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Unfortunate override: Biomass wins, solar loses

September 16. 2018 7:12PM

The Legislature split the difference last week in handing out corporate welfare paid for by New Hampshire ratepayers.

The House overrode Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a bill mandating costly biomass power without a vote to spare, while the boondoggle sailed through the Senate.

But the House narrowly upheld Sununu’s veto of a bill that would have extended net metering to large-scale solar projects, at the expense of residential and commercial ratepayers. Since Sununu signed a bill extending purchase power agreements with the Burgess Biopower plant in Berlin, ratepayers lost two out of three.

The Legislature took some small steps to lower New Hampshire’s high electric rates this session, but then ran backward to push subsidies for wood-burning plants. Timber harvesters make sympathetic political allies, and far too few lawmakers had the guts to say no to ratepayer-backed handouts. There is no guarantee that New Hampshire’s wood-fired power plants will be able to stay open, even with the power purchase mandates.

We expect such favoritism from Democrats, who have seen government as a spoils system since the days of Andrew Jackson. But these antics undercut Republicans’ claims to support free markets and small government.

As candidates ask for your vote, pledging to lower electric rates, remember how they voted when given the chance.

Politics Energy Editorial

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