Article

Clean energy bill unveiled

Massachusetts would meet at least 20 percent of its energy needs by 2020 with renewable energy such as wind, hydroelectric and solar under sweeping legislation proposed Thursday by House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. Rep. DiMasi was joined by Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Senate leaders as he rolled out the legislation, which is expected to be approved by the House next Thursday. The bill, which was subject to negotiations for 11 months, would require the state to increase its use of renewable energy by five times what it is now.

Massachusetts would meet at least 20 percent of its energy needs by 2020 with renewable energy such as wind, hydroelectric and solar under sweeping legislation proposed Thursday by House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.

Rep. DiMasi was joined by Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Senate leaders as he rolled out the legislation, which is expected to be approved by the House next Thursday.

The bill, which was subject to negotiations for 11 months, would require the state to increase its use of renewable energy by five times what it is now.

"This is a comprehensive plan that will result in energy conservation and efficiency, as well as creating new, alternative sources that are clean and renewable," Speaker DiMasi said at a press conference in the House members' lounge. "We are today embarking on a new era of energy reform that is bold and innovative and will forever change how we purchase and use and create our energy here in Massachusetts."

Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, also supports the bill. With formal sessions ending for the year in less than two weeks, she predicted the Senate would take it up in January.

Sen. Murray said... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Massachusetts would meet at least 20 percent of its energy needs by 2020 with renewable energy such as wind, hydroelectric and solar under sweeping legislation proposed Thursday by House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.

Rep. DiMasi was joined by Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Senate leaders as he rolled out the legislation, which is expected to be approved by the House next Thursday.

The bill, which was subject to negotiations for 11 months, would require the state to increase its use of renewable energy by five times what it is now.

"This is a comprehensive plan that will result in energy conservation and efficiency, as well as creating new, alternative sources that are clean and renewable," Speaker DiMasi said at a press conference in the House members' lounge. "We are today embarking on a new era of energy reform that is bold and innovative and will forever change how we purchase and use and create our energy here in Massachusetts."

Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, also supports the bill. With formal sessions ending for the year in less than two weeks, she predicted the Senate would take it up in January.

Sen. Murray said she liked a section of the bill that allows the Department of Public Utilities to periodically audit utility companies.

"I think it's a great bill," Sen. Murray said in an interview. "The renewables and the oversight and the auditing of utilities, I think that's extremely important. I think some of the utilities haven't been audited in twenty-something years. We should know where the money is going, particularly the money they collect for energy efficiency and where that has gone and how it is spent."

The bill would provide a market for energy sources like wind power by requiring utilities to enter into long-term, 10- or 15-year contracts for renewable energy. Currently, utilities can sign one-year contracts.

Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for Cape Wind, said the developers of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm were still studying the bill.

The bill also would offer consumers a $2,000 state income tax deduction for the purchase of a hybrid or alternative-fuel car. Businesses would get a tax credit of up to $300 to buy a solar water-heating system.

The state would be required to "lead by example" and eventually replace its older vehicles with more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

And consumers could request low-interest loans from a $5 million fund to make their homes more energy efficient.

Rep. DiMasi filed an initial version of the bill in March, only to see it picked apart inside and outside government. He withdrew a proposed major reorganization on energy regulation, deferring to the Patrick administration.

Gov. Patrick called the bill the result of a "collaborative process." He said it extends the commitment of state leaders to meet all future electricity demand through efficiency, rather than through power generation, within three years.

Sen. Murray said consumers and businesses would get financial incentives to conserve electricity. One provision in the bill would allow consumers to buy energy-saving products through their utilities at no up-front cost. They would then pay off the cost on their utility bill.

Murray predicted the legislation would leave the state with far less electricity demand. If the state did need new sources of power, she predicted they would come from smaller and cleaner power plants.

The legislation is supported by a broad range of environmental and business groups, including the Conservation Law Foundation, Environment Massachusetts, NStar and Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

"We look forward to working with the speaker and the Senate president to see this bill become law," said Richard Lord, the CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

 


Source: http://www.southcoasttoday....

NOV 9 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/11840-clean-energy-bill-unveiled
back to top