Update: New Hampshire Microgrid Legislation Makes Progress

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A New Hampshire legislative committee last week okayed legislation to study microgrids. The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives for a vote on Thursday, March 14.

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The Committee on Science, Technology and Energy approved HB 183 in a 12-7 vote along party lines, with Democrats in support, according to Howard Moffett, a Democrat from Canterbury. Moffett sponsored the bill with Peter Schmidt, a Democrat from Dover.

Update! HB 183 won ‘ought to pass’ approval in an initial vote March 14 by the House.

“This is exciting new technology that holds the potential of making the grid more resilient and encouraging the development of distributed renewable local energy sources,” Moffett told Microgrid Knowledge.

HB 183 would establish a committee to study changes in law necessary to allow for microgrids in electrical supply.

The legislation has a good chance of passage should its support by Democrats hold. Democrats are the majority in both branches of the New Hampshire General Court; 234-166 in the House and 14-10 in the Senate.

The legislation is straightforward, simply calling for creation of a microgrid study committee, which would include four members of the House of Representatives, appointed by the speaker of the House, and one member of the Senate, appointed by the president of the Senate.

The state is focusing its energy policy on driving down electricity costs. New Hampshire has among the highest electricity rates in the country at 17.32 cents/kWh as of December 2018, compared with a US average of 10.27 cents/kWh, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, issued a 10-year energy plan last year that focuses on using market-based mechanisms to achieve 11 primary goals.

While the first of its 11 goals calls for prioritizing cost-effective energy policies, the second is to “ensure a secure, reliable, and resilient energy system” – often the reason for microgrid installations. The report emphasizes the need for cybersecurity, in particular.

Other state goals are to:

  • Adopt all-resource energy strategies and minimize government barriers to innovation
  • Maximize cost-effective energy savings
  • Achieve environmental protection that is cost-effective and enables economic growth
  • Government intervention in energy markets should be limited, justifiable, and technology-neutral
  • Encourage market-selection of cost-effective energy resources
  • Generate in-state economic activity without reliance on permanent subsidization of energy
  • Maximize the economic lifespan of existing resources while integrating new entrants on a levelized basis
  • Protect against neighboring states’ policies that socialize costs
  • Ensure that appropriate energy infrastructure is able to be sited while incorporating input and guidance from stakeholders

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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