BY: Citizens Count
On Tuesday House and Senate budget negotiators agreed to use $1.8 million from the Renewable Energy Fund for homeland security.
Electricity providers pay into the Renewable Energy Fund when they do not buy enough electricity from renewable sources, according to New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The Renewable Energy Fund is intended to finance grants and rebates for individuals and businesses working on renewable energy projects.
Budget writers argue that using the Fund for homeland security is appropriate, because homeland security protects the state’s utilities from attack or natural disaster. By using the Renewable Energy Fund for homeland security, the state can also avoid any new taxes or fees.
On the other hand, opponents argue that the Renewable Energy Fund was not created to pay for power plant security. The New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes renewable energy, has not ruled out a lawsuit if the state “raids” the Renewable Energy Fund.