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Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 8, 2013

Contact:
Communications Office
(603)271-2121

Governor Hassan Urges Connecticut Governor Malloy to Oppose Changes to Renewable Energy Policy
Changes Could Hurt NH Biomass Plants, Favor Northern Pass over Existing New England Energy Sources

CONCORD - Concerned that proposed changes to Connecticut's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) could have unintended consequences that would cost jobs and hurt consumers across New England, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan sent a letter today to Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy urging him to oppose RPS legislation being considered by the Connecticut Legislature.

The bill, which could be voted on this week by the Connecticut House of Representatives, would reclassify large-scale hydroelectric power projects such as Northern Pass – which has not yet submitted a proposal – as "renewable energy sources." At the same time, the bill would eliminate already operating small wood-fired plants as a renewable energy source under the Connecticut standards.

"For years, the New England states have worked together to ensure that our RPS policies provide appropriate incentives for renewable energy investments in our region," Governor Hassan wrote. "These incentives are aimed at keeping consumer costs as low as possible, while also ensuring that our states reap the economic benefits of renewable energy production."

"It's clear that Connecticut's proposal is designed to benefit large-scale hydroelectric projects, even from outside the United States, by enabling them to qualify for Connecticut's RPS program," Governor Hassan continued. "The regional RPS policies were carefully constructed to ensure that small-scale, local hydroelectric plants had incentives to keep operating for the benefit of the entire region. The RPS policies excluded large-scale hydro – even within the region – because these plants don't need incentives to stay in operation. To include large-scale hydroelectricity in your RPS undermines our common goal of fostering new and small-scale renewable resources here in New England."

"Many in my state believe that the impetus for Connecticut's legislation is your state's desire to benefit from the Northern Pass project," Governor Hassan wrote. "As you know, Northern Pass raises many questions for New Hampshire. That project could have an impact on some of our state's most important natural resources, such as the White Mountain National Forest, which are critical to the success of our tourism industry.

Governor Hassan also emphasized the negative impact the proposed changes would have on jobs, the environment and existing energy sources by excluding small wood-fired generating plants in New Hampshire from the Connecticut RPS.

"Including these resources offers a variety of benefits, such as the sustainable management of important forest resources across New England," Governor Hassan wrote. "This legislation could harm New Hampshire and the region's existing biomass generation, costing jobs in our region."

"In light of these important issues and our region's common renewable energy goals, I hope that you will not support the proposed changes to your RPS law. They are short-sighted, would send New England ratepayer investments out of the country, could cause environmental and economic harm, and would undermine our cooperative efforts around renewable energy policy over the last decade," Governor Hassan wrote.

Full text of Governor Hassan's letter to Governor Malloy is below.

Governor Dannel Malloy
State Capitol
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106

Dear Governor Malloy:

I write to you about a matter of great importance to both the people of New Hampshire and our entire region.

We have been following with concern legislation currently pending in your state that would make significant changes to Connecticut's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law - changes that could have unintended, but potentially serious, consequences for the region and for New Hampshire businesses.

For years, the New England states have worked together to ensure that our RPS policies provide appropriate incentives for renewable energy investments in our region. These incentives are aimed at keeping consumer costs as low as possible, while also ensuring that our states reap the economic benefits of renewable energy production.

The new legislation would exclude some small wood-fired generating plants from the Connecticut RPS, even though including these resources offers a variety of benefits, such as the sustainable management of important forest resources across New England. This legislation could harm New Hampshire and the region's existing biomass generation, costing jobs in our region.

It's clear that Connecticut's proposal is designed to benefit large-scale hydroelectric projects, even from outside the United States, by enabling them to qualify for Connecticut's RPS program. This change concerns New Hampshire for several reasons.

The regional RPS policies were carefully constructed to ensure that small-scale, local hydroelectric plants had incentives to keep operating for the benefit of the entire region. The RPS policies excluded large-scale hydro - even within the region - because these plants don't need incentives to stay in operation. To include large-scale hydroelectricity in your RPS undermines our common goal of fostering new and small-scale renewable resources here in New England.

Many in my state believe that the impetus for Connecticut's legislation is your state's desire to benefit from the Northern Pass project. As you know, Northern Pass raises many questions for New Hampshire. That project could have an impact on some of our state's most important natural resources, such as the White Mountain National Forest, which are critical to the success of our tourism industry. It is disappointing that Connecticut would make such a major change to its RPS law without taking the very real concerns New Hampshire and other states have into consideration.

In light of these important issues and our region's common renewable energy goals, I hope that you will not support the proposed changes to your RPS law. They are short-sighted, would send New England ratepayer investments out of the region, could cause environmental and economic harm, and would undermine our cooperative efforts around renewable energy policy over the last decade.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to continuing to work with Connecticut to find innovative ways to increase renewable energy investment in our region.

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan
Governor