Offshore Wind Law Change Could Promote More Local Economic Development

           RENEW supports the Massachusetts legislature taking action in the current budget debate to eliminate the requirement in Section 83C of the Energy Diversity Act that the price in subsequent procurements of offshore wind be lower than the cost of offshore wind generation procured under any prior solicitation. As the first Section 83C winning price was super low, the declining price requirement has proven to be unnecessary to protect the interests of consumers. The use of competitive long-term contracting for offshore wind has been a success for attaining low prices.

            RENEW is in favor of amending Section 83C so that the Department of Energy Resources is directed to take a comprehensive view of bids to allow for increased economic development opportunities in the Commonwealth from offshore wind generation. The current schedule for the next offshore wind solicitation, which contemplates bids being due by August 9, 2019, does not provide any flexibility for this change to follow the normal legislative process.

Renewable Energy Developers Place Massive $400 Million Down Payment on Offshore Wind for New England

RENEW Northeast congratulates the renewable energy companies that today secured leases from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for development of offshore wind generation off southern New England. The three leases are for 390,000 acres of ocean surface that would be shared with boaters, the fishing industry and all those who currently enjoy use of our waters.  “Today’s enormous investment of private capital demonstrates how offshore wind can provide energy on the scale needed to address winter energy reliability needs and reduce carbon emissions while creating thousands of high paying jobs,” said Francis Pullaro, Executive Director of RENEW Northeast.

This lease auction builds on recent competitively awarded contacts for 1,400 megawatts of offshore wind energy by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Those solicitations showed that offshore wind can provide renewable energy at a highly competitive price while meeting the environmental goals of the New England states.

Today’s private investment in offshore wind casts further doubt on the wisdom of Massachusetts continuing to pursue a contract with Hydro-Quebec that will cost its electricity customers $500 million annually for 20 years, instead of investing that money in local wind and solar energy projects that provide direct benefits to our communities.  “Despite the high cost of this imported electricity, it would only deliver power from old resources that Quebec is already selling to its other neighbors and that need no further support from Massachusetts ratepayers,” Francis Pullaro noted.

RENEW Northeast is a non-profit association uniting the renewable energy industry and environmental advocates whose mission involves coordinating the ideas and resources of its members with the goal of increasing environmentally sustainable energy generation in the Northeast from the region’s abundant, indigenous renewable resources.

RENEW Testifies at Connecticut Legislature for Changing Law Harmful to Utility-Scale Solar

RENEW Northeast submitted testimony to the Connecticut legislature’s environmental committee in favor of amending a law passed last year that is having a chilling effect on developers seeking new sites for utility-scale solar projects in Connecticut. Under the law, the Department of Agriculture is able to force a utility-scale solar energy project into the more expensive and lengthy Siting Council permit process designed for the evaluation of large (over 65 megawatts) fossil-fueled plants. To achieve Connecticut’s environmental, renewable and economic development goals, a solar energy project should not face a riskier and costlier permitting process compared to smaller projects (65 megawatts or less) to be fueled by natural gas or oil, or a permanent housing or commercial development.

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Massachusetts Affirms Mistake to Make Ratepayers Subsidize Foreign Power Plants

Misses Opportunity to Invest in New, Clean Energy –

RENEW is disappointed today that Massachusetts chose to affirm its decision to sign a long-term contract for existing provincially owned power in Quebec. The failure of Northern Pass provided a chance to revisit that first choice by considering whether it would have been better to have purchased energy from all-new wind and solar resources. Instead, Massachusetts has chosen to keep the Northern Pass Project bid alive and add a back-up proposal for transmission to Quebec in case negotiations with the Northern Pass Project are unsuccessful.

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Massachusetts Senate Bill to Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions Will Lead to the Development of Affordable, Renewable Energy and Add Jobs to the Clean Economy

RENEW Northeast praises Chairman Pacheco, Vice-Chairman Eldridge and the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change for releasing today visionary legislation to advance a significant deployment of new renewable energy sources. The bill’s acceleration of the annual growth rate in the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)- the amount of renewable energy utilities and retail suppliers must provide to their customers- from the current 1 percent per year to 3 percent per year will spark a revolution in displacing the region’s greenhouse gas emitting generation with emissions-free resources.

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New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee Prudently Rejects Northern Pass, Breathes New Life into Renewable Energy Proposals for New England

RENEW Northeast commends today’s decision of the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee to deny the application of the Northern Pass transmission line.  This project and the associated energy from Hydro-Quebec, as the winning bidders out of last week’s Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP, would have cost Massachusetts ratepayers $500 million annually for 20 years.  Despite this high cost, it would only bring energy from old generation rather than from new renewable resources that can enable Massachusetts to achieve its required greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

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Why Utility-Scale Solar Works for Connecticut

Connecticut has some of the highest electricity rates in the nation, and in January they will increase even further.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will soon release the final version of its three-year Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which aims to create a cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy future for our state’s residents and businesses.

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Rhode Island Rate Hike Due to New Fossil Fueled Generation Not Public Policies

In a Providence Journal op-ed, RENEW Northeast and the Rhode Island chapter of the Sierra Club explained how National Grid’s rate increase was caused by the retirement of one old dirty plant, driving up consumer prices to pay for new dirty plants. We urged that instead of continuing to rely on these dirty plants and the volatility of imported fossil fuels, we should invest in New England communities, more jobs, and long-term price stability through clean energy, such as wind and solar.

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Connecticut Law Could Curb Solar Development

The Connecticut General Assembly has enacted Senate Bill No. 943, “An Act Concerning the Installation of Certain Solar Facilities on Productive Farmlands” that singles out the least-cost form of solar development by imposing a permitting process established for large-scale fossil fueled power plants. As RENEW explained in a recent op-ed, this bill penalizing solar development placed on farmland will jeopardize past and future energy solicitations intended to bring clean energy, low electricity prices, economic development and sound environmental policy to the state.

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