Business groups yesterday questioned whether some of the lofty energy conservation goals outlined by House Speaker Sal DiMasi and other State House leaders are achievable – and whether many of the proposals will even survive Senate review.
“It’s ambitious,” said Angela O’Connor, president of the New England Power Generators Association, refering to the plan’s goal of generating 20 percent of all electricity by 2020 using renewable sources such as wind and biomass fuels.
“It will be a challenge, because so many of these (renewable sources) are not yet market viable,” said O’Connor.
Other business leaders noted that the state currently is supposed to be generating 3 percent of all electricity via renewable sources other than fossil and nuclear fuels – and it hasn’t even hit that target.
“These are just assumptions,” said Robert Rio, vice president of government affairs for the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, one of several business interests that helped hammer out DiMasi’s compromise package. “They are goals, not requirements.”
In coming months, a number of utility, clean-energy and environmental groups are expected to intensify their lobbying efforts to change aspects of DiMasi’s bill – from how new biomass refineries should get local zoning permits to how long utility contracts should be when buying electricity generated via renewable fuels.
DiMasi, who had previously outlined an energy package that was dramatically altered into yesterday’s 106-page bill, hopes to have a House vote on the legislation next Thursday. But the Senate may not be able to tackle the package by the formal end of this year’s session on Nov. 21, pushing its review of the legislation into next year, sources said.
O’Connor said she was impressed with the sweeping nature of DiMasi’s bill.
Rio said AIM is particularly pleased that energy-efficiency programs will be expanded and more aggressively pushed.
By Jay Fitzgerald
9 November 2007
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