House Finance Committee voted 14-9 on Thursday to deplete the Renewable Energy Fund ( Approx. $52 million) to avert budget cuts to the NH DOT. The committee also disallowed a funding increase to the University system and cut funding for repaving projects to make up for an anticipated $88million DOT shortfall. In addition, last years 4 cent gas tax increase will go to NH DOT operations and not to municipal block grants that would be used to pave and resurface roads. There will still be a $20 million DOT shortfall which could mean less winter road maintenance. The driver for these potential shortfalls is a difference in revenue projections.
The House Finance Committee predicts revenues at about $240 million less than Governor Hassan's estimate. New revenue projections are expected next week.
So what happened to the Republican abhorrence of raiding dedicated funds? New Hampshire has over 300 of these funds with money raised specifically for the fund’s particular purpose.
In January Sen. Forrester wrote in a letter to the Laconia Daily Sun: “When the Legislature sets up dedicated funds, and when taxpayers pay fees to support those funds, they deserve to know that their money is going towards its stated purpose.”
NH enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring each supplier of electricity in New Hampshire to obtain 24% of their electricity from qualified renewable energy resources by 2025. That is the prime mover for the NH Electric Coop to build small solar arrays, including one in Moultonboro.
According to the NH Public Utilities Commission:
|The Renewable Energy Fund (REF) was created in 2007 as a component of legislation|
known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law, RSA 362:F. The
RPS law mandates that 23.8 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable
sources by 2025.
Each year electric service providers comply with the law by acquiring Renewable
Energy Certificates, or RECs, representing electricity generated from renewable sources.
The portfolio requirements are increased over time.
Electric service providers who cannot obtain sufficient quantities of RECs
for a given compliance year are required to make Alternative Compliance Payments,
or ACPs. ACPs provide the funding for the Renewable Energy Fund, the purpose
of which is to support thermal and electrical renewable energy initiatives.
Here are links to the rebate programs that were available through the fund:
Since its inception in 2009, 2049 rebates were awarded, averaging $4,808. In total,
approximately $12 million has been awarded or reserved/ in process.