CONCORD — Some of the state’s biggest businesses are getting behind clean energy legislation now moving through the New Hampshire Legislature, and on Wednesday several of them urged Gov. Chris Sununu to sign a bill that would help fund large solar arrays at businesses and municipalities across the state.
Representatives from the Duprey Companies, Hypertherm and Worthen Industries were among those expressing support for a set of clean energy principles advocated by New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility.
“NHBSR is a network of nearly 200 businesses across the state committed to building a more sustainable and prosperous state for all,” said Michelle Veasey, executive director. “Increasingly our businesses are recognizing the role that policy plays in their ability to implement sustainability practices.”
About 50 businesses signed on to the five “Clean Energy Principles” advocated by NHBSR when they were first released in 2018, with more than 100 on board as of Wednesday, according to Veasey.
The principles call for investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and a shift away from fossil fuels.
Other businesses or organizations that have signed on include Autodesk, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, MegaFood, Hannaford Supermarkets, Lonza Biologics, Ski New Hampshire, Timberland and Velcro Companies.
The legislature is currently considering several bills that would support renewable energy development in the Granite State, including a proposal to allow larger net metering projects — solar arrays that enable owners to sell excess energy back into the grid (HB 365).
“The proposal to increase the net metering project cap from 1 MW to 5 MW in HB 365 would make our electric grid more stable, reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels, and would save New Hampshire businesses money,” according to one letter to lawmakers from several of the businesses.
Some members of the NHBSR have also given their support to bills that would increase the investment of proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) into energy efficiency programs and increase access to renewable energy for low-income residents.
Not all members have signed on to every piece of renewable energy legislation, but they share a common interest in the clean energy principles.
Developer Steve Duprey of Concord, a prominent figure in New Hampshire Republican politics and a Republican National Committee member, was joined by Republican state Sen. Jeb Bradley as presenters at the event.
“I think this issue is one on which there is lots of common ground between parties and people of different philosophies. I can tell you in our own businesses, major investments in clean and renewable energy have paid us huge dividends,” said Duprey.
Duprey’s properties include the Concord Comfort Inn and Grappone Conference Center as well as multiple business and residential buildings.
“There are lots of great policy debates, but we are honored to sign on to these principles and will continue our company’s effort to invest heavily in this area. It makes a difference,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we can say we left New Hampshire a better, cleaner place, which is a pretty good legacy for all of us.”