Introduction

Acadia Center works to advance a clean energy economy in New Hampshire, focusing on key areas of energy efficiency and clean transportation, and actively coordinates with a range of peer groups, stakeholders and policy makers. The top sources of emissions in New Hampshire are from buildings and transportation, which are each responsible for about 1/3 of the state’s emissions. More than 40% of New Hampshire households rely on fuel oil as their primary heating fuel, the second-largest share, after Maine. Petroleum consumption in the residential sector, which accounts for nearly 25% of state petroleum use, is among the highest in the nation on a per capita basis, in part because of the heavy dependence on heating oil during the state’s frigid winters.

In 2019, more than 60% of New Hampshire’s net electricity generation came from the Seabrook nuclear generating station, which is the largest power plant in the state. The remaining electricity is provided by natural gas (20% of generation), with biomass, hydroelectric power, wind, and coal supplying almost all of the state’s remaining generation. New Hampshire is taking steps to reduce its emissions through participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state cap and trade program. RGGI states have already decreased their collective emissions by about 45% (as of 2020) since the program started. The cap-and-trade system generates funds for the state from the sale of emissions allowance permits, which New Hampshire has used to lower electricity bills through rebates.

Buildings & Energy Efficiency

Acadia Center’s activity in New Hampshire is primarily through its role as an official member of the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) Committee, an advisory group consisting of New Hampshire utilities, NGOs, and state agency officials working together for energy efficiency measures. The Energy Efficiency Resource Standard produces millions of dollars in energy savings and reduces pollution from energy production. Acadia Center is fighting to ensure the 2021-2023 EERS Plan includes:

  • Increased energy efficiency savings for 2021-23, and a commitment to a ramp up to delivering all-cost effective energy efficiency in future plans;
  • Increased workforce development and training, especially for NH’s most vulnerable and rural communities and individuals;
  • Targeted marketing, education, and enhanced incentives especially for NH’s most rural and disadvantaged communities and individuals;
  • Upgraded energy efficiency data tracking systems and transparency;
  • Enhanced building code development, implementation, training, compliance, and enforcement;
  • Acceleration of the efforts to electrify and weatherize buildings heated by oil and gas.

New Hampshire deserves to reap the benefits that a more robust EERS program can provide. New Hampshire has some of the oldest and leakiest housing stock in the nation and a high dependency on fossil fuels for heating. Building heating is also one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New Hampshire. Past progress shows that transitioning to a clean energy future will grow the economy, create jobs, enhance public health, and improve housing.

Transportation

Acadia Center is focused on policy and market structures that open the way for electricity as a clean, affordable transportation fuel and alignment of incentives for consumers to invest in electric vehicles (EVs) and other emerging technologies Acadia Center data, precedent from other states, and research on best practices, serves as a responsive and reliable resource for decision makers and advocates to support electrification and advance the push New Hampshire to address transportation sector emissions.

Acadia Center developed information showing the health and investment benefits to New Hampshire if it participates in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional plan to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. Although Gov. Sununu quickly declared New Hampshire would not participate in TCI, we have continued to work with New Hampshire organizations supporting TCI in the state and will continue in that role as a core part of our TCI program work. Staff at the Department of Environmental Services (DES) are supportive and Acadia Center continues to engage with them and others in the state to increase awareness of the benefits of TCI participation.

Clean Power and Utility Innovation

Acadia Center advances policies that level the playing field for clean energy generation and advocates for reforms to the incentives and resource planning rules that govern utilities, as well as for distributed generation and community energy.

Acadia Center will help New Hampshire reshape utility and energy process planning so that they supports integration of more clean energy and electric vehicles. The main levers for achieving this in the state are proceedings at the Public Utilities Commission and pilot projects. Specific activities and strategies include:

  • Developing and supporting legislation to strengthen the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard
  • Improve incentives for behind-the-meter energy storage in the state. Acadia Center was successful in including an option for third parties to provide batteries in Liberty Utilities’ proposed pilot project and will work with stakeholders to design this part of the program. Acadia Center will also work with legislators on a bill that has been filed to promote storage in the state.
  • Participate in Value of Distributed Energy Resources study being undertaken through the PUC, which will form the basis for new value-driven net metering tariffs for rooftop solar and other distributed generation.
  • Participate in any upcoming Grid Modernization proceedings in order to fully implement the Working Group recommendations on new planning procedures, metering, and innovative rate designs.