Like many other regions of the country, New England is facing an uncertain energy future. Electricity rates have skyrocketed in recent years and businesses, homeowners, utilities and policy makers are trying to determine a way forward.
In New Hampshire, which has been particularly hard hit by rising energy prices, the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce decided that it had a key role to play as a convener for a conversation about the state’s energy future.
In particular, the chamber has been helping economic development officials explore whether Dover could become a pilot municipality for a planned commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) program, and plans to request that the state’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds be focused on clean energy.
As a first step in initiating the energy conversation, the chamber hosted a forum titled “New Hampshire’s Energy Future: Issues and Challenges, Solutions and Strategies.” Molly Hodgson, the Chamber’s Executive Director, said the event was hugely successful.
“We had a rich, robust conversation with more than 100 people and a panel with great experts,” she said. “We targeted our outreach to people in the energy space and filled the room with people we do not typically see at a Chamber event.”
Among the many outcomes, Hodgson said, were commitments by the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee to engage with the state Legislature on energy issues, especially Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funding for clean energy.
Hodgson also said that she connected an economic development official with one of the panelists, Laura Richardson, Executive Director of the Jordan Institute, to discuss if Dover could become a pilot municipality for (C-PACE).
C-PACE programs help commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners obtain affordable financing for energy upgrades to their buildings through voluntary assessments on their property bills.
“Over the last several months, we’ve learned a great deal about how our community can work together toward a goal of reliable, renewable and affordable energy,” Hodgson said. “Our chamber is committed to playing a leadership role in this critical conversation.”