On May 11, 2010, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting in Concord, NH, in which Jack Ruderman, Director of the Sustainable Energy Division of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, Laura Richardson, ARRA Coordinator for SEP, NH Office of Energy and Planning, and Barbara Bernstein, Sustainable Energy Analyst, NH Public Utilities Commission, were accepting industry assistance in the drafting of language for a proposed Residential Central Pellet Heating System Rebate for the residents of New Hampshire.
This was a refreshing experience for several reasons. First, the New Hampshire PUC had decided to earmark a small, but meaningful, sum of ARRA money to begin to catalyze residential fuel switching in New Hampshire through incentivization of residential central pellet-fired heating systems. Their goals for the proposed plan are intelligent and forward-looking and recognize the importance of helping homeowners take advantage of locally produced heating fuel for economic, environmental, and independence reasons.
Second, the government officials sought industry advice on ensuring that the equipment to be incentivized would include equipment that would both be sufficiently automatic to satisfy American homeowners and insurance underwriters and would be sufficiently well developed to be environmentally friendly. They also understood the value of reasonable pellet storage volumes to encourage a growth in bulk pellet distribution to ultimately replicate the distribution systems which have successfully provided us with liquid fossil fuels for years.
I applaud those who have advanced the constructive, forward-looking thinking represented by this effort. New Hampshire citizens can be proud of those in their government who are pro-actively addressing energy sustainability issues.