WESTBORO – Laying out some policy priorities, Attorney General Maura Healey on Thursday recognized the role of natural gas while calling for investments in renewable energy and saying she hoped to partner with “clean-energy allies.”
In an address at the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association’s annual conference in Westboro, she also expressed openness toward net metering, a system allowing utility companies to buy excess energy generated by consumers’ solar panels.
The Massachusetts solar industry has boomed in recent years, leading to a total of 10,000 jobs, according to solar advocates. The Baker administration said earlier this week it will adhere to the goal of installing at least 1,600 megawatts of solar energy by 2020, more than double the current amount installed.
“To fully realize the potential of clean-energy generation, I will work to ensure that the electric distribution companies modernize the electric grid to meet today’s energy demands as well as those of the future,” Healey said, according to her office.
“Grid modernization must be accomplished in a way that benefits ratepayers by reducing costs and storm outages, equitably distributes the costs of the grid investments, and helps secure our clean energy future by better equipping our electric grid to integrate renewable energy resources,” she added.
Healey said natural gas will be part of the planned move to “strictly” renewable energy but called for reviewing long-term infrastructure investments, according to her office.
“The debate really shouldn’t be over whether we lock ourselves into long term reliance on domestic shale gas, or place ourselves at the mercy of markets for foreign produced LNG and oil,” she said. “The real question that we are eager to engage in is, what is the most cost effective strategy for getting to the lowest emission energy future?”
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