This region can lead in making energy affordable

This region can lead in making energy affordable, clean, by Jim Beard
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2016 8:00 am

I have spent the past several months going door to door, talking with New Hampshire voters throughout state Senate District 8. As a Republican candidate for this seat, I have discussed my vision to bolster vocational training, lower business taxes, develop a smart energy plan and address the opioid crisis. Listening to my fellow Granite Staters, one thing is clear — a united desire to keep New Hampshire’s high standard of living intact for future generations.

In order to strike the right balance — to maintain our quality of life — I believe our state needs a real energy plan. We need to find responsible energy projects that respect our property rights, preserve our brilliant environment and also help to lower the cost of energy for our citizens and businesses. This is an area where I feel our region is uniquely positioned to serve as a model for the entire state and I can’t help but have an optimistic view of New Hampshire’s energy future based on what is occurring right here, right now in the greater Monadnock Region.

There are several renewable energy projects at various stages of development that demonstrate how we can harness local power while preserving and protecting our enviable natural resources. I live in Lempster, where I serve as the chairman of the conservation committee, and in my town we have 12 wind turbines that have been harnessing clean power since 2008. As I knock on doors in the town of Antrim to introduce myself to voters, folks want to talk to me about the proposed Antrim wind project currently before the state Site Evaluation Committee. Walden Green Energy has proposed building a 28-megawatt wind farm that will generate enough clean electricity to power 12,000 New England homes — in fact, a power purchase agreement with N.H. Electric Co-op will keep much of that power within our state. Additionally, if this project is approved, 908 contiguous acres in Antrim will be permanently conserved.

The Sentinel recently stated, in an editorial citing the proposed utility scale solar project in Fitzwilliam, “As technology advances, solar, wind and hydropower will become stronger solutions. But they can be a bigger part of the puzzle now. We’re hopeful more such projects will move forward.”

I agree and feel optimistic thanks to solutions-based pragmatism that has been mirrored at the federal level thanks to the leadership of our own U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte collaborating on bills such as the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act and fighting to protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

As Sen. Ayotte has said, “We don’t need to be the tailpipe for the Midwest’s power plant; we can use our best technology that we have available to make sure we protect New Hampshire’s environment. There is technology that exists that allows us to be better than we are so we should be embracing it any time we can.”

In the New Hampshire state Senate, I will fight for an energy future that lowers electric costs for Granite Staters while at the same time protecting the natural resources that help make our state so special.
JIM BEARD
Note: This writer is a Republican candidate for state Senate in District 8, which