New England governors meet to discuss energy issues

Source: By DAVE SOLOMON, New Hampshire Union Leader • Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Five of the six New England governors will gather in Connecticut on Thursday at the invitation of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for an energy summit designed to address the region’s high electricity prices.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is sending Meredith Hatfield, director of the Governor’s Office of Energy and Planning; and Public Utilities Commissioner Robert Scott, to represent the Granite State.

Hassan will be attending memorial services for two-term Rockingham County Sheriff Mike Downing, who died Friday of cancer at the age of 60. Before being elected sheriff, Downing served two terms in the state Senate and three terms in the House.

The governors will meet at the Connecticut Convention Center for a private roundtable organized by the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), chaired by Malloy.

“The cost of energy in our region is a major issue that our states need to address in a collaborative way,” Malloy said. “At this meeting, the governors will renew and strengthen our commitment to working together to put solutions to this challenge in place.”

The agenda includes the lack of pipeline capacity to bring natural gas to power plants, growing concerns about reliability, and the challenge of integrating power from renewable energy sources into the grid, Malloy said.

In addition to Malloy, attendees include Gov. Paul R. LePage of Maine, Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo of Rhode Island, and Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont.

The region’s governors first outlined a strategy for regional energy cooperation in a joint statement issued in December of 2013, calling for a ratepayer funded expansion of natural gas pipeline capacity and new transmission systems.

The governors’ private meeting will be preceded by a public session at the convention center from 8:15 to 10 a.m., titled a “Northeast Regional Energy Forum.”

The forum will begin with a panel discussion featuring Richard Levitan, president and principal of Levitan and Associates, a Boston-based management consulting firm specializing in the energy industry; Gordon van Welie, president and chief executive officer of ISO New England; and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz.

A second panel will feature state energy officials who will discuss state initiatives and regional collaboration that is already underway. That session will stream live online via the Connecticut Network at

“Governor Hassan and state energy officials will continue to work with our regional partners to pursue energy projects that will reduce energy costs and provide real benefits to New Hampshire’s ratepayers, while also protecting our natural resources, meeting siting requirements, and incorporating the views of communities,” said Hassan’s spokesperson William Hinkle in a statement on her behalf.

“She will continue to work to protect the interests of New Hampshire and ensure that our regional partners understand that Granite Staters will have a voice on proposed projects that wish to be sited in our state.”

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