The Bulletin Board

State to study whether municipalities can restrict what type of fuel is used for energy

By: - July 12, 2022 11:39 am
Solar panels with wind turbines on the horizon

The report will determine if municipalities can restrict what fuels are used for energy in the pursuit of net-zero or zero emissions targets. (Xuanyu Han | Getty Images)

Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill Friday requiring the Department of Energy to complete a report on whether municipalities have the authority to restrict which fuels are used for energy.

The report will determine if municipalities can use this kind of restriction to pursue net-zero or zero emissions targets, where the amount of greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere is equal to how much is being removed. Various municipalities around the state have set net-zero targets – including Hanover, Concord, and Portsmouth – by increasing the use of renewable energy. None of these communities have banned fossil fuels in order to meet their goals.

Local governments from around the state are also pursuing clean energy goals through community power, which allows towns and cities to purchase their own power. The Public Utilities Commission has delayed proposing rules that need to be in place for local communities to move forward with their plans.  

As introduced, the Republican-sponsored bill sought to block counties and municipalities from implementing this kind of restriction and prevent local governments from pursuing such policies in order to transition away from fossil fuels. 

House Bill 1148 went into effect last Friday, and the Department of Energy is required to submit its report by June 1, 2023.

The new law follows a similar law passed last year, Senate Bill 86, prohibiting municipalities from mandating what kind of fuel residents use to heat their homes. Republicans celebrated the law as a win for consumer choice.  

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.