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Letter: New England needs solar and hydro


Sunday, April 08, 2018

A solar energy salesperson touting his product is to be expected, but Dan Weeks plays a bit fast and loose with the numbers (Monitor Forum, April 5). The fact is, both Northern Pass and solar projects are needed to reduce New Hampshire’s fossil fuel use.

Weeks’s touting of Massachusetts’s “installed capacity” of 1,898 megawatts of solar as being larger than Northern Pass’s 1,090 megawatts of hydroelectricity is a case in point. He fails to tell readers there is a difference between the total capacity of a project (megawatts) and the amount of power that a project can actually deliver to customers (megawatt hours). Northern Pass would deliver 9,400,000 megawatt hours of clean hydropower a year to the region’s power grid. This is a constant “baseload” source that is available night and day, winter and summer.

By comparison, since the sun doesn’t always shine, the current solar deployment in Massachusetts is capable of producing about 2,500,000 megawatt hours – less than one-third of what Northern Pass offers.

Solar is an important source during peak summer days, but cannot produce power during snowstorms or chilly winter nights when demand for energy is greatest.

The fact is that both residential solar and large-scale hydroelectricity will play important roles in New England’s energy future. It serves no purpose to denigrate one to prop up the other. We need both to achieve our clean energy goals.

MARTIN MURRAY

Manchester

(The writer is a spokesman for Eversource.)