Governor Baker Signs Comprehensive Energy Diversity Legislation
Reduces Ratepayer Costs, Embraces Advanced Technologies and Diversifies Energy Portfolio to Include Hydropower and Other Renewables
BOSTON – Today, in a continued effort to stabilize electric rates, ensure a diversified energy portfolio for the Commonwealth, and embrace advanced technologies, Governor Charlie Baker signed comprehensive energy diversity legislation into law at the State House with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, legislative leaders, and energy and environment stakeholders. An Act Relative to Energy Diversity (H. 4568) garnered bi-partisan support and promotes the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to reducing energy costs while strengthening the state’s clean energy economy and progressing towards Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas reduction requirements.
“Massachusetts is always at the forefront of adopting innovative clean energy solutions, and this legislation will allow us to build on that legacy and embrace increased amounts of renewable energy, including hydropower,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With our partners in the Legislature, the Commonwealth has taken another major step towards providing residents and businesses with a cost-effective and reliable clean energy future.”
“The hydroelectric and offshore wind power generation authorized in this legislation will play a crucial role in securing clean and cost-effective energy for the Commonwealth’s ratepayers,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By utilizing renewable sources of power generation, Massachusetts will continue to lead the nation in embracing economic and environmentally friendly methods to generate electricity to meet the needs of our communities.”
“The ability to procure clean hydroelectric power and off-shore wind is another important milestone in the Commonwealth’s transition to a diversified energy portfolio,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By embracing renewable energy generation technologies, the Baker-Polito Administration continues to make progress in achieving the emissions reductions targets set forth by the Global Warming Solutions Act.”
Consistent with the Baker-Polito Administration’s previously filed legislation authorizing the procurement of hydropower generation, An Act Relative to Energy Diversity (H. 4568) requires utilities to competitively solicit and contract for approximately 1,200 megawatts (MW) of clean energy generation – base load hydropower, onshore wind and solar supported by hydropower, standalone onshore wind, solar, or other Class I renewable resources. In addition to recognizing the necessity of hydropower generation to provide reliable generation to meet Massachusetts’ energy demand and achieve the greenhouse gas emissions goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the legislation signed by Governor Baker allows for the procurement of approximately 1,600MW of offshore wind. The bill spurs the development of an emerging offshore wind industry to create jobs and represent the largest commitment by any state in the nation to offshore wind.
“Massachusetts is taking yet another important step towards a clean energy economy,” said Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Chairman, State Senator Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield). “We are jump starting two industries - offshore wind & energy storage - that will shape our future, while recommitting ourselves to meeting our Global Warming Solutions Act requirements. More will need to be done, but this effort shows we are up to doing it."
“The conference report creates the pathway towards our clean energy future,” said House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Brian S. Dempsey (D-Haverhill). “By focusing on procurement this bill does the hard work of translating goals into a process that will make them a reality. The 2800MW of combined wind and hydro energy approved in the conference report will ensure that Massachusetts remains a national leader on clean energy and will help to secure a more reliable and sustainable future.”
The bill also builds on Massachusetts’ national energy efficiency leadership, providing additional support for the Commonwealth’s business community by establishing a commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. The PACE program, facilitated by MassDevelopment and the Department of Energy Resources, will enable commercial and industrial property owners across the state to finance comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades that are repaid through a property tax assessment on their building.
“This legislation is another step forward in diversifying our energy supply while moving Massachusetts towards our green energy future,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “We must continue to work together to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels while also addressing unacceptably high electricity rates.”
“With this bill, the Commonwealth has taken an important step of expanding clean energy while looking out for ratepayers,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I thank my colleagues for crafting this smart strategy that will bring stability to costs while expanding opportunities for offshore wind and hydro. I’d also like to thank the Baker Administration for its foresight in prioritizing energy legislation.”
In an effort to enhance ratepayer savings associated with the procurement of renewable energy resources, the bi-partisan legislation authorizes the use of energy storage technologies paired with renewable power generation. Advanced energy storage technologies include batteries, flywheels, thermal and compressed air technologies that allow merchants, utilities, and electricity customers to store and discharge energy as needed instead of purchasing or generating more expensive energy during times of peak demand. The legislation also directs the Department of Energy Resources to determine if energy storage goals are prudent for the Commonwealth and, if is so, to set a procurement target for 2020. Recognizing the importance that energy storage technology holds for the Commonwealth’s energy market, the Baker-Polito Administration previously announced a $10 million Energy Storage Initiative to study opportunities to support the Massachusetts energy storage market. Massachusetts is now only the third state in the nation to authorize an energy storage procurement goal.
“Energy storage technology has the potential to be a game changer for the Massachusetts energy market, further cementing our place as a national clean energy leader” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “By pairing renewable energy resources with energy storage technology, this legislation will allow the Commonwealth to lower energy costs for ratepayers, shave our peak demand energy usage, and reduce our state’s carbon emissions.”
“Today marks an historic occasion for the Commonwealth in creating a new industry via off-shore wind,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia A. Haddad (D-Somerset). “This legislation also provides us with a solid foundation from which we can further increase our renewable energy sources and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Governor Baker and Secretary Beaton have been good partners throughout the crafting of this bill and it has been a pleasure to work with them.”
“The implementation of the omnibus energy bill will help Massachusetts meet its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the expansion of clean and renewable energy resources, including hydropower and off-shore wind energy,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “As a member of the conference committee that produced the final bill, I’m pleased we were able to reach a consensus that will move the Commonwealth forward in achieving a more diversified and environmentally-friendly energy portfolio.”
“We need to make good choices now to ensure that Massachusetts has reliable energy for the future that is cost-effective and environmentally sound,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester). “This legislation builds a clear framework for sources like offshore wind and hydroelectricity to play significant roles in that future.”
“This is a monumental piece of energy legislation. This is a win for the environment, the economy and the people of the Commonwealth,” said Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Chair Thomas A. Golden, Jr., (D-Lowell) and lead negotiator on the bill. “While this is a historic moment for the Commonwealth, there is still work to be done. However, this legislation will serve as the cornerstone of our clean, renewable future.”
“I supported the passage of this energy bill because it advances offshore wind and hydropower in Massachusetts,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton). “These initiatives will begin a new phase of clean energy procurement for the Commonwealth. Although this legislation is a good beginning, we have quite a long way to go to meet the requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act and ensure a clean energy future for our state.”