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My Turn: On energy, we can’t simply keep saying ‘no’

The residents of New Hampshire have some important decisions to make when it comes to satisfying our energy needs of today and addressing the state’s energy challenges of tomorrow. It is most important that we debate the facts, make informed decisions based on those facts and avoid being driven by emotion.

In a recent column, Laura Richardson of the Jordan Institute wrote, “If we can better manage energy use, we don’t need to expand energy capacity” (“Time to break out of New Hampshire’s energy efficiency polar vortex,” Monitor Forum, Jan. 25). I applaud the efforts of this nonprofit group to promote energy efficiency and conservation. Those are admirable goals, but our state and regional energy needs will continue to grow. We simply must plan now for those growing future needs.

We must also factor in the complications of climate change. With recent weather extremes becoming more and more the norm, our energy use has spiked accordingly. These energy spikes have brought immediate attention to our already stressed electrical grid. Energy suppliers have come dangerously close to not meeting our current demands. Recent headlines like “New England energy prices 40 percent above U.S. average,” “New England narrowly escapes power outages,” and “Natural gas volatility creating challenges at Gorham mill” reflect our energy supply shortages. And these shortages are having real-life consequences. Just recently many of our neighbors to the north lost their jobs as stressed energy supplies caused prices to skyrocket and resulted in business shutdowns.

To complicate the solution even further, for myriad political, environmental and infrastructure reasons, we stand to lose 8,000 megawatts of power from our New England grid by 2020. To put that into perspective, the Seabrook nuclear power plant generates 1,200 megawatts of power. At a time of steadily increasing demand on our energy grid, how do we replace those 8,000 megawatts and grow our available energy supplies to help reduce the cost of what is generally considered the most expensive electric rates in the country?

Well, we certainly don’t solve the problem by passing legislation that discourages or outright stops the development of new energy projects.

In business, you must consistently make good decisions today that will help you achieve success in the future. Similarly, New Hampshire is in the middle of a serious debate over whether or not to embrace wind and hydroelectric power projects. We must make decisions today that will enhance our national and global competitiveness for future generations – and a major part of that competitiveness is the future cost and reliability of energy.

We simply can’t keep saying “No” to all these projects. Doing nothing may be a short-term political victory for some, but in the very near future, these myopic decisions will ultimately end in crisis.

It’s time for leadership. It’s time we get serious about ensuring our energy supply is plentiful, reasonably priced and 100 percent reliable.

Any other scenario is unacceptable.

(Tony Giunta is founder and former president of the American Energy Independence Co. and the former mayor of Franklin.)

Legacy Comments9

Ex Franklin mayor promotes a project that would line Franklin's pockets. The author is hardly a disinterested party.

Climate change is not a natural cycle. As Senator Franken said we know the temperature of the earth is rising because we have measured the temperature with thermometers and have seen it go up. It is that simple. If we invest in improvements for our communities, our homes and businesses to need less energy then we avoid the need for new big power plants or wrapping up our entire state in wire ribbon. Why not invest in our communities instead of paying for some company to make some outrageous profit off of us like leaches?

Al Franken is an imbecile....

Senator Al Franken of Saturday Night Live fame?

A mostly great article! A few points: Northern Pass may be a conduit to send electrical power south, but it is part of a grid; it is not a "pipeline" with no faucets leading from or to it. There are fewer and fewer manufacturing jobs in New England due to the cost of energy. Natural gas, propane and electrical power in New England is sky rocketing due to Obama's war on coal. Coal fired power plants are being converted to natural gas and we do not have pipe line capacity enough to bring sufficient supply into the region during periods of high demand, such as we have seen this winter. High demand = high prices. If anyone dares to try to increase pipeline capacity, we'll see all the cars with "No Northern Pass" bumper stickers also sporting one that reads "No Pipeline!" It's the same bunch of NIMBYists and alarmists all the time; no Northern Pass, no wind farms, no hydro dams, no coal, no biomass, no nukes. We can't hand wring our way out of this. Regardless of what you may think of "climate change" life needs to go on. In the 80's we were all going to freeze in the dark! Then it was "global warming" (I could use some of that right now!) Nature works in cycles; I have seen very cold, snowy winters, and I have seen winters without much snow and mild temperatures. Global warming, global cooling and climate change are inventions of professional students (I won't dignify them by calling them "scientists") who have figured out how to scam the system, keep the pot stirred, and keep the grants coming by keeping the socialistic kool-aide drinkers all wound up. If we are going to survive in New England, we need affordable electricity, motor fuel and heating fuel.

I still say "bring the pain." The only way to bring the know nothing crowd along. When you hear the collective scream of the know nothings in letters to the editors...then we can move the discussion forward..and not a second before..

What about the thousands of people who testified at DOE scoping hearings or submitted written comments? All "nimbyists" and "alarmists"?

It's hard to overlook the irony of the founder and former president [and one of the only members] of the American Energy Independence Co. advocating for foreign wind and hydro power. People aren't just taking the Nancy Reagan approach and just saying no, they are saying things like, "do it right" and "put these large scale transmission lines underground where they belong like all the other states in our region are doing". Why should NH be the only state trashed so other states can shut down their power plants? Why should the burden be on NH to make up for the shortcomings of other states while we have long been an energy exporter to the rest of New England. Just another special interest money front group to fear monger rather than admit that their proposal is driven by greed instead of need. Other underground proposals to bring Canadian hydro power into the region are moving along while no. pass has been in a coma for 4 years without a complete route and virtually no public support. Bury it or forget it.

Absolutely agree. 100%. NH's population and energy use is constantly rising. Time for folks to pull their heads out of the sand and face it. By the way, wouldn't it be interesting if the Northern Pass project were to bring electrical power to just NH instead of southern New England?

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