What would energy production and consumption look like in an independent state of New Hampshire?
Currently, New Hampshire residents consume around 320 trillion BTU of energy per year. The Seabrook nuclear power plant provided 59% of New Hampshire’s 2020 in-state electricity net generation, according to EIA.gov. The rest of our energy is produced via coal, gas, oil, solar, wind, hydroelectric, and possibly other forms methods. At 21 cents per kw/h, it is currently one of the most expensive states for energy. However, it is roughly average for New England. New Hampshire consumes more energy than it produces, making it a net importer of energy. Thus, some pessimists believe that independence is totally impossible for New Hampshire.
First, we must address the many reasons a rapidly growing number of Granite Staters are supporting independence from the union. We understand that we are in a brutal, abusive relationship with DC politicians, and the abuse is increasing each day and showing no signs of stopping. We have tried every manner of recourse, including voting, lawsuits, petitions, and protests. Nothing has made DC politicians stop violating our natural rights, from property rights to the right to peace, and from privacy to the right to bodily autonomy and due process. When someone is in an abusive relationship, they do not need the perfect long-term plan in order to leave their abuser. When a woman is being beaten viciously by her husband, she runs away at the first opportunity she finds. She may end up sleeping on her friend’s couch and eating junk for a week, but that is still better than being abused. When we discuss leaving the terrible relationship with DC politicians, we must not compare an independent New Hampshire to utopia. We must compare it to the status quo. And currently, we are miserable because we are forced to pay 4 trillion dollars per year in order to fund our own abuse.
Once New Hampshire declares independence from DC politicians, its people would no longer have to concern themselves with federal laws, regulations, or taxes. First, this means that each worker in New Hampshire would save around 15-30% of their income each year. This would allow them to buy the same amount of energy even if it became substantially more expensive. But it wouldn’t. It would likely become much more abundant and much cheaper. Currently, the largest hurdle to opening a new power plant is the federal regulatory burden. If you tried to open a nuclear power plant in New Hampshire right now, you would need to be in compliance with the entire massive list of regulations and fees outlined by the US ‘Nuclear Regulatory Commission’ (NRC). Some of the dozens of annual fees cost millions of dollars. But that isn’t the hard part. You would need to read the entire chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Considering that chapter 1 (nuclear energy regulations) has 199 parts, and each part contains around 35,000 words, it might literally take you a decade to read through all of the regulations. Keep in mind that the regulations carry the force of law. So, you would need to hire professionals to read it and to ensure that your plant complies with the many complicated regulations. These lawyers, compliance officers, and other experts might cost you another few million or even billion dollars annually.
The same would be true for other types of power plants. Currently, it is not possible to open a natural gas or coal power plant unless you have the tremendous capital necessary to navigate the red tape created by DC over the past century. Among other agencies, these non-nuclear power plants are currently regulated by the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This agency also has essentially infinite regulations that no one person could possibly read, comprehend, and obey. It might require several decades for one person to read the whole Title 40 of the federal regulations, which is all of the EPA’s laws. If you wish to comply with all of the EPA’s rules, you may need to hire hundreds of well-trained lawyers, compliance officers, and other experts.
Even opening a new hydroelectric power plant would be an extremely difficult task if you lived in the united states. You would need to make sure that you comply with the regulations set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Before considering opening such a plant, you should read Title 18 of the federal regulations and this 37-page document regarding its rules. You may need to hire a few dozen lawyers, compliance officers, and other experts, and you’ll probably need to keep them on your payroll permanently.
There are other forms of energy production that New Hampshire could pursue, especially if the federal government gets out of the way.
First designed in 1965, a ‘molten salt reactor’ could produce large amounts of energy in an efficient, clean, and safe way. These facilities are small, modular, and do not need to be near a water source. They also use spent fuel that would otherwise go to waste, and they produce palladium as a byproduct, and no carbon dioxide. As explained by a member of the New Hampshire House ‘Science, Technology & Energy Committee’ and the ‘NH Commission to Study Offshore Wind and Port Development’:
“MSRs are small and modular…and they are very safe. If a malfunction occurs, the molten salt hardens and contains any radiation spillage. MSR’s do not need a water source like other nuclear technology and thus can be located anywhere, much closer to transmission lines, or provide micro-grids for towns and remote rural areas…MSR’s use spent fuel that is otherwise being stored in hardened facilities at a very expensive cost to the taxpayers. We have enough spent fuel in NH to generate all of its electricity needs for more than 100 years. No mining needs to be done; the stuff is just sitting around in storage facilities…The spent fuel would not only be free, but the MSR owners might even be paid to remove the spent fuel from storage sites, getting rid of a very dangerous hazard that has thousands of years of half-life. This technology utilizes 97% of the remaining energy out of the spent fuel. It is super-efficient, unlike other nuclear technology. The resulting byproduct is valuable metals like palladium, which has a radiation half-life of about 50 years. It can be stored in a much less robust facility, and after 50 years, the precious metals are an asset that can be reclaimed.”
Without the federal government’s burdensome regulations, Granite Staters might find that opening their own nuclear power plant has become billions of dollars cheaper and years quicker. This decreased cost and increased supply of energy would dramatically reduce prices for the end consumer, which includes you and me. Add the tax savings (no more federal income taxes, federal business taxes, or any other federal taxes) into the equation, and the prospect of energy independence becomes a very simple one to understand for pro-independence New Hampshire residents.
It is certainly likely that once we cut ties to DC politicians and regulators, multiple power plants would open in New Hampshire very quickly.
While some naive detractors claim that it would be impossible for New Hampshire to receive energy from (newly) foreign nations, over $100 billion of energy flows between Canada and the union annually. Energy currently flows freely between the states of the union and Canada. There is no reason to believe that any state would sever energy lines if the people of New Hampshire were to vote to govern themselves. New Hampshire’s government would be very unlikely to do such a thing, because our legislators are sensible lawmakers and support free trade and free movement of all commodities, including energy. We acknowledge the reality that regardless of energy independence, a peak demand incident could cause us to require extra energy to satisfy our needs. Similarly, the legislators in other states and in DC would be very unlikely to sever energy ties with New Hampshire for two reasons. First, New Hampshire currently produces a substantial amount of energy, which could help other states when their demand peaks. Second, cutting ties to New Hampshire would harm those in Maine even more than those in New Hampshire. Once New Hampshire is independent, Maine will be a non-contiguous state of the union (Like Alaska and Hawaii). If DC were to sever energy ties with New Hampshire, they would also be severing ties with Maine. If Maine chose to remain in the union, it would be forced to obey federal laws, regulations, and taxes, meaning that it would be in much worse shape than New Hampshire. The people of Maine might be forced to choose between freezing to death or seceding from the union. It is extremely unlikely that DC would make a major policy decision that would be terribly unpopular, harmful to American citizens, and encourage secession.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.