Sununu May Veto Net Metering Expansion and Fuel Diversity Bill

by Steve MacDonald

vetoThere’s a rumor goin’ round that Gov Sununu is planning to veto two pieces of legislation. The first, SB446, would drive up electric rates by forcing companies like EverSource to buy more green energy at retail rates (instead of wholesale) for qualified “green energy” from anyone who generates it in the State.

The second, SB365, would also drive up rates by mandating that power companies purchase MORE Biomass “green” energy.

Environmental virtue-signaling costs you more. It costs businesses more. It costs jobs, growth, you get the picture.

There is a third bill that would continue to pour money down the hole known as the Berlin Biomass plant but the Gubbnuh is planning to sign that one. Sop to the North Country?

It’s still a bad use of resources as noted here,

The state through legislative force is taking money from the marketplace (job creators, consumers, and even municipalities) to prop up their mandates. Money that would otherwise find more productive uses.

Benevolent legislators think they know better how to spend your money. They do not.

Josiah Bartlett, which came out against all three measures observed that,

Each of these bills deliberately raises New Hampshire electricity rates in direct contradiction of what the state’s new energy strategy describes as the “critical goal” of reducing those rates.

The stated goal of these bills is to preserve several hundred jobs in the forest products industry. Yet by pushing electricity rates ever further upward, these bills jeopardize tens of thousands of jobs in other industries, particularly in manufacturing, which employs 70,000 people in the Granite State.

In an Op-Ed shared at GraniteGrok.com Drew Cline observed that SB446,

SB 446 applies these net metering subsidies to the state’s six remaining biomass power plants. These plants are not home hobby projects. They are businesses, often owned by larger corporations.

At a public hearing on the bill last month, no one disputed an estimate that the bill would cost ratepayers about $20 million a year – on top of existing subsidies for biomass plants and solar arrays. The stated reason for the subsidy? These plants can’t compete against plants that run on natural gas and other lower-cost fuels. To keep them alive, the bill’s supporters want the state to raise electricity costs by about $20 million a year ($100 million every five years!) to save the few hundred jobs these plants support.

On SB 365 Cline reminds us that this legislation,

would compel utilities such as Eversource, Liberty Utilities and Unitil to buy some of their default power from the state’s biomass plants. This also will raise rates. By compelling ratepayers to subsidize uncompetitive businesses, legislators have deliberately raised New Hampshire’s electricity rates, helping to make them among the highest in the nation. Far from helping the state’s economy, these high rates discourage out-of-state companies from moving here and in-state companies from expanding.

Pardon the review, but the Republican lead legislature passed these bills. And while I’m happy to hear the Governor may veto two of them, there’s no guarantee the same legislature won’t find the votes to override those vetoes as unlikely as that seems).

As for SB577, that’s the Berlin Biomass bailout bill a hole we’ve already dumped a small fortune into to save a handful of jobs. But then, that’s been the way of things lately up north. Subsidies, bailouts, the Balsam’s boondoggle, the Berlin biomass bailout and pandering to Big Wood.

Every dollar you rob to prop up a job comes from someone else’s pocket. You can’t make jobs unless you take jobs. So the legislature should get out of the business of picking winners and losers because if we’re being honest they’re not very good at it.

Not even close.

H/T NHPR

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