Wind and hydropower bill debated in the Massachusetts House
The Massachusetts House of Representatives has begun debating a wind and hydro power bill, which is set to pave the way for the state to sign long-term contracts to purchase more hydro and wind power offshore.
“This piece of legislation is historical,” said Thomas Golden D-Lowell, State Representative and Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Joint Committee Chairman. “The house of representatives today will set a strong, firm foundation for the growth of a fully renewable future.”
According to the bill, the long term contracts to be signed by state energy distributors and renewable energy producers is expected to increase the state’s capacity by at least 2,400 mw (1,200 mw a piece from both wind and hydropower) by 2027.
The bill spells out the terms under which the distributors are to contract producers. The contracts are expected to come into effect once bids have passed evaluation and are cost-effective and reasonable. The bill proposes that hydroelectric power could also include other sources of renewable energy such as solar energy.
Golden said that if the bill is successfully legislated, it will raise Massachusetts’ renewable electric procurement to 20%.
“This is the largest procurement of clean energy the commonwealth has ever seen,” said Golden.
Apart from providing clean and carbon-free energy, procuring offshore wind power is also expected to create new jobs for the population. A number of energy firms have expressed interest in building wind farms off Martha’s Vineyard coast.
The bill faces opposition from some legislative quarters, with some key senators saying that its drafters did not factor energy efficiency measures.
Various interest groups have also voiced their concerns about the bill. These include the Environmental League of Massachusetts and New England Power Generators Association.
Nevertheless, proponents are upbeat that this bill will see the light of day and help Massachusetts shore up its quantity of renewable energy.
Published by Green Jobs Online - 9th June 2016