Letter: There’s no consensus on clean energy

Published: 4/18/2019 12:01:24 AM

As New Hampshire’s consumer advocate, I agree with solar developer Dan Weeks (Monitor Opinion, April 16) that Granite Staters, including the residential utility customers whose interests I represent, believe that humans cause global warming and should do something about it.

However, I do not share Weeks’s bubbly assessment of where things stand at the State House. In reality, at least 10 major energy bills with climate implications (including legislation about energy efficiency, microgrids, net metering and battery storage) were reported to the floor on divided and essentially party-line votes.

In other words, there is no bipartisan “clean energy consensus.” And clarity and truth suffer when complicated questions like energy policy become hotly contested partisan disputes.

Exhibit A is the effort to raise the “cap” on net metering to 5 megawatts, which Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed last year. Weeks says it will “save taxpayers money,” presumably by encouraging municipalities to invest in solar, but he does not mention that the costs will be borne by ratepayers. Nothing prohibits municipalities and others from building solar arrays and exporting power now; they’d simply have to rely on the same wholesale market prices that big generators get.

I take no position on this proposal. It is not for me to decide whether the public policy benefits of more net metering justify expanding the universe of projects eligible for the special net metering rates. But we should not forget that addressing climate change has costs – and the bill goes to ratepayers.



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