New Hampshire State Energy Profile
RESOURCES AND CONSUMPTION
New Hampshire has no fossil fuel reserves but has substantial renewable energy potential. The Appalachian Mountains, which cover much of western New Hampshire, offer wind power potential, and several waterways, including the Connecticut and Merrimack river basins, are hydroelectric power resources. In addition, dense forests in northern and southern New Hampshire offer potential fuel wood for electricity generation. New Hampshire is not an energy-intensive state; both total energy consumption and per capita energy consumption are among the lowest in the nation. The transportation and residential sectors are New Hampshire’s largest energy consumers.
Portsmouth, on New Hampshire’s Atlantic coast, receives petroleum product shipments from other states and from abroad. Residential per capita petroleum consumption is high in New Hampshire due to widespread use of fuel oil for home heating during the long, cold winters. New Hampshire households are among the most petroleum-dependent in the Nation, as more than one-half of New Hampshire homes use fuel oil as their primary energy source for home heating. The state requires reformulated motor gasoline blended with ethanol in the populated areas in southeastern New Hampshire.
New Hampshire, along with much of the U.S. Northeast, is vulnerable to distillate fuel oil shortages and price spikes during the winter months. In January and February 2000, distillate fuel oil prices rose sharply when extreme winter weather increased demand unexpectedly and hindered the arrival of new supply, as frozen rivers and high winds slowed the docking and unloading of barges and tankers. In July 2000, in order to reduce the risk of future shortages, the president directed the U.S. Department of Energy to establish the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve. The reserve gives Northeast consumers adequate supplies for about 10 days, the time required for ships to carry heating oil from the Gulf of Mexico to New York Harbor. The reserve's storage terminals are located in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and Groton and New Haven, Connecticut.
Although New Hampshire’s total natural gas consumption is low compared to other states, demand has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly for use in electricity generation. The majority of the gas is supplied by pipelines entering the state from Maine and Canada. New Hampshire ships about one-half of the natural gas it receives to Massachusetts.
COAL, ELECTRICITY, AND RENEWABLES
New Hampshire’s net electricity generation is among the lowest in the nation. Before 2003, the Seabrook nuclear power plant near Portsmouth provided more than one-half of state generation. Since then, however, that dominance has slipped as two new natural gas-fired power plants have come online. As in other New England states, the growing use of natural gas in New Hampshire’s power industry has been driven by natural gas’s lower emission levels compared with other fossil fuels and the ease of siting new natural gas-fired power plants. Natural gas-fired generation now accounts for about one-quarter of the state’s power production. New Hampshire’s residential electricity use is low compared with the national average, in part because demand for air-conditioning is low during the generally mild summer months and because few households use electricity as their primary energy source for home heating.
New Hampshire also produces electricity from renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric power, fuel wood, landfill gas, and municipal solid waste. Ten percent of New Hampshire’s electricity generation is derived from these renewable sources. In May 2007, New Hampshire adopted a renewable portfolio standard that requires 25 percent of the state’s electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2025.