BY PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
DERRY – Calling it a “603 win for clean energy” Gov. Chris Sununu signed two bills into law Thursday morning that focus on advancing renewable energy initiatives.
Both bills enjoyed bipartisan support and are among the last measures expected to be signed into law from this past session.
Sununu, state legislators, and local officials gathered at the Derry town transfer center where in 2018 the town established a solar energy array.
The Net Zero Task Force in Derry is working on a plan to allow the town to reach net-zero emissions by 2025 for the municipality and was chosen as the site for the bill signing https://www.derrynh.org/net-zero-task-force.
One of the measures Sununu signed into law is Senate Bill 91, which is omnibus legislation on renewable energy and utilities, which advocates have said, allows the Public Utilities Commission to be careful not to shift added costs to the consumers.
The law relates to the installation, interconnection, and use of energy storage systems by customers of utilities and also addresses hydroelectric generators that share equipment for purposes of interconnection to the electric grid.
And it directs the Public Utilities Commission in developing alternative tariffs for net energy metering.
It also establishes a commission to study limited electrical energy producers.
House Bill 315 allows municipalities and school districts to build larger renewable energy projects.
It revises the procedures applicable to municipal or county aggregators and municipal electric utilities for the aggregation of energy services.
The new law also establishes an exemption under net energy metering for group net-metered facilities that generate electricity to offset the electrical requirements of a group consisting of political subdivisions.
Sununu said it was a huge win for clean energy and compromise to allow larger solar power arrays to be built without “crushing” costs to ratepayers.
He said New Hampshire needs renewable energy projects in the state and the way it is done in this state is different than in other parts of the country. He said it is about everyone coming to the table to work on a solution.
Sununu noted several years ago there was a similar effort that was not successful but legislators kept at it.
State Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, who sponsored Senate Bill 91, issued a statement following the bill’s signing.
“The clear need for examining and expanding our renewable energy options has never been more evident. Expanded net metering will help our citizens, businesses, and industries become more innovative, reduce their energy costs, and ultimately reduce local property taxes. My section of this bill dealing with energy storage is essential for moving all sources of renewable energy forward, including solar and offshore wind. There is much work to be done to bring us closer to a sustainable future, and I am confident that this legislation represents the next step in New Hampshire’s path forward,” Watters said.
Net metering in New Hampshire got a big boost today after HB 315, was signed into law, said Sen. Kevin Avard, R-Nashua, a long-time proponent of expanding net metering for municipal projects and prime sponsor of SB 109 that was combined with HB 315.
“After years of discussion and negotiations, I am delighted that we are finally increasing the net metering cap for cities, towns, and school districts. This will allow local governments to save money on electric bills, lower local property tax rates, encourage local investment, and increase in-state energy production, avoiding the need for costly new transmission infrastructure. With HB 315 now law, this is not only a big win for the city of Nashua, but for communities across the state,” Avard said.