Articles filed under Energy Policy from Massachusetts
Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program. Patrick agreed to rejoin the seven-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which aims to gradually reduce the production of greenhouse gases in the Northeast. Reversing his predecessor Mitt Romney, who pulled out of the pact over concerns that the emissions fee would drive up the already-high price of electricity, Patrick predicted that electricity costs would ultimately drop because the penalties would generate up to $125 million a year to spend on conservation.
Deep-water wind farms will top the agenda when U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., leads a congressional delegation to Germany this spring. The trip will involve discussions of a variety of energy issues, said Delahunt, chairman of the bipartisan study group that includes current and former members of Congress. But of particular interest to Delahunt, who represents Cape Cod and the Islands, are German renewable energy companies - including one involved in building a test deep-water wind farm off the German coast in the North Sea. Some of the companies in this project ‘’are beginning to talk about a need for American subsidiaries,'’ Delahunt said. ‘’What better place than Massachusetts for this kind of foreign investment? Wind is to the Northeast, what oil is to Saudi Arabia,'’ he said.
“The governor’s goal is to unify the energy and environmental objectives,” Mr. Bowles said, acknowledging that energy development has traditionally been viewed as inherently threatening to the environment. Massachusetts, he said, may be in a unique position to develop an alternative energy industry because of the availability of venture capital, the brain trust of the state’s engineering and technical universities, and a talented work force. Mr. Patrick, who has said he believes clean energy advancements could make the world the state’s customer, has in Mr. Bowles someone who has bought into that concept. “Clean energy can be a real economic development opportunity for our state,” he said, and part of his job will be encouraging wind farms, solar companies, fuel cell technology and advanced energy conservation programs.
A string of legislation being introduced in the new legislature could impact Cape-wide efforts to protect the environment and promote the development and use of clean energy. The bills mirror a stated commitment by Gov. Deval Patrick to place the environment and energy as a top priority for the new administration.
In a letter to Governor-elect Deval Patrick, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has outlined a five-point energy plan for the state. The first of those five points is the selection of an alternative site for Cape Wind Associates’ proposal to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.
Gov.-elect Deval Patrick yesterday appointed cabinet chiefs on the environment and economy who now face the the tall order of keeping his campaign promises to make housing more affordable and realign state policy toward wind power and other sources of renewable energy. But political opponents wasted no time yesterday pouncing on the choice of Mass Inc. president Ian Bowles for secretary of energy and environmental affairs, labeling him an insider who will seek to satisfy the state’s environmental lobby.
The state is looking to spend tens of millions of dollars to build giant wind turbines on the grounds of prisons, mental hospitals, community colleges and other public agencies as a way to save money and promote clean energy. Officials have already made site visits to determine the feasibility of turbines generating electricity at state facilities that consume a lot of energy, said John Chapman, assistant secretary of economic development within the Romney administration.
Gov.-elect Deval Patrick said Wednesday he wants to put greater emphasis on the state’s future energy needs and will create a new cabinet level energy secretary after he takes office in January. Patrick’s comments come as House Speaker Sal DiMasi, D-Boston, unveiled his own energy plans for the new legislative year. DiMasi’s plan includes setting a five-year energy reduction goal, creating a “green communities program” to encourage energy efficiency and giving $1,500 credits for taxpayers who buy hybrid or alternative fuel cars.
Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi will propose today the overhauling of key pieces of the state’s energy policy to reduce electricity demand and push communities to develop more energy-efficient and green projects, such as wind turbines.
It was one of Deval L. Patrick’s more memorable claims during his campaign: If the state could develop new industries based around advances in alternative energy, “the whole world would be our customer.” Now as he structures a new administration and its agenda before taking office next month, the governor-elect is facing the task of translating his big idea into green kilowatts and jobs, turning energy crises into economic opportunity.
Audra Parker, director of strategic planning of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said the controversy surrounding Cape Wind "shows that public involvement in siting is essential." In the absence of that, Parker said, sites are chosen by developers motivated solely by profit. Parker said the Alliance suggests four recommendations to Patrick -- take a closer look at alternative sites for Cape Wind, establish publicly-owned renewable energy projects, designate certain areas off-limits to offshore wind turbines and aggressively pursue deep-water projects.
Although the approach is too late for projects that have already begun a federal review process, a dozen New England congressmen and senators have asked for help from the Department of Energy in coordinating a regional approach to siting liquefied natural gas facilities. Reps. Tom Allen and Mike Michaud have both signed on to this request, which makes sense for future energy projects.
Gov.-elect Deval Patrick’s working group on Energy and the Environment heard an eclectic mix of concerns at Northeastern University last night, from support for Cape Wind to calls for more money for state environmental programs. The ideas on energy policy ranged from the profound - vastly curbing greenhouse gases - to the offbeat: a Cambridge bicyclist proudly displayed the solar-powered lamp he designed for his backpack.
Susan Nickerson, the executive director of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, will serve on the working group for the Energy and the Environment. Transportation working group members include Dan Wolf, the president and CEO of Cape Air, and Margo Fenn, the executive director of the Cape Cod Commission. Wendy Northcross, the CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, is on the Creative Economy working group.
Vinick said Patrick’s victory in the governor’s race was no more about the wind farm than was the re-election of Edward Kennedy, an ardent wind farm foe, to the U.S. Senate. He also added that, while the state does have a role to play in the project, the Minerals Management Service, a federal agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, leads the review process.
No Cape and Islands subject has impacted the governor’s race like the controversial proposal by Cape Wind to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.
New England will need to add power plants capable of generating 4,300 megawatts, and $3.4 billion of additional transmission investment, by 2015 to avoid blackouts, the region’s grid operator says. The area will need 170 megawatts of new power before the summer of 2009 to assure adequate supplies, according to ISO New England Inc., the power grid and wholesale market operator that serves the region’s 14 million people........ If a 1,000 megawatt coal or nuclear power plant had been installed in 2005, buyers in the wholesale market would have saved $600 million in power costs, the report said.
Massachusetts is joining a race against other U.S. states for wind power development funding to build infrastructure necessary to keep innovation here, and reverse a track record of letting wind technologies drift out to the Midwest. In addition to playing catch-up, Massachusetts officials face roadblocks including coastal Cape residents who vocally oppose windmills messing up the Atlantic horizon, lack of industry presence, and a lack of infrastructure to support development. There’s also some gale force competition blowing in from Texas and Iowa where sweeping prairies and open spaces provide ideal conditions for wind power generation.
Among the issues the candidates disagreed on was the future of wind power in the Berkshires. Republican Matt Kinnaman noted that wind turbines have been “decried and resisted” across the state for good reason. He said the “monstrous contraptions” divide communities, and cost more to build than they recoup in power generation. The better solution would be to keep all energy costs low, he said, and that to that end, he would oppose any effort to raise the gasoline tax. Independent Dion Robbins-Zust said unequivocally that he supports wind power, and challenged Democrat Benjamin B. Downing to make a definitive statement. Downing chose to quote H.L. Mencken, that there is always a simple answer and that it is usually wrong. While saying he supports the controversial Cape Wind project off Cape Cod, he believes the proposals for the Berkshires “haven’t lived up to the promise,” which underscores the need for dialogue and community input in planning such development.
This is a transcript for Tuesday’s debate between Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy and Republican challenger Kenneth Chase, moderated by NECN’s Chet Curtis. The debate marked the first time Kennedy had debated a campaign rival since 1994, when he sparred with Mitt Romney, the current governor of Massachusetts.