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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Renewable Portfolio Standards

A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a policy designed to influence the development of renewable resources and technologies. While the specifics of an RPS vary from state to state, it generally requires electricity providers to obtain a minimum percentage of the power they supply to their customers from renewable energy resources by a certain date. Examples of renewable resources include wind, biomass, hydropower, solar, methane gas, geothermal and fuel cells.

New Hampshire’s RPS policy was signed into law in May 2007 as the Renewable Energy Act. It requires each supplier of electricity in New Hampshire (PSNH, Unitil, National Grid, NH Electric Coop) to demonstrate that they are obtaining about 25% of their electricity from renewable energy resources by the year 2025.

Benefits of Renewable Portfolio Standards include the following

  • Reduced dependence on imported fuels.
  • Increased energy security.
  • Diversification of fuel and electricity supply.
  • Protection against rising and volatile energy costs.
  • Reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • New employment and economic development opportunities.

Electricity generation and distribution is a very complicated process. Due to the nature of the power pool – also referred to as the grid or distribution system – renewable and nonrenewable power cannot be traced from specific power plants to the power pool and back out to a specific customer. In New England, including New Hampshire, renewable energy certificates (RECs) are the mechanisms used to track power generation from renewable resources. Each REC is a marketable/tradable entity that represents one megawatt hour (1,000 kWh) of power generation from a renewable energy source. To comply with an RPS, electricity suppliers must purchase RECs to meet the minimum renewable percentages required by the RPS; if not, they must pay a penalty, which ultimately becomes revenue for renewable energy power plants.

In addition to establishing minimum renewable standards, New Hampshire’s Renewable Energy Act also establishes a commission to make reports to the General Court and requires the Office of Energy and Planning to conduct a study of incentives to promote thermal renewable energy.



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