The RPC region and the state’s response to energy, climate change, and the area’s economic future are inextricably linked. As a result of this interaction, energy consumption and climate change share common ground with respect to the actions that can address not only their impacts but their benefits and possible opportunities. The most effective actions include energy efficiency and conservation, which reduce the amount of energy consumed, while renewable energy eliminates emissions and shifts the source of the energy to local and domestic sources. Locally produced energy creates jobs and keeps dollars in the state economy.
"While expanded energy efficiency will reduce total energy demand and emissions, further emission reductions can be achieved as New Hampshire meets an increasing portion of its total energy demand by developing renewable and low- CO2 emitting energy resources." - NH Climate Action Plan (2009)
All citizens in New Hampshire depend on reliable energy to carry out their work and conduct their lives. As a result of this need, 10 to 50 percent of the income of many New Hampshire households goes to paying energy bills, and energy is a significant expense for businesses, industries, and government. As energy costs rise, the region can strengthen its economy and preserve the environment by focusing on energy conservation and efficiency, making the best use of our region’s renewable resources, and implementing sustainable land use and resource conservation practices.
In order to preserve the region’s quality of life, it is important to understand and plan for future energy use, recognizing that rising energy costs influence municipal budgets, and local and regional economies. Dependence on energy sourced from outside the state affects the region’s energy security. Use of carbon based energy sources can adversely influence climate, air quality, water quality, ecosystems, and public health. New Hampshire as a state is heavily dependent on the use of petroleum, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy to generate electricity, heat our homes and businesses, and fuel our vehicles. Much of this energy is imported from outside the state. According to the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, 89 percent of our gross energy inputs came from non-renewable sources. Because New Hampshire lacks fossil fuel and nuclear material resources, most of the money to purchase energy leaves the state and the country.
Statewide climate change mitigation efforts (greenhouse gas reductions) are focused on the sources of energy we use, how we produce energy, how much energy we use and for what purpose. Future economic growth in New Hampshire – paired with climate change mitigation and adaptation actions - will depend on how quickly we transition to a far more diversified energy portfolio, more efficient use of energy and development of our communities in ways that strengthen neighborhoods and urban centers, preserve rural areas, and retain New Hampshire’s quality of life.
Statewide planning efforts in climate change and energy serve as guides for all regions of the state to work toward a more resilient and secure energy future. The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan (2009) and State Energy Strategy (2014) contain recommendations that have the potential to guide collaborative efforts across the state toward common goals.