House votes to increase offshore wind power purchasing

Boston Statehouse
Wind Energy Carolinas_159577

FILE – In this July 27, 2006 file photo, wind turbines stand clustered offshore in Dronten, the Netherlands. Officials with the U.S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management say that the first leases for turbines to be built offshore North and South Carolina could be issued next year. During a series of public hearings on the […]

BOSTON (SHNS) – The House registered its unanimous support Friday for requiring the executive branch and utility companies to procure even more offshore wind power, backing an amendment that would boost the state’s total authorization to 3,600 megawatts.

“We’ve heard from the developers from day one that they needed to hear that we were going to continue to authorize more and more offshore wind. And so that’s what we do today, we authorize and we send the signal that Massachusetts is not standing down and that we will continue,” House Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad said.

In an amendment package to its climate change bill, the House agreed to up the mandated amount of offshore wind power the state and utilities must contract for to 3,600 MW and also to shorten the maximum amount of time between procurements from 24 months to 18 months, Haddad said.

The amendment also requires that the secretary of housing and economic development review offshore wind proposals in addition to the Department of Energy Resources.

“Massachusetts really isn’t getting the jobs that other states are getting because we don’t have an incentive in there — we don’t have any incentives other than the federal tax credit,” Haddad said. “So the secretary of economic development will be able to look at the procurements and make comments about which ones are a good deal, both by price and by what we get out of it for economic development.”

Earlier this week, the Senate unanimously adopted an amendment to its economic development bill to direct DOER to procure another 2,800 MW of offshore wind power by 2035, which would bring the state’s total authorization to 6 gigawatts.

Neither newly-proposed level is final, and the House and Senate will likely settle on one figure after negotiating compromise versions of the economic development and climate bills.

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