NECEC Applauds Massachusetts Senate on Passage of Energy Legislation

NECEC Applauds Massachusetts Senate on Passage of Energy Legislation

Massachusetts took an important step last week to reinforce and advance its position at the forefront of clean energy policy in the US. On Thursday, April 5, 2012, the Senate unanimously passed S2214, An Act Relative to Competitively Priced Electricity in the Commonwealth. Thanks to the leadership of Senate President Therese Murray, Senator Ben Downing, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, Senator Stephen Brewer, Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Marc Pacheco, Chair of the Global Warming and Climate Change Committee, the Massachusetts Senate acted to build on the groundbreaking Green Communities Act (GCA) of 2008, reaffirming the primacy of energy efficiency as the "first fuel" and expanding cost-effective support for renewable and clean technologies, which will lead to long term energy price stability and a more sustainable, predictable and productive regional economy.

The GCA is already delivering hundreds of millions of dollars of net benefits to Massachusetts electric and gas ratepayers through smart investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy that are reducing energy waste and diminishing reliance on imported fossil fuels while promoting job growth and other economic opportunities in the fast-growing Massachusetts clean energy sector. By 2015, Massachusetts' investment of $4 billion in efficiency and clean energy will have delivered almost $10 billion of benefits to energy consumers, a 2- 1/2 times return.

S2214 will ensure that these benefits grow and continue to accrue to Massachusetts energy consumers and that our state will increasingly be a center for innovation and an attractive place for clean energy companies to build their businesses, creating jobs and supporting economic development. Among other things, important provisions in S2214:

  • Preserve a framework that has made Massachusetts #1 in the nation for energy efficiency policy;
  • Expand net metering opportunities, providing energy users with an incentive to install renewable generation and the ability to save on their energy costs;
  • Open net metering to anaerobic digestion, a renewable technology that reduces waste going to landfills, provides local economic development and reduces greenhouse gases;
  • Extend and expand long term contracting for renewable energy, reducing financing costs to developers and thereby reducing costs to energy customers; and
  • Resolve property tax issues for solar projects, facilitating residential, commercial and industrial deployment of a technology whose costs are coming down.

The New England Clean Energy Council, its members and allies played an important role in advancing this bill by educating our legislators - and the general public - on the benefits of clean energy for Massachusetts, both now and for the long term. These efforts will continue as S2214 is taken up in the coming weeks in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. So please stay tuned....

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