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Report: Carbon Pricing Works for Granite State

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Wood pellets made from biomass. (New England Wood Pellet Company)
Wood pellets made from biomass. (New England Wood Pellet Company)
December 21, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. – A new business report says the Granite State has a major opportunity to accelerate the growth of clean energy and the state economy by enacting a program that charges producers of carbon dioxide.

Steven Walker is founder of the New England Wood Pellet Company, which produces fuel out of biomass. He says the Clean Power Plan gives states the flexibility to design their own carbon-pricing plan – and he has long advocated the need for a carbon price that investors can count on.

"Trying to come up with just one common denominator that we can all hang our hat on,” he states. “And that is to price carbon, instead of government picking winners and losers, which is always scary and a big risk."

The report from Business for a Healthy Climate says New Hampshire can achieve multiple goals with a carbon-pricing program, including stimulating job growth, protecting consumers from rate spikes and reducing hazardous pollutants from coal-fired power plants.

Millions of people come to New Hampshire each year to ski, but climate change is hurting that tourist trade.

Walker says during winters with low snowfall, New Hampshire experienced a 17 percent drop in skier visits, costing more than $50 million in lost revenue.

"We're also spending a lot of money on health care that is not being paid for at the meter,” he points out. “It's being paid for in our health care system, it's being paid for in insurance rates."

Walker says the state can dramatically improve its economy by pointing more investment towards renewable sources, which in many cases already provide cheaper energy.

"This then will unleash an enormous amount of innovation, which already exists in the state, and there's people ready to go,” he says. “I think you are just going to see a huge amount of money poured into our state, instead of leaving our state, to create new jobs, new companies, to make renewable energy."

The report: Carbon Pricing Works was produced by Business for a Healthy Climate, which is a project of the Wind Energy Foundation.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH