Energy and Environment Secretary Matthew Beaton, who includes large-scale land-based and offshore wind turbines in his vision of a more balanced menu of energy sources, is set to address wind industry executives in Boston on Tuesday.
At a roundtable on electricity restructuring last week, Beaton said Massachusetts is “well-positioned” to meet or exceed its greenhouse gas reduction goal of 25 percent by 2020, but needs to fully implement certain policies, including the procurement of large-scale hydroelectric power.
“Of the renewable resources available, hydroelectric power is the only carbon-neutral, reliable generation resource readily available to meet our regional energy demand and achieve the greenhouse gas emissions goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act,” Beaton said.
Beaton made clear that cost is a concern with wind energy. “The Baker-Polito Administration recognizes the current availability of cost-competitive wind options, and if advances in off shore wind technology bring a competitive price to the market, then we should embrace the resource,” he said at the New England Electricity Restructuring Roundtable, held at the Foley Hoag’s offices in Boston. “Of the renewable resources available to the Commonwealth, large-scale hydroelectric power remains the most cost-effective resource currently available. As options for the procurement of wind continue to develop, the pursuit of hydroelectric power remains the focus of the administration as a result of a definitive proposal already existing, but we look forward to continued dialogue regarding the pursuit of offshore wind.”
During the Patrick administration and while Beaton was a member of the Massachusetts House, the Legislature nearly passed a bill streamlining the land-based wind energy permitting system, but the proposal came up short and has not been revisited since.
The Cape Wind project planned for Nantucket Sound has never been able to get off the ground, but Massachusetts is now seeing interest from developers with plans for larger wind farms in waters far off the state’s coastlines. Beaton at noon plans to address the U.S. Offshore Wind Leadership Conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston.
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