New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu vetoed HB 365 even though it passed in the legislature with bipartisan support. He vetoed a similar bill last September, according to NHPR.
The bill would have raised the ability to net meter qualifying renewable energy projects from 1 MW up to 5 MW. According to renewable energy advocacy group Clean Energy New Hampshire, HB 365 was designed to correct an arbitrary regulatory barrier that limits the size of a renewable energy project that can net meter.
“It’s a blow to the growth of the renewable energy industry, for sure,” says Ted Vansant, chair of the board of directors for Clean Energy New Hampshire. “But what’s truly sad is the effect this action has on the countless businesses, school districts and municipalities that were poised to complete projects. In an era of hyper-partisanship, HB 365 was a true example of legislators working together to advance legislation that matters to their constituents. Not only did Governor Sununu ignore this cooperation, he blatantly denied the expressed needs of New Hampshire.”
Sununu said in his veto message that he made the decision because the bill was “a regressive cost burden on citizens that benefits large-scale solar developers while hurting all ratepayers.” He said he is committed to advancing renewable energy in the state, but that legislature should “focus on advancing policies that limit the harm to our ratepayers and target the benefits of renewable energy to those most in need.”
NHPR reports that utilities say net metering is only a minor driver of rate increases, and in this case, large-scale customers would be the ones paying a higher rate. Clean Energy New Hampshire disagreed with Sununu’s characterization of the bill and asked legislators to override the veto.
“This is the best option to empower businesses and municipalities to control their energy costs, as so many other cost drivers are out of our control in the regional electricity market,” says Madeleine Mineau, executive director of Clean Energy New Hampshire. “The legislature understands this. Clean Energy NH, our more than five hundred members, and many businesses and municipalities will now look to their legislators to side with New Hampshire ratepayers and taxpayers by overriding this veto.”