Letter: Raiding Energy Fund in N.H.

To the Editor:

Recently, members of the New Hampshire Senate voted to pluck $16 million from our Renewable Energy Fund, which was set up to support renewable energy initiatives in the state. It is the only dedicated fund we have that provides direct incentives for the market transition toward clean sources of energy.

While we send billions of dollars out of our state every year by importing oil and purchasing energy from coal and natural gas, homeowners and business owners who would prefer an alternate path struggle with how best to invest in producing energy cleanly and effectively in their own backyards to reap the long-term savings and environmental benefits. The Renewable Energy Fund offers great programs that support these investment decisions and facilitate projects by providing incentives for the purchase of solar electric and solar hot water systems, wood pellet heating systems or toward the repowering of existing small-scale hydroelectric facilities, to name just a few examples. It also drives technological innovation, provides local jobs and ultimately helps keep a lot of the dollars we spend on energy in New Hampshire.

Like the rest of the country, increasing numbers of people in New Hampshire are making investments in renewables and demand for assistance from our energy fund is high, and so it makes sense that a lot of us want to see more, not less, support from state government for these programs, especially since more and more states are finding room in their budgets to support onsite renewable generation. Let’s not miss the opportunity to further advance the building of renewable energy projects that help to improve the state’s economy and environment. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to say “hands off” the Renewable Energy Fund.

David McManus