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Shaheen applauds NH Saves program in Exeter, touts new funding for energy efficiency

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen visited Exeter Friday to tout new federal money coming to New Hampshire for energy efficiency projects and took the opportunity to call on the state’s Public Utilities Commission to greenlight a plan for efficiency programs currently up for approval.

The town of Exeter received $200,000 from the federal Department of Energy to help install energy efficiency upgrades, like added insulation, for 100 households in local mobile home parks.

Renay Allen, who leads Exeter’s energy committee, said the program is meant to get the word out about energy efficiency in communities that have historically been underserved by those programs.

“It's an equitable distribution of resources in a way that typically a lot of people just get cut out of, because maybe they can’t put up the matching money for a grant, or they don’t have a computer so they can’t go online and sign up,” she said.

Exeter is a good place to start, Allen said, because the town has the second-highest density of mobile homes in the state. But she’s hoping the program can be used as a pilot for similar work in the future.

Speaking to utility company representatives and other energy leaders, Shaheen applauded the NH Saves program, which helps Granite Staters make their homes more energy efficient, and said state regulators should approve the 2024-2027 plan currently being reviewed.

New Hampshire’s energy efficiency programs have been the subject of controversy in recent years, with state regulators rejecting the plan submitted in 2020.

“It's the cheapest, fastest way to deal with our energy needs and we can all participate. And whether you’re from a state like Wyoming or a state like New Hampshire, everybody can benefit,” Shaheen said.

The town of Exeter will use the NH Saves program money to help with their efforts to weatherize mobile homes in the area.

The federal money for Exeter’s project comes through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which received funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The towns of Peterborough and Harrisville also won a $700,000 grant through that program, which will help replace fossil fuel heating systems with cold-climate heat pumps.