Massachusetts’ new energy diversity law includes hydropower

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed comprehensive energy diversity legislation into law, An Act Relative to Energy Diversity (H.4568), on Aug. 8.

Consistent with the Baker administration’s previously filed legislation, — An Act to Promote Energy Diversity (H.4377) — authorizing the procurement of hydropower generation, the new law requires utilities to competitively solicit and contract for about 1,200 MW of clean energy generation — base load hydropower, onshore wind and solar supported by hydropower, standalone onshore wind, solar, or other renewable resources.

An Act Relative to Energy Diversity recognizes the necessity of hydropower generation to provide reliable generation to meet Massachusetts’ energy demand and achieve the greenhouse gas emissions goals of the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires state officials to issue regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 25% below 1990 levels over the next four years.

“Massachusetts is always at the forefront of adopting innovative clean energy solutions, and this legislation will allow us to build on that legacy and embrace increased amounts of renewable energy, including hydropower,” Baker said. “With our partners in the Legislature, the Commonwealth has taken another major step towards providing residents and businesses with a cost-effective and reliable clean energy future.”

“The hydroelectric and offshore wind power generation authorized in this legislation will play a crucial role in securing clean and cost-effective energy for the Commonwealth’s ratepayers,” said Republican Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “By utilizing renewable sources of power generation, Massachusetts will continue to lead the nation in embracing economic and environmentally friendly methods to generate electricity to meet the needs of our communities.”

Baker and others also have pointed to the need to replace energy sources that are leaving the New England electrical grid, including the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth, scheduled to shut down in 2019.

Baker described the new law as a “very important and very big milestone for not just the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but for New England,” by helping ensure that the state’s future energy needs are met while also reducing its carbon footprint.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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