Energy policy in New Hampshire

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Energy policy in New Hampshire
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Quick facts
State population: 1.3 million
Per capita income: $47,058
Energy consumption
Total energy consumption: 292 trillion BTU[1][2]
Per capita energy consumption: 222 million BTU
Energy spending
Total state energy spending: $5.965 billion
Per capita energy spending: $4,526
Residential natural gas price: $17.49 per thousand cubic foot
Residential electricity price: 16.73 cents per kWh
See also
Energy on the ballot
Statewide fracking on the ballot
Local fracking on the ballot
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Energy Policy Project
Energy policy in the United States
Energy use in the United States
Glossary of energy terms
Energy policy in New Hampshire
Fracking in New Hampshire
Energy policy in New Hampshire depends on geography, natural energy resources, how electricity is generated, how much energy consumers use, politics and the influence of groups such as environmental and industry organizations. Decisions by policymakers, such as state and local governments, utilities and regulatory agencies, affect all citizens economically and environmentally, and are generally geared toward providing reliable, affordable energy. The cost of energy affects not only home heating and electricity bills, and thus disposable income, but also economic growth, including jobs, investment and the cost of doing business in the state.

How energy is produced and consumed also has an impact on the environment and pollution. Energy policy in New Hampshire focuses on decreasing emissions and finding opportunities to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy resources.[3] As the infrastructure for producing and delivering renewable energy sources is not as advanced as it is for energy generation from traditional sources, these policies often require subsidies to make the produced energy affordable, and their effects are difficult to measure.

Energy policy involves tradeoffs between providing an affordable, consistent energy supply on the one hand, and limiting pollution and protecting the environment, on the other. How states attempt to balance these two differs between states, and often boils down to costs to consumers versus costs to the environment. This article provides general energy information about the state as the context within which energy policy is made, as well as information about major legislation and public and private groups that play a role in setting energy policy in the state.

See also: Energy policy in the United States for more information on energy policy.
See also: Fracking in New Hampshire

Energy overview

State facts

Below are quick facts about New Hampshire's energy climate.
New Hampshire

  • is a net electricity exporter.
  • has the largest nuclear power reactor in New England. The reactor provided 42 percent of the state's energy consumption in 2010.
  • is one of most forested states in the country, second only to Maine.
  • produces mainly nuclear energy, but it also produces a sizable amount of energy from renewable energy resources.
  • has two coal-fired generating stations.
  • does not produce coal, oil, or natural gas.[4]

In New Hampshire

  • natural gas accounted for 33 percent of New Hampshire's total electricity generation.
  • almost one out of twelve New Hampshire homes depend on wood products as their primary heating source.
  • transportation is the leading energy-consuming sector, followed by the residential sector.
  • about one-seventh of New Hampshire's net electricity generation comes from renewable resources, and of that amount, most comes from hydropower facilities.[4]

Available energy resources

New Hampshire's greatest resource is its vast amount of forested land. About one out of 12 homes uses wood as its primary means for heating. The state does not produce natural gas, crude oil, or natural gas. Although it has two coal-fired power plants the coal burned is all imported from other states. New Hampshire produces mainly nuclear energy, and has the largest nuclear reactor in the nation.[4]

About one-seventh of New Hampshire's total electricity generation comes from renewable resources. The majority of New Hampshire's electricity generated from renewable sources is from hydropower. The state was home to one of the first initiatives to encourage the use of wind power, and the state has ample mountain ranges well suited to turbines. The first modern wind farm opened in 2008, and more are under development. There are new projects being developed in New Hampshire, the majority of which are wind or biomass.[4]

Consumption and prices

Energy consumption in New Hampshire
NH energy consumption chart.png

     Transportation       Residential     Industrial       Commercial
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The transportation sector consumes the largest amount of energy in New Hampshire, about 35 percent of the total. The residential sector is close behind at about 30 percent. The industrial sector makes up the smallest amount of consumption, coming in at about 12 percent. This is because most of New Hampshire has not been developed, and is still forested. Most of the energy consumed is derived from petroleum. The dependence on petroleum is because most homes use fuel oil for heating.[6] The price of gasoline in New Hampshire generally tracks the national average, but it occasionally diverges.[7] According to the EIA's February 2014 report, the federal excise tax is 18.40 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.40 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. In addition to that, New Hampshire collects a total tax of 19.6 cents on every gallon of gasoline, gasohol diesel fuel, which ranks it at the 41st highest in the United States.[8][9]

Comparisons tables

The table below compares New Hampshire's consumption and spending for energy, as well as prices for gas and electricity, and carbon emissions to those of Vermont, which has similar population, resources and consumption needs because of climate and geography. Also given are the U.S. averages and the state rankings. All rankings are from highest to lowest, so, for example:

  • Vermont's rank of 50th in carbon emissions means that it emits less carbon than does New Hampshire that has a rank of 45th.
  • Likewise, per capita income in New Hampshire is higher than the national average, and much higher than in Vermont, which at 22nd ranks 12 places behind New Hampshire's ranking of 10th in per capita income.
  • Per capita energy spending in Vermont is much higher, 17th in the nation, compared New Hampshire's rank of 25th. This difference may be due the higher price of electricity and natural gas in Vermont.
  • Vermont ranks fourth in the nation for the price of natural gas, meaning that only three states have higher prices in the nation. On the other hand, New Hampshire has similar rankings for prices, seventh for electricity and seventh for the price of natural gas, but it also has a larger population. These higher prices may be due to the source of production in the states, as neither state employs cheap sources of energy like coal.
  • These two states are very similarly placed in the lower-rank on population, overall consumption and overall spending.
  • Per capita energy consumption in Vermont (at 41st) is lower than in New Hampshire (at 43rd), but they are very similar.
  • Total consumption of New Hampshire and Vermont is similar. New Hampshire consumes slightly more than Vermont, with a rank of 46th compared to Vermont's ranking of 51st.[4]
Consumption and Expenditures Comparisons Summary
Type New HampshireVermontU.S. Figures
FigureU.S. Rank*FigureU.S. Rank*Totals
Population1.3 million420.6 million50313.9 million
Per Capita Income Average$47,05810$42,99422$42,693
Total Consumption292 trillion BTU46149 trillion BTU5197,301 quadrillion BTU
Per Capita Energy Consumption222 million BTU43238 million BTU41312 million BTU
Total Spending on Energy$5.965 million44$3.151 million50$1,394,088 million
Per Capita Spending on Energy$4,52625$5,02917$4,474
Price of Residential Natural Gas, dollar per thousand cubic feet$17.497$19.874$12.48
Price of Electricity, cents per kWh16.73717.66512.31
Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, million metric tons (2010)17456505,631
*Rank is from highest to lowest.

In New Hampshire, most homes employ fuel oil as their primary heat source. Because of the dependence on fuel oil, New Hampshire is very susceptible to shortages or to factors in production, such as petroleum. Only about 8 percent of homes use electricity, about an 18 percentage point difference from the national average. Only 20 percent use natural gas to heat their homes, which is less than half of the national average.[4]

See also: State Energy Rankings to compare all 50 states
Consumption of energy for heating homes in Vermont
Source Vermont 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 19.5% 49.5%
Fuel oil 48.8% 6.5%
Electricity 7.9% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 14.4% 5%
Other/none 9.5% 3.6%

Production and transmission

New Hampshire produces energy in the form of nuclear power and renewable forms such as hydroelectric energy. Because the state does not produce natural gas it has to import most of its supply from Canada and Maine. The fuel oil that New Hampshire depends on comes from Canada, and the Gulf refineries. In New Hampshire most energy in the state is produced by the nuclear power plants, mostly by the Seabrook Nuclear Station.[4]

There are three regulated natural gas distribution utilities in New Hampshire that serve the approximately 117,000 natural gas customers in the state.[10] Four electric distribution companies operate in New Hampshire and each is a monopoly over its own area. The Public Utilities Commission oversees and regulates the utility companies in New Hampshire. The transmission grid in New Hampshire is operated by the ISO-NE, and is part of the interconnected New England transmission network.[11][12]

Energy production by type in New Hampshire, 2011
Type Amount Generated
(trillion BTU)
% of State % of USA
Nuclear 87.5 67.31% 1.06%
Other 42.5 32.69% 0.6%

Electricity in New Hampshire comes from three main sources, hydroelectric, natural gas and nuclear power. The majority of the electricity generated is from the nuclear power plants, specifically, the Seabrook Nuclear Plant which produces about half of New Hampshire's entire electricity generation. The miscellaneous category includes what the U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies as 'other,' which is "assumed to equal consumption of all renewable energies except biofuels."[4]

Where electricity comes from in New Hampshire[13]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Natural gas-fired 294,000 20.39% 0.03%
Nuclear 927,000 64.29% 0.12%
Hydroelectric 81,000 5.62% 0.03%
Other renewables 133,000 9.22% 0.07%
Total net electricity generation 1,442,000 100% 0.04%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

Energy policy

Policy Issues
New Hampshire has an energy policy focused on giving assistance to businesses, individuals and the state as a whole in order to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts.[14]
See also: Fracking in New Hampshire

Energy policy is made, executed and influenced by many organizations, both public and private, and is codified in the laws and regulations of the state. Each state’s energy policy involves tradeoffs in which energy production and prices are weighed against environmental concerns and efficiency. The state has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires 24.8 percent of electricity consumed in the state be from renewable sources by 2025. The RPS requires utilities to provide electricity to consumers that is generated from renewable resources. Qualifying renewables include, solar, landfill gas, wind, biomass, hydroelectric and others. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of New Hampshire regularly evaluates and reports on the RPS goals. The PUC determines if the goals need to be altered, and what aspects are being met compared to what is not being accomplished.[15][16][17][18]

New Hampshire is ranked 21st in efficiency compared to all the other states according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. The state's ranking is down three spots since 2012.[19] There are differing estimates about the economic impact of these mandates in terms of costs that may affect prices and jobs, as well as the impact on the environment and pollution. Thus, for example, there are many new studies of what is called the "rebound effect" which refers to the fact that "some of the theoretically estimated gains in energy efficiency will be eroded as consumers consume additional goods and services."[20][21]

Major legislation

  • The Clean Power Act (2002) mandates that fossil fuel plants in New Hampshire reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 3 percent lower than the 1999 amounts, and once it achieves the 1999 levels, to maintain them. The act allows the use of credits from plants outside of New Hampshire to fulfill the emissions requirement.[22]
  • House Bill 1,554 (2010) provides funding for the Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program that allows property owners to borrow money from local governments to pay for energy improvements. Many New Hampshire areas fund programs that improve the efficiency of existing technologies, and those that install renewable energy systems.[23]
  • House Bill 1,628 (2008) requires the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to begin and operate a rebate program for certain renewable-energy systems. The program is meant to incentivize implementing renewable energy systems and help the state meet its RPS goals. Only photovoltaics and wind qualify for the rebate. The rebate is "a one time incentive payment from the renewable energy fund to residential owners of certain small renewable generation facilities that begin operation on or after July 1, 2008 and are located at the owner’s residence."[24]
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State energy policy

State fracking policy

Energy policy terms

Fracking in the U.S.

Energy use in the U.S.

Energy policy in the U.S.

State environmental policy

See also
Local fracking on the ballot

Statewide fracking on the ballot

Government agencies and committees

  • The Office of Energy and Planning is part of the executive branch of the New Hampshire government. The office promotes smart growth at all levels, and works to improve energy efficiency. The office strives to implement renewable energy whenever possible and effective.[25]
  • The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has general jurisdiction over electric, telecommunications, natural gas, water and sewer utilities. The PUC's mission is to ensure that customers of the utilities under its directive receive quality service at an affordable price. The PUC also works to educate the people of New Hampshire and provide information on issues that are relevant as a utility customer, utility representative, or industry consultant.[28]
  • The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services works to protect the environment from overdevelopment in order to preserve New Hampshire's natural beauty. The department's goal is to protect the residents of New Hampshire through protecting the environment.[29]

Major organizations

  • New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions uses the "stone soup" approach to provide guidance, resources and coordination for communities in New Hampshire. Their approach encourages everyone to come together with what they have and volunteer their own services in order to produce something greater than what each could achieve individually. The New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions group tries to address local level projects more deeply than they are usually handled. The New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions provides training sessions so that local individuals can be more self sufficient.[30]
  • The New Hampshire Energy and Climate Collaborative provides a network of energy and climate leaders and organizations in an effort to leverage opportunities and remove barriers to implementation of the most significant recommendations in New Hampshire's Climate Action Plan. The Collaborative hosts events that encourage the growth of community efforts.[31]
  • The Green Launching Pad is driven to connect entrepreneurs and private industry with students and faculty in the technical, scientific and business fields at the University of New Hampshire. The goal is to spur competitive "green" energy technology which is accessible to New Hampshire entrepreneurs and innovators. The organization strives to bring interdisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, economists, faculty and entrepreneurs together in order to accelerate the development of new green businesses and jumpstart the growth of existing businesses.[32]

In the news

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See also

External links


  1. These figures come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration State Profiles and Energy Estimates, New Hampshire Overview. Statistics for population and per capita income are for the year 2012; consumption and spending estimates are for 2011; and prices are for October 2013. Updated pricing information is available on the state's EIA profile. Prices will be updated on this page biannually.
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "New Hampshire Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
  3. Office of Energy and Planning, "About OEP," accessed February 28, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "New Hampshire Overview," accessed February 28, 2014
  5. This chart depicts the state's energy consumption as reported by the EIA for 2011. Click the image to enlarge.
  6. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "New Hampshire Overview," accessed February 28, 2014
  7. To compare current gasoline prices in New Hampshire to the U.S average, go to Hampshirerado&city3=&crude=n&tme=60&units=us
  8. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum Marketing Monthly," February 2014," accessed February 14, 2014
  9. The Tax Foundation, "State Gasoline Tax Rates, 2009-2013," March 21, 2013
  10. Public Utilities Commission, "Gas/Steam," accessed February 28, 2014
  11. New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, "Electric," accessed March 14, 2014
  12. Public Utilities Commission, "Background Report on New Hampshire Transmission Infrastructure," December 1, 2007," accessed February 28, 2014
  13. These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates U.S. Energy Information Administration, "New Hampshire Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
  14. New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, "Energy Policy, Planning, and Security," accessed February 28, 2014
  15. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "New Hampshire: Renewables Portfolios Standard," April 25, 2013," accessed February 28, 2014
  16. According to a report called "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, the cost of electricity in states with RPS were on average 38 percent higher in 2010 than in states without a RPS.
  17. Institute for Energy Research, "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," accessed March 24, 2014
  18. Manhattan Institute, "The High Cost of Renewable-Energy Mandates," February 2012
  19. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard," November 2013," accessed February 2014
  20. International Risk Governance Council, "The Rebound Effect: Implications of Consumer Behavior for Robust Energy Policies," accessed March 3, 2014
  21. Scientific American, "How Bad Is the Rebound from Energy Efficiency Efforts?," May 21, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
  22. "Institute for Energy Research", "New Hampshire," accessed February 28, 2014
  23. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Local Option - Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Districts," September 18, 2013," accessed February 28, 2014
  24. Public Utilities Commission, "Information regarding HB 1628 (Chap. 368, 2008 Session Laws)," accessed March 11, 2014
  25. Office of Energy and Planning, "About OEP," accessed February 28, 2014
  26. House of Representatives, "NH House Committees," accessed March 11, 2014
  27. State Senate, "NH Senate Standing Committees," accessed March 11, 2014
  28. Public Utilities Commission, "About Us," accessed February 28, 2014
  29. Department of Environmental Services, "Energy," accessed February 28, 2014
  30. New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions, "About," accessed February 28, 2014
  31. New Hampshire Energy and Climate Collaborative, "About the Collaborative," accessed February 28, 2014
  32. Green Launching Pad, "Overview," accessed February 28, 2014