On Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, State Sen. Jeb Bradley toured DiPrizio Pine Sales in Middleton, N.H., on a fact-finding visit to gather details regarding net metering and how House Bill 365 will help operations like DiPrizio gain energy independence as well as provide incentives for more renewable energy investment in solar, small-scale hydro, and biomass energy in New Hampshire.
Sen. Bradley listens to Marcella Perry, former NHTOA board member, talk about the benefits House Bill 365 will bring to DiPrizio Pine Sales while NHTOA executive director Jasen Stock looks on.
When all the solar panels are installed on these stands and this solar array at DiPrizio is operating next May, it will provide more than enough power to run DiPrizio’s sawmill and retail business.
DiPrizio also has a biomass energy burner to supply heat. It can also produce electricity.
HB 365 basically mirrors last year’s net metering bill (SB 446), which the NHTOA supported, the Governor vetoed, and a veto override campaign failed to override the veto in the N.H. House by just 12 votes. HB 365 will raise the net meter cap (i.e., the ability to self-generate electricity) from the current limit of 1 megawatt to 5 megawatts. More NHTOA wood processing members (i.e., sawmills) are looking to produce their own electricity through biomass boilers, solar arrays, or in some cases small hydro power. Most of these businesses need more than 1 megawatt of electricity, so the current cap is restricting their ability to self-generate. HB 365 will fix this problem. Last week the House Science, Technology and Energy committee held a marathon hearing on this bill, and although the testimony overwhelmingly supported HB 365, the opposition was strident, claiming this bill is a ratepayer subsidy to those businesses by shifting power costs. The fiscal note attached to last year’s net metering bill, completed by the NH Public Utilities Commission, stated net metering is cost neutral and in fact would reduce costs, as the local power being generated from these private sources reduces the amount of power needing to be transmitted into the state.