Petition Asks Sununu For Exec. Order Telling N.H. Utilities To Make investments In Offshore Wind Power

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Renewable power supporters need Gov. Chris Sununu to signal an govt order that will result in extra offshore wind improvement in New Hampshire, as neighboring states forge forward with comparable steps and after a invoice on the problem stalled within the state legislature this yr.

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Sununu has recently been a vocal supporter of wind as a local weather change resolution however hasn’t issued the mandates many different East Coast states have used to require their utilities to purchase into deliberate offshore initiatives.

“It’s time for New Hampshire to affix the remainder of the states round us,” stated Rebecca Beaulieu of the activist group 350-New Hampshire at a small rally in Portsmouth’s Prescott Park Saturday. “Governor Sununu informed us he wouldn’t get in the way in which of offshore wind.”

Her group’s new petition asks for Sununu, by the top of this yr, to order the state’s electrical corporations to spend money on 800 megawatts of wind initiatives, with situations to make sure that the power advantages New Hampshire as immediately as doable.

This so-called “procurement” can be sufficient to energy round 400,000 houses per yr. It’s the capability of many typical, particular person offshore wind farms, or two-thirds that of Seabrook Nuclear Energy Plant.

wind protesters

Annie Ropeik

Local weather activists carried pro-wind indicators at a rally in Portsmouth on Aug. 14, 2021.

President Joe Biden goals to allow 35 gigawatts of offshore wind within the U.S. by 2030, beginning with Winery Wind off the south coast of Massachusetts. New Hampshire’s largest utility, Eversource, is already working with worldwide companions on wind improvement within the area.

Why did offshore wind take so lengthy to reach within the U.S. – and what is going to it imply now that it’s right here? Hear now to ‘Windfall,’ a particular podcast collection from NHPR’s Exterior/In.

New Hampshire State Sen. David Watters co-sponsored a bipartisan wind invoice that mirrored the brand new petition earlier this yr. It handed the Senate Power Committee on a 23-1 vote however was held again in Senate Finance.

“Why are we stalling right here in New Hampshire? Why don’t we get transferring on this?” Watters, a Democrat from Dover and the chair of the state’s offshore wind fee, stated on the rally Saturday. “Why don’t we rework our energy?”

The petition, which Watters additionally helps, asks for Sununu’s order to require in-state job creation and different environmental justice advantages as a part of utility wind funding.

“It places New Hampshire within the driver’s seat,” he stated of the method of procuring wind energy for the state via this sort of utility mandate.

“We will guarantee the roles come right here, we will make sure the clear power advantages New Hampshire, we will defend our fisheries, we will construct up our workforce, and that’s why all the opposite states which can be within the offshore wind improvement are doing procurements.”

Sununu’s assist for offshore wind evolves

Sununu had not signaled whether or not he would assist Watters’ invoice on the topic earlier than it died this previous spring. Two years in the past, he vetoed a separate Watters invoice that will have arrange a examine committee on renewable power procurement.

That very same yr, after sustained stress from activists, Sununu requested federal regulators to launch the tri-state activity drive that may plan wind improvement within the Gulf of Maine. It met solely as soon as earlier than the pandemic. The petition asks Sununu to name for it to re-convene.


Annie Ropeik

Governor Chris Sununu speaks on the first – and, to this point, solely – assembly of a federal tri-state activity drive planning wind improvement within the Gulf of Maine, at UNH in December 2019.

The governor’s place, each on offshore wind and the local weather science that claims this sort of zero-carbon power is critical, has developed up to now few years. He referred to as procurement “an amazing concept” on the Govt Council’s assembly on Aug. 4.

This story is a part of By Levels, NHPR’s local weather change reporting venture. Join our publication immediately to get our newest tales delivered to your inbox.

At a current press convention, Sununu forged wind as one in all his high objectives for lowering the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, when requested by NHPR about his response to the current “code pink” local weather science report from the United Nations.

“Clearly New Hampshire’s all the time been a really environmentally acutely aware state,” Sununu stated. “I have been an enormous proponent of offshore wind… It isn’t like we will change that paradigm merely in a pair years, however beginning that course of, making these investments, designing these programs… is I believe a giant a part of the place we will be.”

Sununu additionally named solar energy for low-income residents as a aim. However activists say Sununu lags on encouraging that change, together with via many vetoes of associated payments lately.

New Hampshire has the area’s lowest and shortest-term aim for renewable power use, with no statutory goal for lowering planet-warming greenhouse fuel emissions.

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