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Ben Hellerstein,
Environment Massachusetts

Mass. Senate acts to double growth of clean energy

For Immediate Release

Boston – Renewable energy would grow twice as fast in Massachusetts, with offshore wind playing a significant role, under a bill approved today by the State Senate.

Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts, issued the following statement:

"We’re thrilled to see the Senate double down on clean energy. If this bill becomes law, we’ll soon see wind turbines spinning off the coast of Massachusetts. We’ll see our homes become more energy-efficient. And we’ll get more and more of the energy we use from clean, renewable, local sources.

"Today’s energy bill is a major improvement over the version passed by the House, and we hope that the final conference report will reflect the improvements made by the Senate.  We’re grateful to Senate President Rosenberg, Senator Benjamin Downing, Senator Karen Spilka, and other senators for their leadership on this bill.

"One major area not addressed in the Senate bill is the future of net metering, a critical solar energy program. To ensure that Massachusetts reaches its full potential for solar power, we must eliminate the caps on net metering and restore the full value of net metering credits for community and low-income solar. We thank Senator Jamie Eldridge and Senator Cynthia Creem for introducing amendments to expand solar power.

"Massachusetts can get 100 percent of its energy from clean, renewable sources. Once this bill becomes law, we’ll be one big step closer to achieving that goal."

The bill approved by the Senate, S.2372, would double the annual rate of increase in the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires utilities to obtain a minimum amount of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind. As a result, Massachusetts would get 39 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Additionally, the bill would require utility companies to enter into long-term contracts for 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power, a step that advocates argue is essential to jumpstart Massachusetts’ offshore wind industry.

The bill would also prohibit charging electric ratepayers for the cost of building new gas pipelines.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a different version of the energy bill earlier this month. A conference committee must reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill before it can become law.

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Environment Massachusetts is the statewide, citizen-funded advocacy group working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.