Former Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretaries Offer Bipartisan Support for Governor Baker’s Hydropower Legislation
BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker received bipartisan support from three former secretaries of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Maeve Vallely-Bartlett, Rick Sullivan, and Ian Bowles, for the administration’s efforts to diversify our state’s energy portfolio through the procurement of cost-effective, hydropower generation. The announcement followed a State House meeting between Governor Baker, current Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton and his predecessors to discuss the need to stabilize New England’s electricity rates, meet the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) goals and provide ratepayers with a clean, cost-competitive alternative to coal and oil generation.
“I appreciate the support from our state’s former top energy officials as our administration aims to pursue a balanced, diversified energy portfolio through the pursuit of hydroelectric power,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This endorsement is illustrative of the pressing need to address Massachusetts’ rising energy costs, increase electricity grid reliability and reduce carbon emissions to meet the Commonwealth’s energy and environmental goals.”
“I thank former Secretaries Bowles, Sullivan, and Vallely-Bartlett for their endorsement of the Baker-Polito Administration’s legislation for the procurement of hydroelectric power, which will provide needed generation capacity, while positioning the Commonwealth to achieve our Global Warming Solutions Act goals,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “As part of the administration’s balanced approach to making the necessary investments in our regional energy infrastructure, this legislation strikes an important balance between climate and environmental awareness, and the Commonwealth’s need for clean, reliable, cost-effective generation resources.”
In July, the Baker-Polito Administration filed Senate Bill 1965, An Act Relative to Energy Sector Compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act, to require Massachusetts utilities to jointly, and competitively, solicit long-term contracts for clean energy generation resources and associated transmission together with the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
In addition to the benefits this legislation will bring to the regional electricity market, clean energy generation will position Massachusetts to reach its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. A recent update to Massachusetts’ Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 concluded that the Commonwealth is well-positioned to meet, or exceed, a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 25% by 2020 through the full implementation of the Baker-Polito Administration’s energy policies which include hydropower and solar legislation.
“With many older power plants having gone, or going, off line in New England the need for clean renewable sources of power for Massachusetts is more essential than ever and I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for building on our efforts to bring hydropower to the Commonwealth,” said Maeve Vallely-Bartlett who served as Secretary from 2014-2015.
“The Commonwealth is a national leader in clean energy and has built a world class clean energy industry that is increasing homegrown energy and reducing carbon emissions,” said Rick Sullivan who served as Secretary from 2011 to 2014, and currently serves as CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council. “We must build on this success while continuing to work to reduce the high cost of energy for residents and businesses across Massachusetts. Bringing in cost-effective large scale hydro and other renewable energy resources is critical to these efforts.”
“Bringing additional hydropower to Massachusetts is vitally important to achieving our environmental objectives and curbing winter electricity prices swings,” said Ian Bowles who served as Secretary from 2007 to 2011. “I give credit to Governor Baker for pursuing a multi-pronged energy policy including hydro resources, additional wind development and continued growth in solar power and energy efficiency savings.”