Mass. considers bill that would boost clean energy
The “Act Related to Competitively Priced Electricity in the Commonwealth” includes provisions to boost clean energy.
A bill that would increase demand for clean energy in the state and create more long-term contracts between utility companies and clean energy companies was debated by the state Senate last week.
The so-called “Act Related to Competitively Priced Electricity in the Commonwealth” (S.2200) is intended to lower electricity costs to consumers, but Peter Rothstein, president of the New England Clean Energy Council, said there are provisions which would also boost clean energy businesses in the state, particularly in the sectors of solar, wind and energy efficiency.
In an interview with Mass High Tech, Rothstein said the legislation continues the Green Communities Act of 2008, making it stronger in four or five major areas of energy policy. The 2008 bill set a minimum percentage of renewable energy that utilities must buy, called renewable portfolio standards, which increase every year. The level is around 6 to 7 percent, he said, and set to increase 1 percent every year through 2020.
“By knowing that it’s going to increase, businesses have an understanding that utilities will need to continue to buy renewable power, and that creates a market,” he said.
One provision which would directly help cleantech businesses would raise the amount of long-term contracts utilities are required to have with renewable energy companies. That, in turn, allows those companies to borrow more and expand faster, said Rothstein. Under the 2008 bill, 3 percent of renewable energy purchased must be in long-term contracts; the new bill would increase that to 7 percent.
“It’s a way to develop renewable energy at lower cost, and that’s good for everybody,” he said.
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