My Turn: Clean energy policies are good for New Hampshire businesses

For the Monitor
Published: 2/25/2017 12:14:53 AM

As a Nashua-based manufacturer, we know that the energy costs are a concern for everyone. That’s why we are committed to energy solutions like energy efficiency and renewable energy.

It’s common sense: Investing in projects that make our electricity grid and our businesses more energy efficient decreases the amount of energy we need to purchase and therefore lowers our energy bills. And the wind and the sun, once the initial investment is paid off, provide the cheapest energy resources around.

Recent efforts in the state Legislature to weaken clean energy policies in New Hampshire are unwelcome developments for many in the business community.

Right now, the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee is considering a bill, HB 592, that would remove our state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This is a step in the wrong direction. Clean energy is good for our economy.

At Worthen Industries, we’ve found that using resources more efficiently and investing in renewable energy helps our bottom line and make us more competitive. Investing in a clean energy future can create jobs and attract investments – all while hedging against the volatility of fossil fuel prices and building a more diverse and resilient energy portfolio.

Sound, forward-looking clean energy policies like RGGI create certainty for businesses and instill confidence for new investments.

That’s why in August 2016, Worthen Industries joined with more than 90 companies and investors – including fellow New Hampshire businesses Stonyfield, Timberland, Smuttynose Brewing and Pax World Funds – in calling on Northeast governors to strengthen RGGI beyond 2020.

RGGI, a multi-state cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide emissions, has had a strong record of success. A market-based program designed with the economy in mind, RGGI has proven the feasibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to grow the economy. Since the program launched in 2008, RGGI states have reduced emissions 16 percent more than other states and have seen 3.6 percent more economic growth. In New Hampshire, this translates to 24 percent fewer GHG emissions.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire has received over $115 million from RGGI auction proceeds. This is money the state can use to give back to ratepayers or put toward energy-efficiency programs that deliver long-run total energy savings. Removing New Hampshire from RGGI won’t decrease our electric bills but would instead deprive us of the revenue that other New England states would be enjoying without us.

Our business is committed to doing our part to conduct business responsibly. Our environmental management systems have been certified at both of our N.H. facilities, and we’re currently installing a solar project on the roof of our Nashua North facility that will be the largest rooftop solar array in the state.

While businesses like ours are doing what we can to act responsibly, we need lawmakers to set the signals and ensure policy certainty to help drive the economy in the right direction.

Policies like RGGI are a boon for business and are beneficial for the economy at large. Instead of debating whether to repeal these programs, lawmakers should think about how to strengthen and enhance them to protect our economy in the long term and provide a cleaner electricity grid for all.

(David Worthen is president of Worthen Industries in Nashua.)

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