If you are a municipality in New Hampshire, you have a tremendous opportunity to benefit by getting paid for using electricity. Even better, embracing renewable power that can support your city or town’s sustainability initiatives and increase local renewable generation. There is nothing to buy and nothing to install.
You’re likely aware by now that on August 26, 2021, Governor Sununu signed HB315. Under this bill, the New Hampshire legislature expanded group net metering to include qualifying renewable generators that can produce between one and five megawatts per hour, so long as they sell their output to municipal entities such as towns, cities, school districts, charter schools and counties. Utilities are forced to buy the generator’s output at the standard offer rate, which is about double what these generators were getting in the open market. To qualify for this benefit however, the generators are required to partner with a municipality (town or city), school district, charter school, county or entity that is funded by the municipality.
The net metering expansion is poised to benefit both renewable energy generators and municipal energy users alike. By pairing with a local renew- able generator, New Hampshire municipalities can realize significant energy cost savings while supporting local renewable resources. The renewable generation facility does not have to be physically located on the municipality’s premises, and if the facility was built and in service prior to January 1, 2021, can be located anywhere within the applicable utility territory.
Expanding the net metering limit to 5MW makes large scale renewable energy projects financially viable due to generous utility incentives and will create a significant injection of renewable energy into New Hampshire’s utility infrastructure, increasing system resiliency and reducing carbon emissions.
Under HB315, receiving the net metering benefits of local renewable energy projects is financially risk free. In addition, it does not require behavioral changes from municipalities. When a municipality enrolls as a member in an eligible project, it allows the renewable asset to receive standard offer payment for the generated electricity offset by the municipality, providing a significant economic boost to these projects.
Freedom Energy has partnered with local hydroelectric owner operator Central Rivers Power, giving our New Hampshire municipal, SAU, and governmental clients exclusive access to approximately 40 million kwh of eligible net metering generation and subsequent revenues. Through this partnership, Freedom will provide qualifying municipal clients with rebates of $0.005 per kilowatt hour utilized in the net metering program, providing significant annual revenues to help offset their energy costs. This partnership is poised to benefit Freedom clients and hydro generators alike, allowing existing hydro facilities to significantly increase their revenues and continue to inject clean renewable energy into the New Hampshire electric grid.
A requirement for NH utilities to file POR program proposals was tucked inside the recent statutory changes to advance CCA. Stakeholders and CCA enthusiasts eagerly await these filings, fully understanding that any delay in establishing POR programs will only serve to stall many communities from finally launching the first CCA programs in the state.