State Representative James Arciero and the Massachusetts House of Representatives recently passed new legislation that would change the procurement process for offshore wind, establish new tax credits and incentives for offshore wind companies and modernize the electrical grid and energy storage infrastructure throughout the state, in the process creating thousands of new jobs.
The House passed House Bill 4515, An act advancing offshore wind and clean energy, by a vote of 144-12 to continue to meet the Commonwealth’s climate goals of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. It now goes to the Massachusetts State Senate for their consideration.
“I’m immensely proud of the steps that the House took to ensure Massachusetts remains at the forefront of renewable energy development,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano, of Quincy, who made offshore wind a top priority for his term as Speaker. “Not only will this legislation help us reduce our carbon emissions and combat climate change, it will also spur economic development, modernize our energy infrastructure, and create thousands of new jobs in the process. I want to thank Chairman Jeff Roy for his hard work in advancing this legislation, as its passage was undoubtedly a critical step in the right direction.”
The legislation helps create parity between electric and natural gas, imposing a charge for natural gas consumers to support renewable energy, similar to the charge electric customers currently pay. At a little over $1 a month for the average customer, this is estimated to collect $23 million a year over the next 10 years to support the Commonwealth’s transition to clean energy. “This important legislation makes Massachusetts a national leader in offshore wind energy production by investing millions of dollars over the next decade toward infrastructure, innovation, job training, supply chain capacity and transmission upgrades across the Commonwealth,” said Representative Arciero said.
By diversifying Massachusetts’ energy portfolio, Massachusetts will become more energy independent and less reliant on imported natural gas that is susceptible to volatile price spikes, thereby helping to stabilize ratepayer bills in the long term.
The bill, filed by Representative Jeff Roy, of Franklin, makes the Massachusetts offshore wind bidding process more competitive by removing a current price cap that requires bids to be less expensive than previous procurements. That provision has deterred companies from participating in the procurement process. Future procurements will now include economic development, employment and environmental and fisheries mitigation benefits.
The bill also:
- Invests hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade in infrastructure, innovation, job training, supply chain capacity and transmission upgrades.
- Requires utility companies to proactively upgrade the transmission and distribution grid to improve reliability and resilience and accommodate the anticipated significant shift to renewable forms of energy.
- Invests in long-term energy storage to help the Commonwealth’s transition to renewable energy.
- Provides thousands of good-paying jobs with a focus on ensuring access and opportunity for everyone.
- Creates a DESE high school offshore wind credential training pilot program through which DESE would reimburse school districts for each student that obtains the credential.
“I am very proud to vote alongside my colleagues in the House to pass this crucial piece of legislation. Utilizing more offshore wind energy will help our state reach its long-term climate and renewable energy goals while also providing quality jobs and training for workers in the Commonwealth,” said Representative Arciero.