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Letter: Override vetoes, support energy independence


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

It’s rare to have strong bipartisan support for a bill in the current New Hampshire Legislature. Two such bills, Senate Bill 365 and Senate Bill 446, passed this spring, but Gov. Chris Sununu has since vetoed them. These bills would have supported our state’s energy industry and economy.

Thankfully, there is an upcoming opportunity for the citizens of our state to urge their elected representatives to support a different vision of our economic and energy future. If enough legislators show up in Concord on Thursday – the official veto day – their votes will override the governor’s vetoes. The winners will be New Hampshire’s forest industry, the state’s ratepayers and large renewable energy projects.

SB 365 will help ensure that the state’s six independently owned biomass plants keep operating. Without these generating facilities, more than $250 million in New Hampshire’s economic activity will likely vanish. In place of locally generated electricity, our state will need to import more fossil fuels and shoulder an increasing share of the region’s transmission costs, all of which will increase electric rates for New Hampshire consumers.

SB 446 increases the cap on net metering of electricity from 1 to 5 megawatts, thereby allowing cities, towns, businesses and schools to generate more of their own electricity from renewable sources. Projects around the state are waiting to be built, and a strong signal from state policymakers in support of renewable energy investments is good policy.

Ensuring that Senate bills 365 and 446 become law by overturning the governor’s vetoes will support energy independence for New Hampshire and the innovation economy. Please make sure that your state senators and representatives are in Concord on Thursday to override the vetoes of these important bills.

ROB WERNER

Concord

(The writer is a city councilor and chair of the Concord Energy and Environment Committee.)