Market Update: New Hampshire Municipal Net Metering Expansion – HB 315
By Jack Martell, Renewable Program Manager
New Hampshire’s renewable net metering cap has long been a topic of contention and deliberation. Currently capped at 1MW, the state’s net metering policy has led to many iterations of proposed reform and a push to find a mechanism that allows for renewable energy expansion while also being fair and just to rate payers.
After extensive consideration, it appears that lawmakers have found a common ground that will allow for targeted expansion to municipal net metering across New Hampshire. Through HB 315, the net metering cap for NH cities and towns would be raised to 5 megawatts (MW), opening the door for significant revenue generation and renewable energy investment. This bill balances the need to fairly allocate resources to make net metering a success while avoiding significant cost shifting to rate payers.
What is net metering?
Net metering is a mechanism by which renewable energy generators sell back excess electricity to their utility grid to earn revenues. Currently, electricity generated by systems above 1MW receive wholesale remittance for their generation. This is a structure that often does not support and encourage large scale investors to build and operate in NH. In a community application, excess generation can be applied virtually to eligible community-based accounts to help them share in the revenues and support renewable energy generation in their communities.
What does this mean for my town?
HB 315 has earned overwhelming support from New Hampshire’s cities and towns, and for good reason. This bill has significant economic advantages, giving cities and towns the freedom to invest in and earn revenues from local renewable energy all while creating good paying local jobs. Towns, cities and school districts can now pair up with renewable generators located within their town lines to reduce energy costs and purchase electricity locally. Beyond that, this bill provides a clear path forward for local governments to reach or expand upon their renewable energy and sustainability goals.
HB 315 also incorporates language aimed at benefiting Community Choice Aggregation programs. It made significant improvements on a 2019 community power bill that eliminates many of the barriers that towns face, allowing cities and towns to add significant renewable energy generation into their community choice plans and reach their goals.
How Freedom can help?
Freedom Energy has significant experience assisting our clients with entering into net metering agreements here in New Hampshire. We have advised, negotiated, and helped to execute numerous virtual net metering agreements between generators and end users in the Northeast and have partners with experience building and operating renewable energy facilities. Our renewable energy advisors and management teams are prepared to assist cities, towns, and school districts in entering into the most favorable net metering agreements, and in utilizing renewable energy assets as a complement to community choice plans.
While highly supported, HB 315 has not yet passed. As of mid-June, amendments were agreed upon by lawmakers and the bill was sent to be reviewed by the Governor. Many believe this new iteration to policy strikes a great balance that the legislature and governor have been seeking. Net metering proposals haven’t had a great track record of passage here in NH, however we expect to hear positive news in the coming weeks in this instance.
Please reach out to the Freedom Energy team for more information and to schedule a call to make sure your city, town or school district is best positioned to take advantage.
About Freedom Energy Logistics: Founded in 2006, Freedom Energy Logistics is a leading energy advisory. The private company offers comprehensive energy supply management and renewable energy solutions supporting energy goals and sustainability objectives for businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Freedom’s team of energy experts has worked with and delivered energy saving, environmentally responsible solutions for some of the largest commercial and industrial companies, municipalities, universities, healthcare facilities, and businesses. With its headquarters located in Auburn, NH, Freedom Energy also has employees serving clients locally throughout the regions. Freedom Energy has been twice named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America; recognized as one of the Fastest-Growing Family Businesses in NH by Business New Hampshire Magazine. Stay Work Play’s Coolest Company for Young Professionals; and received multiple Business Excellence Awards from New Hampshire Business Review. For more information, visit www.felpower.com.