NHEC Part of New Project to Manage Energy Storage Interconnections

Energy storage technologies have a crucial role to play in enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy. Despite significant growth of the energy storage market in recent years, the process of connecting this technology to the electricity grid remains complex and unclear in many states across the U.S. A new project, supported by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, aims to simplify the interconnection process for energy storage.

The project team, led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), will identify and develop solutions to regulatory and technical barriers in the interconnection process of standalone energy storage and solar-plus-storage projects . From there, the team will create a nationally applicable toolkit of solutions that apply to diverse states and markets. Extensive training and educational outreach will drive adoption of the resulting solutions in a majority of states. Ultimately, the project aims to reduce the costs and time to process interconnection applications and interconnect energy storage and solar-plus-storage systems safely to the distribution grid.

In addition to IREC, the project team includes the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the Energy Storage Association (ESA), the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA), utilities New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Inc. (NHEC) and PacifiCorp, and law firm Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP (SMW).

“In many states, if you propose a system with solar-plus-storage, the rules about how to interconnect to the grid are not at all clear,” explained Larry Sherwood, IREC President and CEO . “That creates a lot of uncertainty for developers, which increases costs and may scare them away from certain markets. As a result, the full benefits of storage are not realized. Establishing best practices for the interconnection of storage to the grid is critical to sustaining market growth and enabling significant clean energy deployment.”

“New Hampshire Electric Cooperative is pleased to participate in the important work of this study. Electric cooperatives serve a significant segment of the American population, under sometimes difficult circumstances,” said David Erickson, NHEC Director of Access and Distributed Resources . “We see this study as helping provide the tools to the cooperative community that make the benefits of storage and solar technologies accessible and affordable to our members.”

“Standalone energy storage and solar-plus-storage systems provide significant potential for increased grid reliability and resilience,” said Arshad Mansoor, President of EPRI. “We look forward to applying our technical expertise to help address grid interconnection challenges.”

“If we’re able to more efficiently connect energy storage to the grid, costs will plummet, making solar-plus-storage systems more affordable and accessible to families and businesses,” said Justin Baca, SEIA Vice President of Markets & Research. “This project will help us speed interconnection times and make it easier to connect solar-plus-storage systems of all sizes to the grid. By 2023, nearly one in four distributed generation solar systems could be paired with energy storage.”

“Contractors and utilities all know there is a lot of growing up to do on the interconnection process for energy storage,” said Brad Heavner, CALSSA Policy Director. “We are excited to collaborate with this team to work through these complex issues and develop and share clear recommendations.”

“Developing the tools that stakeholders can use to reduce the time spent and cost incurred connecting storage projects to the grid will accelerate the safe and affordable deployment of energy storage and storage plus solar projects,” noted Marc Chupka, Vice President for Research and Programs at ESA  “We are pleased to contribute to this important project.”

To learn more about this initiative, visit https://cutt.ly/storage-interconnection or subscribe to updates at https://cutt.ly/interconnection-updates.

 

About IREC: The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) builds the foundation for rapid adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency to benefit people, the economy and our planet. IREC develops and advances the regulatory reforms, technical standards, and workforce solutions needed to enable the streamlined integration of clean, distributed energy resources. Learn more at www.irecusa.org.

NHEC Foundation Supports Communities With $54,000 in Grants

PLYMOUTH, NH – The New Hampshire Electric Co-op Foundation (NHEC Foundation) awarded 12 grants in June totaling $54,395 to organizations throughout New Hampshire.  The following organizations received grants ranging from $2,000 – $7,500.  Carroll County RSVP,  Easterseals New Hampshire, Gibson Center for Senior Services, Lakes Region Community Services, LISTEN Community Services, Local Foods Plymouth, NH Audubon, New Hampshire Public Radio, Pemi Youth Center, Reach High Scholars Program (Raymond), Squam Lakes Association, White Horse Addiction Center.

The NHEC Foundation is funded by the generosity of over 40,000 New Hampshire Electric Co-op members who participate in the Round Up Program. Participating members agree to have their monthly electric bill rounded up to the next dollar, which enables the NHEC Foundation to award quarterly grants as well as scholarships to the children of NHEC members.  To learn more about the NHEC Foundation, enroll in the Round Up Program or apply for a Foundation grant, please visit www.nhec.com/nhec-foundation.

NHEC Applies for State Funding to Expand Broadband to Members

PLYMOUTH, NH (July 8, 2020) – New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) announced today that it has applied to the State of New Hampshire for funding to expand high speed internet access to its members in Colebrook and Lempster.

NHEC is seeking funding for the two projects from the Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Expansion Program (Connecting NH Program). The Connecting NH Program is a $50 million state initiative funded through the CARES Act – Coronavirus Relief Fund aimed at expanding high speed internet access to areas of New Hampshire that do not have broadband internet service.

As part of its ongoing efforts to make affordable, reliable, high speed internet service available to all members, NHEC submitted two applications to support the construction of fiber optic networks, one in Colebrook, and the other in Lempster. NHEC’s proposal to build broadband networks in Colebrook and Lempster is contingent on receiving support from the Connecting NH Program.

In response to its members’ critical need for high speed internet service, NHEC’s Board of Directors has authorized the organization to take steps to ensure that all of its members have access to affordable, reliable, high speed internet. NHEC’s initial step towards that larger goal is to secure funding from the Connecting NH Program to support the construction of fiber optic networks in Colebrook and Lempster. These projects would provide fiber to the premises (FTTP) with internet service options with 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) symmetrical upload and download speeds to NHEC members who are currently without broadband internet in the two towns.

“NHEC is excited to support the Governor’s broadband initiative, and we are looking forward to helping the communities we serve achieve their economic potential. For the communities NHEC serves to remain vibrant, our members need to be able to fully participate in the digital economy. We believe this initiative is an important part of community building in our service territory,” said Jeff Morrill, Vice Chair of NHEC’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Co-op’s Broadband Committee.

“NHEC’s Board of Directors and the Broadband Committee have worked expeditiously to take steps to address our members’ broadband needs,” stated Tom Mongeon, Chair of NHEC’s Board of Directors. “We are hopeful as we begin our work towards the goal of ensuring all NHEC members have access to high speed internet. This work may take several years, but these applications are a start,” continued Mongeon.

New Hampshire expects to award grants from the Connecting NH Program by mid-July, and projects must be completed by December 2020. NHEC continues to pursue funding opportunities and strategic partnerships to achieve its goal of ensuring all its members have access to high speed internet.

NHEC Board Moves to Create New Broadband Entity

PLYMOUTH, NH (June 25, 2020) – Yesterday New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors voted unanimously to take the necessary steps to create a new separate entity to pursue funding opportunities and further the goal of providing high speed internet access to its members.

Creating this new entity is the next step in NHEC’s efforts to expand high speed internet access, and will allow for greater focus and speed on developing broadband opportunities. The entity will be charged with pursuing federal, state and local funding opportunities, and developing strategic partnerships with the singular goal of bringing high speed internet access to NHEC’s members.

Last week NHEC concluded its annual director election. This year NHEC members petitioned to add a ballot question adding “facilitating access to broadband internet for members” as one of the purposes for which the Co-op was formed. While the ballot question fell just short of achieving the two-thirds necessary for adoption, the strong support it received demonstrated member desire for NHEC to more aggressively pursue broadband.

The Board also agreed to fund the new entity with up to $1 million in initial capital to support the initiative, and appointed Jeff Morrill, Vice Chair of NHEC’s Board of Directors to spearhead the effort. In addition to his service with NHEC, Morrill leads business development and strategy for C Space, a Customer Agency. In this role, he helps companies find new ways to grow by collaborating with their customers. Morrill is an experienced manager with a track record of driving innovation and profitable growth at fortune 100 companies and new ventures.

“The Board heard our members clearly: they want their electric cooperative to do more to bring them broadband,” said Tom Mongeon, Chair of NHEC’s Board of Directors. “This important vote is the next step in moving forward to bring high speed internet to the communities NHEC serves. Jeff’s diverse and entrepreneurial skill set uniquely qualifies him to move this exciting initiative forward.”

Steve Camerino, president and CEO of NHEC said that “meeting our members’ needs is NHEC’s only focus, and the ability to access fast, reliable internet service is a critical need, now more than ever. In pursuing this initiative, we remain mindful that we must balance that need with our members’ reliance on NHEC as their electric service provider.”

“We have started on a journey and it will take several years to achieve our goal, but this is an important step,” said Jeff Morrill, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and leader of the effort to create the new entity. “There is a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time, deadlines for the Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Expansion Program and the Rural Digital Opportunity Funds are quickly approaching and NHEC wants to make sure our members are well positioned to access any funding opportunities.”

“We thank the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative board for responding so quickly to the crying need of its members who lack fast, reliable internet service,” said Richard Knox, spokesman for a group of NHEC members who petitioned the utility to add broadband to its stated purposes. “To have the board unanimously decide to form a broadband subsidiary – only days after the initiative garnered nearly two-thirds support in the Co-op’s annual election – speaks volumes about the viability of the cooperative model. And it couldn’t come at a more crucial time.”

About New Hampshire Electric Cooperative

NHEC is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative serving 84,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities. Headquartered in Plymouth, NH, our business is to keep, maintain and service our 5,500 miles of energized line in order to provide our members with the best possible service.

Three Members Elected to NHEC Board; Ballot Question Fails to Pass

PLYMOUTH, NH – Members of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) have elected three members to the company’s Board of Directors and did not adopt a ballot question that would have changed NHEC’s founding documents to include “facilitating access to broadband internet for members” as one of the purposes for which the Co-op was formed.

Voters elected three members to the 11-member Board of Directors. A total of five members were running for election. The three candidates elected by NHEC’s members were Madeline McElaney of Plymouth, William Darcy of Benton, and Leo Dwyer of Sandwich.

Below are the full results of the 2020 Director election.

Madeline McElaney    5,137

William Darcy             4,445

Leo Dwyer                   4,393

Harry Viens                 3,663

Mark Portu                  3,485

By a vote of 4,599 (YES) to 2,539 (NO), the ballot question to change NHEC’s Certificate of Organization did not achieve the required two-thirds approval of members voting in the 2020 election.

Notice of Meeting of NHEC Election Tellers

Meeting of NHEC Election Tellers

DATE: June 17, 2020

TIME: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. (EDT)

REGISTER HERE TO VIEW MEETING

NHEC members are invited to observe the meeting of NHEC Election Tellers to consider the disposition of any ballots received in the NHEC 2020 Election for which the intent of the voter is not clear. During the meeting, the NHEC Ballot Clerk will review all questionable ballots and determine, if possible, the intent of the voter and how the votes should be apportioned.

This meeting will be broadcast live via Zoom Webinar. NHEC members will be able to view and hear the meeting, but will not be able to interact with Election Tellers. To view the meeting, please register here. Once your registration is submitted, you will receive a link via email to the Zoom Webinar.