Massachusetts Gov. Baker signs wind, hydro bill into law

Dive Brief:

  • Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has signed Massachusetts sweeping energy bill into law. 

  • The law, H. 4568, calls for long-term contracts for 1,600 MW of wind power and 1,200 MW of hydropower or other renewables.

  • Provisions for energy storage are also included, and could make Massachusetts one of three states with an energy storage mandate.

Dive Insight:

Massachusetts’ new energy law has been hailed as “transformational” by renewable energy advocates.

It includes provisions for wind power, both on and offshore, and for hydropower, as well as for energy storage.

Wind power advocates in particular see the law as what could be the first building block in a the creation of an offshore wind industry in a state where wind power has had a tough time. The Cape Wind project in the Nantucket Sound has been battling court battles for at least a decade and is still not near completion while neighboring Rhode Island is moving ahead with its 30-MW Block Island wind farm and the same developer, Deepwater Wind, is now proposing an even larger offshore wind farm in New York.

In energy storage Massachusetts already is attractive. It is one of the top states in which commercial storage applications are viable because of the potential for rate arbitrage, according to a GTM Research report.

But the law does not set out energy storage targets. Instead, it leaves that to the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which has until year end to decide whether or not to create a procurement mandate.

"The real heavy lifting on this starts now," Baker said in a statement. "They've given us a framework to work with, but now we actually have to do something with it."

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Filed Under: Generation Solar & Renewables Energy Storage Distributed Energy Efficiency & Demand Response Regulation & Policy