Massachusetts Passes Scaled-Down Green Energy Bill


A massive green energy and climate bill passed by the Massachusetts Senate was scaled back considerably in negotiations with the House before being passed this week on the final day of the legislative session. The bill now goes to Republican Governor Charles Baker for signing into law.  
Although both chambers are controlled overwhelmingly by Democrats, the Senate and House were far apart on how quickly the state should move toward using more renewable electricity.  Dropped from the Senate bill was a target of 100% renewables by 2047. Also dropped were provisions to eliminate the cap on net metering and to authorize up to 5,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity.    
Under current law, utilities must increase the share of electricity from renewable sources by at least 1% per year and reach 25% renewables by 2030. The House-Senate compromise bill raises the rate of increase to 2% per year through 2029 and requires 35% renewables by 2030. 
The bill expands the amount of offshore wind capacity authorized to 1,600 MW from the current level of 800 MW. It also creates a “clean peak” standard, which will require utilities to use a certain minimum amount of renewable energy during hours of peak demand. This is meant to encourage alternatives (got any ideas?) to fossil-fuel peaker plants.