RECs: Balancing Supply and Demand
New Hampshire does not have a large renewable energy infrastructure and as a result NHEC contracts for some renewable energy generation capacity that is located out of state, including two wind power projects in Maine. It is likely that to meet the 25% renewable goal additional purchases from outside the Granite State may be necessary.
What We’re Up Against
New Hampshire is not well-suited for large-scale production of solar electricity. Solar electric projects in the deserts of the Southwest and California produce hundreds of MWs and are located on several thousand acres. For instance, the Solar Star project near Rosemond, California, one of the largest solar electric generation facilities in the U.S., produces 597 MW and is situated on 3,200 acres. That amount of electric generation is several times the combined usage of the NHEC Members. NH lacks large, flat, open and mostly uninhabited lands such as in the Southwestern U.S. and here we likely won’t see large scale solar projects.
Most promising wind energy sites in northern New England are usually located far away from the nearest interconnection with the regional power grid. The cost of building power lines to connect wind power projects can be prohibitively expensive in some cases.
Also, RECs produced in New Hampshire don’t always stay here. Even though the renewable generation might be here, that doesn’t mean we get the credit. Many of the older biomass facilities located in New Hampshire also qualify as renewable resources for other New England states and often, it is to their financial advantage to export their Renewable Energy Certificates for sale in those states.
Your Co-op is actively acquiring electric generation from renewable energy resources with an aim of attaining 25% of our generation needs from renewables by the year 2025. Renewable energy is acquired from a variety of resources, including from our Members, and associated RECs are retired to ensure compliance with New Hampshire laws. When acquiring these RECs, from both within and outside of New Hampshire, the Co-op employs an approach that is both mindful of cost and yet strives to meet the Co-op’s requirements.