The comments came from two very different sources – a local mayor and the attorney general of the commonwealth. But they amounted to the same thing: Beware the cost of going green.
Cutting down on energy consumption and employing nontraditional sources for the production of the energy we use makes us feel good and is the right thing to do for our planet and our survival. But there’s a price to be paid.
Peabody Mayor Michael Bonfanti said he’s experienced it in what the city has to pay for various school renovation projects. Meeting state standards in terms of what kinds of windows can be used and the energy-efficient technology that must be employed can involve significant dollars, he noted.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Martha Coakley reported to the Legislature recently that following the dictates of the 2008 Green Communities Act, which requires power producers to increase their use of alternative energy sources like wind and solar, electric rates could increase by 7 percent over the next four years.
Coakley found that the act had a number of laudable achievements, but she warned of the costs to both consumers and the state economy.
“In short, we have found a number of benefits – including increased energy-efficiency programs that lead to savings for many consumers,” Coakley said. “But we also have found that the (law’s) programs have escalating costs that will cause an increase in electricity rates.”
The cost of implementing the law will exceed $4 billion over the next four years, Coakley said. She noted that Massachusetts electric customers already pay some of the highest rates in the nation and that the state is “likely to remain at the top of that list.”
In a recent blog post, Robert Rio of Associated Industries of Massachusetts wrote that “businesses in Massachusetts are frustrated … because they feel they are being held responsible for reducing greenhouse gases far in excess of any other state and paying the brunt of the bill in a state that is already one of the top in the nation for clean air.”
Indeed, in their rush to make Massachusetts the greenest state in the country, Gov. Patrick and the Legislature should not lose sight of the fact that they may also be pushing businesses, jobs and people out of the state.
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