Clean Power Massachusetts

Published on March 1st, 2014 | by Peter Allen

6

Nor’easter Raging Over Solar Power In Massachusetts

March 1st, 2014 by  

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is not beating around the bush when it comes to making his state the greenest in the nation. The Green Communities Act he pushed in 2008 started Massachusetts down the road of expanded conservation and investment in renewable energy. One of his current goals is to generate 1,600 megawatts of solar energy statewide by 2020.

MassachusettsIn order to meet such an ambitious target, the Patrick plan requires utilities and other big energy consumers to get a certain amount of their power from solar producers, which can range from large-scale farms to single-family residences with rooftop installations. This would not only force utilities to diversify their entrenched transmission networks, but also would incentivize more homeowners and small businesses to become players in the solar market, further eroding the profits to which utilities have become accustomed.

As one might expect, the Massachusetts utility industry is none too pleased. And when we say “industry,” we’re really talking about Northeast Utilities System, far and away the state’s largest energy provider and among the largest in New England. With Patrick’s plan on the verge of achieving the critical mass needed to pass the state legislature, NU and others have begun to raise the familiar, unjustified spectre of increased consumer rates in order to halt solar progress.

Like the litany of laments heard from other investor-owned utilities in response to the rooftop solar movement, NU’s argument makes it sound like they care about ratepayers. In reality, they are trying to mask their true motivation: money.

Investor-owned utilities have no interest in supporting efficient renewable energy deployment like rooftop solar, and they’ll fight any and all legislation that requires them to do so. In a press release on the recent events in Massachusetts, The Alliance for Solar Choice, a coalition of solar energy companies, points out that NU’s own analysis shows they have almost $1 billion invested in transmission projects over the next four years. Meanwhile, solar energy makes up just a tiny fraction of NU’s internal energy generation.

The more NU ratepayers turn toward solar for their homes and businesses, the less return the utility stands to receive from their investment in a centralized infrastructure. And ratepayers will end up footing the bill for NU’s hubris through the rate hikes similar to those NU is now using to push back on the Patrick plan. Hypocrisy at its finest.

The good news is that Governor Patrick and Massachusetts lawmakers continue to demonstrate support for investing in today and our future. That’s because they understand what’s at stake: the future of our health, our environment, and the freedom of choice that every American consumer deserves. It’s a shame that investor-owned utilities like NU don’t share their vision.

Massachusetts image via Shutterstock 
 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
 
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,


About the Author

is an independent media strategist based in San José, CA. You can read his many musings on Twitter @pjallen2.



  • For as far as I try look into the future, I see a need for transporting energy. There are many ways to transport energy. You can load a train with coal or biomass (wood chips) or load a tanker with hydrogen and then drive it to where you need it. That is like putting a jpeg on a floppy disk and sending it through the mail.

    The grid will morph into the Internet of energy, just like darpanet morphed into our Internet.

    • Bob_Wallace

      That’s an interesting way to look at the issue.

      Right now we are keeping the lights on by transporting fossil fuel from where is obtained to where we need it to create electricity. As we go forward we will need to transport energy from places where renewable resources are most available to where we need that energy.

      Some robust transmission lines could make it much easier to get off fossil fuels by allowing us to ship power from more abundant areas to less abundant areas.

  • patb2009

    NU is going to need to evolve a business plan fast, the biz plan for hawaii and the american southwestern utilities is in complete failure. the wave is spreading out.
    If people start investing into storage as well, the grid won’t last.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “If people start investing into storage as well, the grid won’t last.”

      When people post stuff like that they demonstrate that they have no off grid experience.

      (Bob, off the grid for over 20 years.)

      Yes, we need a new financial model for the grid. But the grid is almost certain to survive.

  • Will E

    Utilities will be a goner.
    They get their money from customers.
    In Europe the Utility companies lost since 2008 800 billion euros in downgraded stock value.
    When they have no more customers they have no more money.
    and no more power.
    Solar is clean and easy and customers can make a lot of dollars
    when going Solar. This change cannot be stopped.
    For the benefit of all people.

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

    cost-of-solar-down
  • Search the IM Network


Shares