultimately invested, participating states will need to develop a process that includes input from the most impacted parties, in particular low-income and disadvantaged communities.

“Cap-and-invest programs do not operate in a vacuum – they work best when they are designed to complement other policies and accelerate the transition to less-polluting options,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director at Acadia Center. “This analysis illustrates how cap-and-invest proceeds could bolster Connecticut’s existing efforts to deliver modern, accessible, low-carbon transportation options while spurring local job creation.”

Read the full report here: https://acadiacenter.staging.wpengine.com/document/investing-in-connecticuts-transportation-future/ 


Media Contacts:

Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director
amcleansalls@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x204

Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x105


As Baker Admin Seeks to Allow Dirty Fuels to Qualify for Renewable Energy Subsidies, Clean Energy Advocates and Scientists Demand More Transparency and Accountability

BOSTON – Last Friday marked the close of a three-month public comment period on the Baker Administration’s proposal to overhaul rules that establish what electric power generation resources qualify for renewable energy subsidies. Massachusetts clean energy advocates sent a letter yesterday to Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides sharply criticizing these proposed regulatory changes that would, among other things, significantly increase rate-payer subsidies for wood-burning power plants and garbage incinerators.

The letter, signed by Acadia Center, Conservation Law Foundation, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, the Massachusetts Sierra Club, Partnership for Policy Integrity, and RESTORE: The North Woods, states:

“[T]he Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which is now under your purview, has led a deeply flawed rulemaking process for an even more deeply flawed proposal to rewrite regulations implementing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). …These regulations are currently the linchpin of Massachusetts climate policy; numerous other policies of the Commonwealth incorporate RPS-eligibility in their implementation, including the Clean Peak Standard now under development. Changes to the RPS regulations must be grounded in environmental and climate science.” 

The organizations signing today’s letter commit to “help[ing] the Baker administration correct course and to ensure that the RPS assists the state in complying with the Commonwealth’s climate mandates, rather than promoting technologies that will actually increase emissions.”  The groups are requesting stakeholder input into a study that the Baker Administration is only now conducting on the impacts of the proposed regulations, and the opportunity for environmental advocates and climate scientists to meet with decision makers to share their information.

Throughout the public comment period, DOER’s proposals to substantially roll back science-based standards governing the eligibility of biomass power plants for subsidies raised the most extensive concerns. Nearly one hundred organizations signed on to a letter to DOER calling on the agency to withdraw its proposed rule changes, which also impact subsidies for hydroelectric power and other areas of renewable energy. Signers included local, state and national environmental groups, public health advocates, consumer protection groups, local governments, and municipal groups, including the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.

Dozens of scientists, doctors, environmentalists, and concerned citizens testified at public hearings across the state, and more than a thousand written comments were submitted in opposition. In addition, nearly 40 state legislators submitted a letter raising concerns about the proposed biomass eligibility rollbacks, and Attorney General Maura Healey also weighed in, flagging multiple ways in which the proposal may violate state law and undermine efforts to meet climate change goals.


Media Contacts:

Laura Haight, Partnership for Policy Integrity
lhaight@pfpi.net, 518-949-1797

Deborah Donovan, Acadia Center
ddonovan@acadiacenter.org  617-742-0054 x103

Jake O’Neill, Conservation Law Foundation
joneill@clf.org Press Secretary 617-850-1709