- Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) appeared at a statehouse hearing this week to lobby support for a proposal to allow the state's utilities to enter into long-term renewable energy contracts, the Boston Herald reports.
- Baker has introduced legislation that would allow utilities to enter 15-25 year contracts to source one-third of their energy needs from Canadian hydroelectric facilities, and said he is open to similar contracts for offshore wind.
- Baker also testified in support of legislation that would lift caps on the state's net metering program.
Mass. Gov. Baker (R) testified Tuesday before a full Statehouse hearing in support of two energy matters: allowing utilities to enter into long-term contracts for renewables and supporting legislation to raise the state's net metering cap.
Baker has proposed allowing long-term hydro contracts and told Boston Herald reporters later that "if they want to add a proposal to that that would add an offshore wind component as well, that would be fine."
And a bill to raise net metering caps by 2% -- to 6% for private facilities and 7% for public -- would help address what advocates say is a marketplace that has hit capacity. The current policy caps net metered solar at 1,600 MW. At least 171 communities around the state have reached net metering limits already, the Boston Herald reported.
Opponents of the plan to allow longer contracts say it would be unfair to generators who have invested billions of dollars, while raising rates. A study released earlier this month by the Analysis Group found Massachusetts electric rates would rise $777 million annually if long-term hydro contracts are allowed.
Baker added that he'd like to have the same rules apply to wind generators and affirmed the state's commitment to low-cost resources. "If they give us proposals that don't make sense economically obviously we won't pursue them, but if they give us proposals that do make sense economically we'll take them pretty seriously," Baker said.