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.

Northern Pass and the associated energy from Hydro-Quebec will cost Massachusetts ratepayers $500 million annually for 20 years according to reports in the Quebec press.  “Despite this high cost, it would only secure energy from existing sources already being sold in Quebec and to its neighbors that need no support from Massachusetts ratepayers. By contrast, new renewable resources can enable Massachusetts to achieve its required greenhouse gas emissions reductions by adding emissions-free energy to the power grid,” said Francis Pullaro, Executive Director of RENEW Northeast.

Massachusetts solicitations for renewable energy since 2010 have fostered strong interest by wind and solar developers in building new projects in New England. This solicitation- the largest Massachusetts one to date- attracted almost 7,000 megawatts of new wind and solar. That’s more than double the amount sought. The opportunity to meet Massachusetts clean energy needs is here for Massachusetts to seize. Regional competitive clean energy solicitations in past years have revealed large-scale wind and solar developers are providing renewable energy at prices that compare favorably to the projected long-term market prices of power and the cost to meet the Massachusetts environmental requirements.

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