Monday, June 27, 2016

Building a Brighter Energy Future

This week, the Senate is expected to take action on a bill that will modernize and strengthen our state’s renewable power supply and foster our energy independence through competitive contracting, a diversified pool of generation, and greater efforts in expanding efficiency.

The Senate bill, an Act to Promote Energy Diversity, contains a robust set of renewable energy components which will require the procurement of on and off-shore wind energy, an expansion of the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard which doubles the growth rate to meet emissions standards, and the opportunity for large-scale hydropower generation projects.

“Our region stands to lose more than 10,000 megawatts of electric generation in the next decade and beyond, and we must chart a course to replacing that power with carefully planned, cost-effective and environmentally sound sources of energy that residents and employers can depend on. The time to start that process is now,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr.

The bill goes a long way to lowering emissions, drawing from cost-effective resources and sparking infrastructure investments and industry job growth in advanced manufacturing for energy storage systems. Members of the Senate Republican Caucus are supporting measures which will require utility companies to use transparent and cost-effective procurement through long-term contracts.

Building on the foundation of the bill, members of the Senate Republican Caucus are offering several individual amendments to boost our supply of environmentally sound energy. Among them are measures to:

  • • Cause the state to create and maintain a comprehensive energy plan, updated every three years, to ensure that we have energy when we need it, and that its cost-effective and environmentally sound,
  • Expand Off Shore Wind Energy Generation from the 2000 megawatts currently in the bill to 2400 megawatts,
  • Expand Clean Energy Generation from the 12,450,000 megawatt-hours currently in the bill to 15,768,000 megawatt-hours,
  • Direct the Department of Energy Resources to study cost recovery methods for lost and unaccounted for gas,
  • Set procurement targets for commercially available technology capable of storing energy  produced by renewable sources for use when it is needed.

Republican Senators are seeking to ensure cost-effective long-term utility contracts to facilitate the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals and compliance with the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits.

The omnibus energy bill is expected to attract world-leading developers of clean and renewable energy generation, create opportunities for thousands of new high-tech jobs and jointly competitive long-term clean energy transmission which will help the state reach goals in reducing greenhouse gas emissions established in the Global Warming Solutions Act.