Published on September 27th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill1
Massachusetts Signs Largest New England Renewable Energy Procurement
Massachusetts’ Patrick Administration announced Monday the largest procurement of renewable energy in New England, a whopping 565 MW of renewewable energy, which weighs out to be approximately enough to power 170,000 homes.
“Working together, we are making significant progress towards creating cost-effective, renewable energy and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This procurement is a critical step in creating a 21st century clean energy future in Massachusetts.”
The state’s four utility companies — National Grid, Unitil, and Northeast Utilities which owns and operates NSTAR and Western Massachusetts Electric Company — filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities contracts for the procurement, of which the weighted average price from all the contracts measures out to be less than eight cents per kilowatt hour.
Following new energy legislation signed into law in August of 2012 by Governor Patrick which directed the Massachusetts electric companies to solicit proposals for long-term renewable energy contracts, the four companies issued a joint request which was approved on April 1 of this year. The four companies then received 40 bids, short-listed in July, followed by contract negotiations in August.
The Department of Public Utilities will be reviewing the procurement plans to ensure that they are cost-effective for ratepayers, which includes a soon-to-be-announced period of public comment and hearings.
“The Patrick Administration is working to ensure ratepayers are provided reliable, cost-effective energy,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “This procurement would be a big step forward in doing that by reducing our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”
The contracts currently call for six projects to be built throughout Maine and New Hampshire by project developers First Wind, Iberdrola Renewables and Exergy Development Group.
“Through these new agreements, NSTAR and WMECo are further demonstrating our commitment to helping Massachusetts reach its clean energy goals and adding to the significant amount of renewable electricity we currently deliver to our customers,” said James Daly, Vice President of Energy Supply for Northeast Utilities, parent company of NSTAR and WMECo. “We applaud Governor Patrick and Secretary Sullivan for their leadership and hands-on approach in promoting regional renewable energy projects.”
“We are pleased with the results of this solicitation. By pooling the resources of all the utilities, we were able to purchase a large amount of clean, renewable energy for the state at below-market prices,” said Ronald Gerwatowski, senior vice president, U.S. Regulation and Pricing, National Grid. “In addition to delivering environmental benefits for years to come, these agreements have the potential to save customers money over the long term. Renewables are an investment in our green energy future. These long-term power supply contracts are great news for our customers and the Commonwealth.”
“Our focus as a company was to help present a filing that would meet the state’s requirement for renewable energy while at the same time offering a fair price to our customers,” Unitil media relations manager Alec O’Meara said. “We’re hopeful this filing will accomplish these goals.”
This news comes only days after it was announced that Massachusetts’ clean energy industry increased green jobs by 11.8% from 2012 to 2013, according to a recent report published by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The “report tracks the size and growth of green jobs and businesses across the state through direct business surveys and interviews, and defines a clean energy firm or clean energy worker as one engaged in whole or part with clean energy technology” and has found an increase of 24% in green jobs in the three years the report has been published.
All in all, good news for the State of Massachusetts and the New England region as a whole.