Letter: A tale of two governors

Published: 12/14/2019 12:01:30 AM
Modified: 12/14/2019 12:01:17 AM

Maine’s governor, Janet Mills, recently signed an executive order to develop and implement a sustainability plan by February 2021. Part of the Maine governor’s initiative involves installing renewable energy generation and energy storage on state property.

Let’s contrast this forward-thinking endorsement of renewable energy with Gov. Chris Sununu’s retro-environmental attitude toward New Hampshire’s energy future.

Energy storage is part of the key to New Hampshire’s energy future. The contrast between the governors is stark. Sununu rejected House Bill 183, which would have created a task force to study microgrids. Microgrids are small elements of the larger electric grid that can operate independently and be self-powered, providing energy through battery storage systems. With the declining costs of such systems, the HB 183 feasibility study made sense.

One New Hampshire microgrid, the Oyster River Clean Innovation Project, a joint effort by Eversource, UNH and the town of Durham, illustrates a private initiative that involves solar generation, battery storage and technology to manage and coordinate resources when temporarily operating off the grid. The New Hampshire towns of Warner and Westmoreland offer similar examples of planning-stage microgrid technology.

In contrast, Sununu endorses the proposed and problematical methane-based Granite Bridge storage facility in Epping for the same purpose of managing energy flow, but via fossil fuel technology.

Two governors, two philosophies, one looking backward, one looking forward to a future where climate change accelerates, infrastructure ages, rising populations demand more energy and decision-makers wrestle with providing sustainable, safe and reliable energy. Time for a change in New Hampshire in 2020.



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