Dear SAPL Members and Friends,
As the year comes to a close and we enter our 55th year of activity, we would like to give you a sense of the progress we’ve made and prospects for the new year toward a safe, sustainable energy future for the Seacoast and the state. With the pandemic and other challenges in recent years, it’s been a while since we’ve been in touch, so we appreciate your patience and support!
Though it’s been a challenging time in our history – especially on the national level! – we have seen some success in holding the Seabrook nuclear plant better accountable, as well as in pursuing the most promising alternative power source for our region – offshore wind!
The ongoing saga of Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR) problems at Seabrook, the gradual degradation of the plant’s concrete structures due to chronic exposure to groundwater, continues to threaten the future safety of the plant. A petition from our allies at C-10 Foundation to intervene in NextEra’s proposed ASR mitigation amendment to their re-licensing proposal did succeed in getting better monitoring to address ASR concerns. Unfortunately, this happened only after NextEra and NRC did an end run around the process, re-licensing Seabrook for an additional 20 years before the required ASR public hearing ever got underway!
Good News for Offshore Wind
We have continued the drumbeat for state engagement on offshore wind development, as almost every other coastal US state has already begun. Here are some key developments over the past year:
- Southern New England states have moved forward on projects south of Martha’s Vineyard that will put more energy into the New England grid than Seabrook currently provides.
- Maine recently passed legislation calling for 3000 MW in offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.
- The New Hampshire Department of Energy just got a long-awaited report, concluding that offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine could produce enough power to fully meet the needs of New England states for almost 40% of the year and that 3,600 jobs could be created in New Hampshire alone.
- For the Gulf of Maine, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has designated 3.5 million acres of “wind energy areas” to potentially lease for wind farm development next year, enough to generate 40 GW, or as much power as 32 Seabrooks! Here’s their map:
The Next Step: Helping NH Catch Up
The next step that New Hampshire needs to take down this road is to enact procurement legislation for offshore wind—something that ALL other northeast states have already done.
We have also taken the issue directly to candidates for governor at campaign stops and other public events. While Governor Sununu did respond to our public pressure early in the process by requesting an intergovernmental task force on offshore wind, he has since proved a stumbling block toward further progress on its development. Not only is Sununu not doing what’s needed to pursue offshore wind, he worked behind the scenes to scuttle efforts to get a renewable power procurement passed in a previous session, after it passed the NH Senate by an almost unheard of 23-1 margin!
And another legislative initiative in Concord would seriously weaken renewable power development while providing further undeserved subsidy to both Seabrook and possible future “mini-nukes,” or small modular reactors (SMRs). This bill would compensate them for not directly emitting CO2 – while of course ignoring routine radioactive gas emissions, as well as the ever-growing pile of highly radioactive spent fuel. We will need to keep a close eye on this bill early in the new year!
Another Bright Point
With all the bad news assailing us these days, one bright spot in the Granite State has been the development of the Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire over the past few years. This initiative allows whole towns and cities to aggregate their power customers to lower electric rates and bring more democracy to future electricity decision making. SAPL has been doing its part to promote community power, most recently supporting Barrington’s effort to join the growing list of communities throughout the state taking part in the initiative. If your town or city hasn’t yet joined, you can check out the Coalition’s informative website at www.cpcnh.org for more info and how to join!
We are also in the process of rebuilding and updating our website (saplnh.org), which has become antiquated. With your support, we hope to unveil the new improved one early next year.
We still have much to do in securing a safe and sustainable energy future for New Hampshire and neighboring states. Please help us to stay in the game—and keep promoting alternatives to continued reliance on life-threatening nuclear technology—by becoming a supporter.
We ask that you give generously to support the leading Seacoast organization working for a safe and sustainable energy future. We will continue to press these and related issues with state and local officials—but only with your generous support. Lastly, as always, SAPL is a 501(c)3 organization, so you can deduct all donations for tax purposes
Herb Moyer, SAPL President
Doug Bogen, SAPL Executive Director
Or donate by mail:
Seacoast Anti-Pollution League
PO BOX 1136
Portsmouth, NH 03802