Massachusetts Completes a Last Second Hail Mary

Renewable Energy beats the clock in the Bay State

Tom Brady may be currently suspended, but last second comebacks are still going on in Boston. Late last night, a landmark energy deal was struck in the Massachusetts State House as a midnight deadline approached for the Legislature to end formal sessions for the year. This bill calls for a dramatic increase in the state’s reliance on offshore wind power and other renewable energy sources and would require utilities to solicit long-term contracts with offshore wind farm developers with the goal of generating at least 1,600 megawatts of wind power in the next 10 years.

How many homes will 1,600 MW’s power? Well since just 1 MW can power up to 1,000 homes, this deal will power up to 1.6 million homes! According to the Census Bureau, there are 2,538,485 households in Massachusetts.

This bill also almost cements DONG Energy Wind Power’s plan for its 1GW Bay State Wind Farm in the Atlantic Ocean.  The widely publicized wind farm 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard was approved by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) last year. This project is DONG Energy’s first foray into the North American market.

Fast Facts About The Bay State Win Farm Project:

The Bay State Wind Farm alone will result in 62.5% of the 1,600 Megawatt goal since 1GW equals 1,000 MW.

It will deliver enough electricity to power more than 500,000 Massachusetts homes

It will create around 1,000 jobs during construction as well as 100 jobs to operate the facility.

DONG Energy Marthas Vineyard

UCS Chime in Big Time

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the bill will result in 40% of the state’s electricity coming from hydropower, wind, and other sources by 2030, positioning Massachusetts once again as a clean energy leader.

Following the passage of the bill, Ken Kimmell, president of the UCS, stated,

“This legislation puts Massachusetts back in the top tier of states driving clean energy development. The Bay State is blazing a trail here by developing solutions to avoid over-relying on natural gas as coal plants in the region close. This bill provides a blueprint for diversifying electricity sources, cutting pollution, stabilizing electricity prices, and boosting the state economy. The legislation will help Massachusetts, and the region, deploy offshore and onshore wind, hydropower, and other solutions at a large scale. This will have a significantly positive effect on the state’s economy in many ways.”

John Rogers, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, had this to say about last night’s events,

“This is a really important piece of legislation. Long-term contracts between utilities and renewable energy developers will help unlock a huge amount of clean energy resources for the state. That includes wind farms in New England that have for a long time offered the promise of low-cost, carbon-free power, but that we haven’t been able to tap because of challenges in getting the power to where we need it. This bill also shows that we’re serious about making offshore wind a reality for the region and the country—with Massachusetts at the center of the U.S. offshore wind revolution.

What else is in (or not) the bill?

The bill encourage’s the purchase of Canadian hydropower and other forms of clean energy.

More aggressive wind energy quotas that were pushed by many lawmakers.

The bill did not include a Senate-passed provision that would bar electric companies from passing on to ratepayers the costs associated with the construction of new pipelines that carry natural gas into the region.

This May Be Just The Beginning

Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg called the bill a “step forward” but not a “leap forward,” and promised the Senate would revisit energy issues during the next two-year session starting in January.

The bill was a well known top priority for Republican Gov. Charlie Baker (pictured) and Democratic legislative leaders who still believe that there is A LOT more work to be done in Massachusetts.

It’s not often we praise politicians in the renewable energy sector, but it seems they had their brains put on straight last night. Kudos to the politicians in the Commonwealth. Keep up the good work.

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