CONCORD—Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to completely cut funding for energy efficiency out an important program designed to reduce global warming pollution from power plants, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (or RGGI). By a vote of 201-154.
“We should be investing more on efficiency,” said Madeline Page, Field Associate for Environment New Hampshire, “not less.”
Efficiency programs help New Hampshire do more with less energy. Efficiency is an important part of protecting New Hampshire from the impacts of global warming – by reducing the demand for electricity, efficiency directly reduces pollution. Efficiency also saves money for everyone, by reducing the need for power companies to build new power lines or generation infrastructure and thereby keeping rates low.
As Representative William Baber wrote for the Minority of Science, Technology and Energy Committee House Record: “If enacted, this bill as amended will raise the cost of electricity to ratepayers, eliminate tax reducing energy efficiency subsidies to cities and towns, negatively impact over 1,000 energy efficiency jobs, increase our dependence on imported fuel, export more state dollars and jobs, and increase our health cost by decreasing our air quality.”
New Hampshire has cut power plant global warming pollution almost in half since 2008. That success is due in part to the fact that RGGI states use the revenue generated through the sale of carbon pollution allowances to advance clean energy solutions. Through RGGI, New Hampshire has cumulatively invested more than $40 million into energy efficiency programs.
Across the 9 states that participate in the program, RGGI energy efficiency expenditures to date will save consumers more than $2 billion on their energy bills over time. These investments will prevent more than 7 million tons of global warming pollution – equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off of the road for a year.
Originally, the bill would have repealed RGGI altogether.
“We stand with the residents, health professionals, business owners, Department of Environmental Services and the Public Utilities Commission who have stood up in opposition to this bill,” said Page. “We thank legislators Kaen, Baber, and Backus for their clean energy leadership and are disappointed by those who voted to strip this successful program.”
At the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the Clean Power Plan, the first national standards limiting global warming pollution from power plants. Energy efficiency is one of the most important and cost-effective tools available to all states to meet these standards and protect our children and future generations from the worst impacts of global warming.