Consistent with the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers resolutions, New Hampshire has adopted the goal of reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.
In the electricity generation sector, two laws were established recently that will help New Hampshire advance its objective: the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
PSNH’s goal is to meet or surpass the state RPS requirement of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025, and to continue reducing emissions from existing power plants so they are operating as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
Five Key Strategies
There are many actions New Hampshire can take today to continue reducing emissions in the electricity generation sector. PSNH is working to implement a multi-pronged approach that ensures reliability of service, cost stability, and success. This includes:
Since 2002, PSNH's energy-efficiency programs have saved customers more than $800 million, and reduced emissions from power plants by more than 3 million tons. In 2009, the state's Greenhouse Gas Reduction fund (paid for through RGGI) granted $7.4 million to the state's electric utilities to expand these highly successful energy-efficiency and weatherization programs. PSNH is using these funds to develop new program elements that will further reduce customers' energy consumption. Existing programs include:
Efficiency Programs - Residential
Efficiency Programs - Business
New Hampshire’s Climate Action Plan calls for the state to enable the importation of Canadian hydroelectric and wind power. This recommendation represents the single most substantial action included in the Plan to mitigate carbon emissions. One project that could help accomplish this goal is called the Northern Pass. This project proposes to construct a transmission line that would link Hydro-Québec’s hydroelectric system with New England’s electricity grid. The line would carry up to 1,200 megawatts of renewable power to New Hampshire and other New England states, helping to significantly reduce the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. PSNH’s parent company, Northeast Utilities, is collaborating with NSTAR and HQ Hydro Renewable Energy to explore this possibility. PSNH is also focusing on upgrading its system of power lines and substations to support reliability and the transport of local renewable energy throughout New Hampshire and beyond.
Since the start of retail electric competition, PSNH has had voluntary, good-faith negotiations with many developers, and has successfully developed mutually beneficial contracts with several renewable power producers in New Hampshire. This includes developing a long-term contract to purchase wind power from Iberdrola's Lempster wind power project, contracts with various privately owned biomass and hydroelectric facilities in the Granite State, and ongoing negotiations with proposed renewable projects in New Hampshire, such as Laidlaw's Berlin biomass project.
PSNH is continually looking for opportunities to develop small-scale renewable energy sources that will provide its customers with clean energy and an economic advantage over the long-term. This includes projects like the 51-kilowatt solar array installed by PSNH on its office building in Manchester, small-scale wind power initiatives, and more. PSNH is actively working with other corporations, municipalities, and the State Legislature to identify potential projects.
Given New Hampshire's reliance on existing power plants to meet consumers' energy needs, continued investments are necessary to ensure PSNH's plants operate as cleanly and efficiently as possible. This includes projects such as the "scrubber" construction at Merrimack Station, converting one of Schiller Station's coal boilers to burn clean wood chips, increasing the efficiency of the turbines at PSNH's hydroelectric facilities, and exploring other opportunities, such as using cocoa bean shells to offset coal usage at Schiller Station. These projects allow our existing power plants to produce the same amount or more energy with less impact on the environment.