February 12, 2012

Massachusetts Senate approves green energy legislation for Kingston

By Kathryn Gallerani, Wicked Local Kingston, www.wickedlocal.com 12 February 2012

KINGSTON – Legislation establishing a renewable energy enterprise fund for the town has been approved in the Senate, setting the stage for a vote by the House of Representatives.

The legislation would be another step forward for Kingston in its efforts as a green community.

The money generated by operation of the town’s wind turbine, the Independence, and any future renewable energy projects would go into the enterprise fund. This includes the money generated by the sale of energy that’s produced, the sale of energy credits and the lease of property for the project.

Senate President Therese Murray sponsored the home rule petition in the Senate.

“Kingston was named one of the commonwealth’s first ‘Green Communities’ in 2010 for their commitment to renewable energy solutions, and they continue to take the initiative to promote energy efficiency in their community,” she said.

Murray, D-Plymouth, praised the town for setting the example for other communities to follow.

“These steps are critical to Kingston’s future both environmentally and economically,” she said. “The town has set a great standard, and I hope other communities in the area and across the commonwealth will follow.”

Senate Bill 1915 has passed, but now it’s time for the House of Representatives to take further action. Rep. Tom Calter, D-Kingston, supports the legislation and anticipates gaining House approval soon.

“I expect to get that wrapped up in the House in the next week to 10 days,” he said.

Five wind turbines are all concentrated in the same area off Route 3 at Exit 8 in Kingston. In addition to the town’s wind turbine are three wind turbines owned and operated by developer Mary O’Donnell on Marion Drive and a wind turbine operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, or the “T,” at the Kingston commuter rail station.

The T turbine started generating electricity at the end of January. Two of O’Donnell’s turbines are operational. The Independence is not yet operational.

Town Administrator Jim Thomas and Selectman and Green Energy Committee Chairman Mark Beaton were present for the testimony on the bill. Afterward, Beaton congratulated the town for its passage.

“Our green energy enterprise fund will be a great example of a community’s commitment to a better environment for generations to come,” he said.

The Board of Selectmen is authorized by the legislation to annually appropriate 50 percent of the renewable energy receipts to pay operation and maintenance costs, repair and other maintenance costs and the principal and interest on any bonds and notes that are issued.

The remaining 50 percent would go into the town’s general fund.

With passage by the Legislature, the town also plans to establish a loan and grant fund so that Kingston residents can borrow money or receive grants for renewable energy projects on private property. A five-member committee appointed by the selectmen would administer the grant and loan fund.

For a link to the text of the Senate Bill, go to http://malegislature.gov/Bills/187/Senate/S01915.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/02/12/massachusetts-senate-approves-green-energy-legislation-for-kingston/