JoelWool's blog

On Tuesday March 21st, local business owners and concerned residents unveiled a list of hundreds of local businesses endorsing the Stop the Pipeline campaign from across the state. The effort was spear-headed by a state-wide coalition Mass Power Forward with press conferences in Seekonk, Canton and Dalton.

A recent report by Synapse Energy economics questions the need for the Access Northeast project. You can read more on Synapse's blog, but here's a few snippets:

Is gas demand going up?

First, with or without a new pipeline, existing laws and regulations will cumulatively require New England’s use of natural gas for electric generation to decrease by 27 percent by 2023, relative to 2015 levels.

The Mass Power Forward coalition is pleased to announce our 2018 legislative priorities

Our progress to date should be celebrated, but it’s clear that we cannot rest on our laurels. In 2017, Massachusetts needs to be bolder than ever on climate and energy policy. We are still falling behind states like NY and CA that have committed to at least 50% clean energy by 2030 and taken steps toward 100% renewable power. At the national level, we’re facing an unprecedented attack on critical laws that protect our climate and environment, making leadership at the state level more vital than ever.

As a coalition, we are calling for bold and historic commitments to clean energy over the coming legislative session. At the same time, we need to make sure that we continue to reduce  our use of fossil fuels and support communities in the transition from dirty energy and towards clean power.

Members of the Mass Power Forward coalition are descending on Beacon Hill to demand that our legislators do everything they can to promote a clean energy future! The stakes have never been higher. With climate deniers running the show in Washington, DC, we NEED Massachusetts to step up and lead. 

Earlier today, the Supreme Judicial Court struck down the so-called “pipeline tax” (ENGIE Gas & LNG LLC v. Department of Public Utilities -- SJC 12051), which would have forced electric ratepayers to subsidize new gas pipelines.

Mass Power Forward Applauds State Commitment to Renewable Energy
Calls on Governor to Stop the Pipeline Tax

“This energy legislation represents vital progress on offshore wind, gas leaks, and other key issues. It requires utilities to obtain 1600 MW of electricity from offshore wind --  the largest commitment to offshore wind in the nation. The bill also requires utilities to repair environmentally damaging gas leaks, creates a panel to guide the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, and moves the state forward on energy efficiency and energy storage.

We are so close to something truly historic. Email and Call your legislators to ensure we pass a strong final bill! 

The Massachusetts Senate has released its comprehensive energy legislation, which will be debated next Thursday, 6/30. It includes two of Mass Power Forward's priorities, commitments for 2000 megawatts of offshore wind and doubling the rate of increase of the Renewable Portfolio Standard. The Senate legislation is a strong bill and members of the public can view the bill, S2372, at the link or in the summary here.

On June 8, the House of Representatives debated and voted on a long-awaited energy bill focusing on offshore wind and hydropower.

Mass Power Forward, a statewide coalition of more than 150 environmental, social justice and community groups, businesses, and faith organizations responded by calling on lawmakers to take bolder steps to encourage wind and solar, and stop the construction of new gas pipelines.

The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy released a much-anticipated energy omnibus bill on May 23rd. The current language focuses on offshore wind and hydropower. Notably, the bill omits language on gas pipelines. Read the summary or full bill text here. (EDIT: Globe columnist Derrick Jackson urges MA Legislature to Go Big on offshore wind - read it here!)

As written, the bill requires the state to procure 1200 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2027. To our knowledge, this is the largest offshore wind bill filed in the country to date, and shows a remarkable degree of political support for the resource. With that said, wind developers and others have argued that a procurement of 2,000 megawatts is necessary to capture the full economic benefits of the state’s offshore wind industry, and a study by the University of Delaware suggests such a procurement would halve the cost of offshore wind over the next decade. The legislation also would solicit a comparable amount of hydropower (effectively one transmission line, which may also bring down land-based wind, though as drafted the language strongly favors hydropower).  
 
In the days and weeks to come, Mass Power Forward will be calling on the legislature to meet this commitment of 2000 megawatts for offshore wind and to double advances in the renewable portfolio standard to accommodate the simultaneous growth of land-based wind and other renewable resources. Mass Power Forward also is pushing for legislation to firmly prohibit the proposed "pipeline tax," which would force electric ratepayers to subsidize gas pipelines. 
 
Also of great note this week is the firm withdrawal of the previously "suspended" Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct project. Senate President Stan Rosenberg made the following comment on the matter.

The defeat of the Northeast Energy Direct project is an incredible victory. The pipeline fight continues with the Connecticut Expansion in Sandisfield, along the routes of Spectra's several pipeline projects in the region, and with the ongoing debate over the pipeline tax. The legislature can act to definitively block ratepayer financing of gas pipelines, and Mass Power Forward will fight for them to do so. (Read more about the pipeline tax in a recent blog from Mass Energy Consumers Alliance.)

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