Baker to sign hydropower, offshore wind energy bill on State House lawn

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Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday plans to sign legislation putting Massachusetts on a course to diversify its energy generation base by procuring 1,600 megawatts of hydropower and offshore wind energy through long-term contracts.

The bill also contains language promoting gas leak repairs and the development of energy storage technology and authorizing the Baker administration to establish a carbon reduction research center at the University of Massachusetts.

The Senate had proposed to double the rate of growth in the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from 1 percent a year to 2 percent a year, but the section was dropped from the final bill. The conference committee also dropped Senate-backed language that would have banned utilities from seeking rate increases from customers to front the cost of building new natural gas pipelines.

Baker plans to sign the bill (H 4568) at 1:30 p.m. on the State House lawn, near the John F. Kennedy statue. He will be joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and state lawmakers. In a statement released last Sunday night, when the Legislature met past midnight to pass the bill, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said, “This proactive effort to ensure the needs of Massachusetts are met with clean, reliable resources while safeguarding our ratepayers demonstrates our state’s continued leadership in the development and deployment of cost-effective renewable energy.”

— Written by Michael Norton

Copyright State House News Service