Patrick Administration Approves Contracts for Largest Procurement of Renewable Energy in New England by Massachusetts Utilities
BOSTON – Wednesday, February 26, 2014 – The Patrick Administration today announced the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved 12 long-term power purchase agreements for onshore wind facilities in New England, representing a total of more than 409 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power more than 122,000 homes. The weighted average price from the contracts is less than eight cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
The projects represent the largest procurement of renewable energy in New England by Massachusetts utilities, and are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6.7 million tons over the life of the contracts.
“The Patrick Administration is committed to diversifying our fuel sources with affordable, clean energy,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “These contracts will save ratepayers money and significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions from our power sector.”
The contracts, between the four Massachusetts electric distribution companies, Unitil, NSTAR Electric, National Grid and Western Massachusetts Electric Company, and three renewable energy developers, Iberdrola Renewables, Evergreen Wind II and Blue Sky West, are for three projects in New Hampshire and Maine. They are expected to become operational in 2015 or 2016 and are expected to save ratepayers approximately $853 million over their terms.
The long-term contracts are a result of the joint statewide solicitation issued by the utilities in consultation with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Today’s order concluded that the contracts met the DPU’s standard requiring low-cost and cost-effective long-term contracts, under Section 83A of the Green Communities Act, as well as the DPU’s public interest standard. The DPU’s review process included a public hearing in October 2013 and evidentiary hearings in December 2013.
The contracts represent approximately 2.5 percent of each of the utilities’ total electricity sales. They are expected to enhance reliability, ensure price stability, and help grow the clean energy sector.
“These contracts are an absolute win-win for the Commonwealth and for distribution company customers,” said DPU Chair Ann Berwick. “They help the Commonwealth meet its renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction requirements, provide a hedge against volatile natural gas prices, and reduce customers’ bills.”
The DPU determined that the utilities selected the winning bids as a result of a competitive solicitation process that was open, fair and transparent.
Massachusetts sits at the end of the energy pipeline, spending billions of dollars annually to import all of its fossil fuel based energy sources from places like South America and the Middle East. That is lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts stands poised to reclaim through investments in home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Currently, Massachusetts has 463 megawatts of solar power installed. That’s enough electricity to power more than 70,000 homes and, when compared with fossil fuel-generated electricity, the equivalent of eliminating the GHG emissions from nearly 45,000 cars per year.
There has been an increase in wind energy from 3 megawatts to 103 megawatts since 2007, enough to power more than 30,867 homes and eliminate GHG emissions from more than 21,345 cars annually.
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