SEPTEMBER 13, 2018 – The New Hampshire Legislature performed a notoriously difficult task today by voting to override the Governor’s veto of SB365, a bill to support N.H.’s six independent biomass plants and waste-to-energy facility. The Senate vote was 21-3 for the override, but the House vote was much closer, 226-113. The House overrode Gov. Sununu’s veto by a single vote.
Since Sununu’s June vetoes of SB365 and another renewable energy bill, SB446, a concerted effort was launched to correct the misinformed actions.
“The Legislature made the right call to override the veto of SB365. When you consider the vast impacts this bill has not only on various sectors of NH’s economy, but also on NH’s established and treasured values, the small cost is vastly outweighed by the benefits,” said Jasen Stock, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association. “In addition, the override successfully protects NH from the long-term $17 million annual cost our state would have to pay to replace lost generation capacity. Our state’s forestry, recreation, tourism, and agricultural industries were on the line, and we thank the legislature for hearing the facts and fixing the Governor’s mistake.”
Unfortunately, the Legislature’s affirmative votes did not extend to SB446, another bill championed by broad bipartisan support that would have raised the net metering project cap from 1 MW to 5MW.
“SB446 was designed to correct an arbitrary regulatory cap that is restrictive to large businesses and municipalities,” says Madeleine Mineau, Executive Director of the NH Sustainable Energy Association. “One megawatt is not enough to cover the energy needs of a large school or a manufacturing facility. In order to enable these entities to control their own energy costs and provide opportunity for low income individuals to benefit from renewable energy, the project cap needs to be raised so projects can be sized correctly.”
Prominent NH businesses including Dartmouth-Hitchcock, FoodState, Worthen Industries, and Wirebelt, as well as many NH cities and towns, were outspoken proponents of SB446. “In a state where many electric costs are out of our control in the regional market, this bill was the best chance NH had to promote freedom of energy choice, competition in the energy market, and more energy independence through diverse, local generation,” continues Mineau. “It is unfortunate that the Legislature did not support a bill important for NH’s energy future.”