House Energy Bill Bolsters Offshore Wind, But House Must Go Further to Support Renewable Energy

The Joint Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) Committee released its version of the House energy bill, H. 2881 this week. This is a step forward towards harnessing Massachusetts' abundant offshore wind energy resources. It also avoids subsidizing costly new gas pipeline capacity. However, the House should go further to promote renewable energy. The House "has dipped its toe in the water in terms of our energy future, instead of marching into the 21st century," President George Bachrach told Radio Boston this week. 

In order to create clean energy jobs and meet our state's mandatory Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) carbon pollution reduction requirements, we should be bringing online more offshore wind, more onshore wind, and more solar energy. Our message to legislators called for improving H. 2881 by taking the following steps:

  • Offshore Wind: Increase the total procurement of offshore wind to 2,000 megawatts (MW) from the 1,200 MW currently in the bill. A larger procurement will ensure offshore wind energy will increase our overall energy capacity, achieve an economy of scale that will lower costs, and create more local manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts.
  • Gas Pipeline Subsidies: The bill is silent on gas pipeline subsidies but the Legislature should act now to prevent the electric utilities from saddling customers with the costs of unnecessary gas pipeline construction in the future.
  • Renewable Portfolio Standard: Increase the requirement for our electric utilities to purchase renewable energy each year to ensure a robust market for regional renewable energy resources.
  • Hydropower & Wind: Require that a minimum share (i.e. 30%) of any new transmission line to import hydropower comes from regional renewable energy resources, such as wind from Maine and New York.
  • Solar Net Metering Cap: With the cap on solar net metering already reached in the National Grid service territory, the House must lift the net metering cap to provide certainty to the solar industry.

H. 2881 now awaits action by the House Committee on Ways and Means before moving to the full House. It is important for your Representative to hear from you on the need to improve on H. 2881 to create a truly clean energy future.