Massachusetts energy plan includes new hydro

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has proposed a long-term energy plan to diversify and increase the state’s energy supply by developing new hydropower and wood- and wind-powered projects, and by using biofuels in state vehicles and buildings.

The governor called for support of a renewables portfolio standard that requires utilities to purchase new hydro and new biomass-fueled power. Details of what could be counted as new hydro, such as the addition of capacity to existing projects, remain to be worked out.

The plan also calls for work this fall with stakeholders to create incentives for renewable power. The state already requires retail electricity suppliers to obtain specific minimum percentages of their electricity supply from new renewable energy sources: 2.5 percent in 2006, 3 percent in 2007, 3.5 percent in 2008, and 4 percent in 2009.

The Republican governor directed state agencies Aug. 11 to begin immediate implementation of his four-step plan. In addition to the renewables provision, the plan calls for the state to: become more energy efficient; fix energy infrastructure; and develop advanced energy technologies.

Romney said he expects the steps will save residents and businesses more than $575 million over the next ten years.

The presentation outlining Romney’s plan is available on the Internet at www.mass.gov/Agov2/docs/Energy.ppt. More information about plan specifics is to be released this fall.

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