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Override veto

By Representative Jan Schmidt | Sep 17, 2019

Governor’s veto restricts energy freedom One of the best things a city can do for its residents is maximize the use of its local resources to serve the needs of the municipality. In Nashua, this means managing the city’s hydropower generators in such a way to provide the most benefits to taxpayers. One facility owned by the City, Jackson Mills, is already using group net metering to serve this purpose. Energy produced by the facility goes to offset the electric use at city-owned properties, saving money on energy costs for everyone. Another facility owned by the City, Mine Falls, is poised to serve our energy needs. There’s one glaring, yet easily fixable, problem: Jackson Mills is a 1 Megawatt (MW) Facility. Mine Falls is larger at 3MW. One might think the larger size is a benefit; more energy to offset electric load and send more clean energy onto the grid. However, Mine Falls’ larger size means it cannot currently participate in net metering like its smaller neighbor Jackson Mills. Current law prohibits facilities larger than 1MW from participating in net metering. This arbitrary cap on net metering has restricted the city’s ability to efficiently manage this renewable energy asset. Thankfully, a solution was proposed during the legislative session to raise the cap: HB365, strongly supported by a bi-partisan coalition of legislators. Unfortunately, Governor Sununu vetoed HB365 and therefore prevented projects up to 5MW from net metering. This action denied the City of Nashua the ability to expand net metering to Mine Falls. Nashua has, and is continuing to invest significant resources into the facility, and this action by the Governor negatively affects the City’s ability to use its existing resources to lower energy costs. Similarly, the recent veto also hurts Nashua’s plans to invest in solar arrays to further defray the cost of energy and make our City more sustainable. The City has initiated the process of soliciting bids from project developers to site solar on rooftops or marginal land that isn’t suitable for other uses. The energy produced from these arrays would save money on energy costs at some of the City’s largest energy using buildings. Similarly to Mine Falls, these solar projects are less economically viable without a net metering policy that enables larger systems. Nashua, and the dozens of other towns and business across the state, should not be unfairly hindered in their ability to utilize local energy resources to the fullest extent. This issue matters to our City, and we know it matters to many others across the state as well. That’s why we’ll be voting to override the veto of HB365: so that every city, town, and business in New Hampshire has the freedom of energy choice and the ability to invest and save for our taxpayers.


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