Blog : NHSEA Addresses $52 Million Dollar Raid on Renewable Energy Funds

By Corey | Apr 2, 2015 | in

The following is a guest blog from Kate Epsen, executive director of the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association (NHSEA). 

Yesterday the NH House of Representatives voted 219-161 in favor of the amended biennium budget bill (HB 2) to raid $51 million, along with a second amendment (210-170) to take another $1.3 million from New Hampshire’s dedicated Renewable Energy Fund. This move is abhorrent, had no public hearing, and will hurt thousands of towns, businesses and citizens across the state.

This raid, and others, will likely go on record as one of the largest takings in state history. This is not a budget our elected officials can be proud of, nor is it likely in accordance with our state constitution.

Should a similar version of the budget also pass the Senate and the Governor's office, this raid on the dedicated renewable energy fund will have devastating effects on our economy, threatening thousands of jobs and depriving towns and businesses much-needed assistance to lower their energy costs, lower local property taxes, and keep our energy dollars here in NH’s economy.

House leadership has turned its back on its own public pledge to create a sensible budget for NH without raiding dedicated funds, using accounting gimmicks, or by raising new taxes. Raiding the dedicated renewable energy fund will strip ratepayer funds intended for cost-saving and job-creating energy projects, thereby creating a hidden energy tax.

 
This move will hike everyone’s future energy bills and deprive NH of hundreds of millions of private capital dollars that are leveraged into our state because of this successful fund and the economic activity it generates. This action is a serious mistake that we must ensure the Senate will correct by honoring their on-record commitment "to protect the integrity of dedicated funds such as the Renewable Energy Fund as we begin to craft New Hampshire's next two-year budget. (Union Leader 1/1/2015)"

If this version of the budget passes, the REF will be entirely gone in the coming years, if not longer, given the challenges surrounding reviving a policy and industry after such a devastating blow.

Our Senators must hear from each of us that an REF raid is unacceptable. Visit the Senate Roster to set up a meeting or to call them. They need, and want, to hear from you.

If we do not prevent this from happening, who will? This is precisely why we need each and every one of you as members, to support our work, to speak out, and to support our communities. Please join NHSEA or renew today.

Thanks for all that you do, 
Kate Epsen