This week, the N.H. House and Senate are scheduled to vote on whether to override the governor’s vetoes on several bills. I’d like to highlight two in particular that should be overridden, as they have a direct local impact on the city of Keene and our ability to reach our ambitious renewable energy goals.
If the override votes are successful, House Bill 365 will raise the net-metering cap in New Hampshire, allowing several large solar installations, including one that Keene is pursuing at its wastewater treatment plant, to move ahead. Keene’s plant is the largest energy user in the county, and we’re working on a plan to power it from renewable solar power. If the metering cap is not raised, the scale of the project may be limited and potential savings for local taxpayers may be diminished.
Senate Bill 72 seeks to prevent “REC sweeping.” This practice takes advantage of a loophole in New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard that allows utility companies to claim unregistered Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) without fairly compensating the system owners that generated them. Inevitably, Keene’s renewable energy plan will call for encouraging the installation of local renewable energy systems. The ability to sell RECs for a reasonable price has proven to be a powerful incentive for property owners to install renewable energy systems in many other New England states. The “surplus” of RECs created through “REC sweeping” in New Hampshire distorts the market and undermines the incentive to local system owners who would otherwise benefit.
Overriding the governor’s vetoes on both of these bills is in the best interest of Keene’s citizens. Both bills enable creative problem solving at the local level, enhance our ability to be self-reliant, and they just make simple financial sense: all traits that hardy New Englanders can be proud of.
GEORGE S. HANSEL
84 Elm St., Keene
(This writer is a Keene city councilor and candidate for mayor.)