Governor Baker Signs Clean Energy & Climate Bill with Large Offshore Wind Provisions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 11, 2022
Contact: Ellen Macaulay, Environmental League of Massachusetts
Amber Hewett, National Wildlife Federation
August 11, 2022 – Today, Governor Baker signed H.5060, An Act driving clean energy and offshore wind, a sweeping climate law that will enable the Commonwealth to address the climate crisis and take steps toward achieving its 2030 and 2050 climate goals. The legislation is a big win for offshore wind, creating conditions for an inclusive and responsible industry and including provisions for grid modernization and transmission. Several analyses have shown that offshore wind will be the linchpin of Massachusetts’ decarbonization strategy – it will likely provide around 50% of the state’s power by 2050. This law will help usher in a just clean energy transition powered by offshore wind.
The legislation reforms the offshore wind solicitation process to prioritize diversity and inclusion, labor agreements, and environmental protections; removes the price cap; and allows the Department of Energy Resources to make final project selections. It establishes an offshore wind industry investment program to drive the growth of a domestic supply chain, support port development, and promote research and innovation, which will ensure that state transmission infrastructure is ready to support and distribute the energy that offshore wind will bring online, helping increase affordable and equitable energy access. This bill’s diversity and inclusion language will advance responsible development and labor practices in this growing industry across the region. Lastly, its environmental protections provisions will promote research and monitoring, essential to creating a renewable industry that is safe for communities and wildlife.
An act driving clean energy and advancing offshore wind will not only position Massachusetts as a leader in responsibly developed offshore wind, but also foster regional collaboration on transmission development, clean energy solicitations, and clean energy markets necessary to bring New England offshore wind to the scale needed to combat the climate crisis.
We are grateful to Massachusetts House and Senate leaders for passing a strong offshore wind bill this session. As we look to the installation of the first turbines off our coast next year, we look forward to working with current and future Administrations to ensure offshore wind is developed responsibly and built at a scale that meets the climate crisis.
Susannah Hatch, Environmental League of Massachusetts Director of Clean Energy Policy and New England for Offshore Wind Regional Lead, said: “Offshore wind is a critical climate solution for New England. This legislation will not only provide critical investments needed to bring offshore wind to the scale needed to combat climate change, but will also ensure it is developed equitably and responsibly. This law demonstrates that when done right, policy can drive a diverse and inclusive clean energy transition and create opportunities for all workers and communities across the Commonwealth.”
Nicole Obi, President and CEO of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, said: Offshore wind development presents incredible economic opportunities for the Commonwealth. This law takes important steps to diversify the wind procurement process, opening the door for black and brown businesses to both participate in and benefit from the clean energy transition. We thank the Baker-Polito administration for committing to a more equitable clean energy future.”
Larry Chretien, Executive Director of Green Energy Consumers Alliance, said: “The climate bill is excellent. Recent polling shows that voters support climate action. We just endured a month-long heatwave. And now Congressing is passing the Inflation Reduction Act. We need to lean in on clean energy.”
Joe O’Brien, Political Director of the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, said: “Today’s signing of H.5060, An Act driving clean energy and offshore wind, is a big win for ratepayers, workers and the environment. This historic bill will help the Commonwealth meet its climate goals and continue the growth of our clean energy sector that is creating a new generation of family sustaining jobs for our states’ workers.”
Jen Benson, President of the Alliance for Business Leadership, said: “Earlier this summer, ABL brought a delegation of business leaders to Denmark to learn about their green transition. Denmark is known as a global leader on offshore wind and they got there by passing smart policy to support development. By signing into law An act driving clean energy and advancing offshore wind, Massachusetts has taken a major step towards solidifying its position as a national leader in the development of offshore wind here in the US. We are excited to see diversity and inclusion language included in the new law and look forward to supporting its overall implementation.”
Nicole DiPaolo, Offshore Wind Program Manager for the Bluegreen Alliance said: “The policies in this bill will help ensure that as our offshore wind sector continues to grow, we maximize the creation of good paying union jobs and build projects with materials made in the United States. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build this industry from the group up with high-road labor standards and this bill will help do just that. We thank Governor Baker and all those who worked to get this bill over the finish line.”
John Carlson, Manager of State Policy at Ceres, said: “This package promises to secure reliable, affordable, clean power for businesses and households statewide, add to the legions of quality jobs the offshore wind industry is already creating, and develop the important ancillary businesses to support this critical work. It’s no wonder this deal had strong support from the Commonwealth’s business community—because smart climate policy is also smart economics.”
Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts, said: “Massachusetts has the best potential for offshore wind energy of any state in the country, and this bill will remove a major stumbling block to the development of those resources. As we shift more of the energy used for heating and transportation from fossil fuels to electricity, now is the time to go big on offshore wind. This bill moves us in the right direction in a major way.”
Paula García, Senior Energy Analyst and Energy Justice Lead at Union of Concerned Scientists said: “Sustained action is crucial to address the climate crisis, and this law offers exactly just that. It will contribute to slowing our heat-trapping emissions, support cleaning the air we breathe, and help build a vibrant economy where we can all thrive.”
Cabell Eames, Political Director at 350 Massachusetts, said: “The passage of An Act driving clean energy and offshore wind is no small victory. It is built on decades of climate activism’s blood, sweat, and tears. We are particularly thrilled to see such a substantial investment in wind infrastructure. This law will transform the Massachusetts economy, providing millions of jobs and the foundation necessary for climate policies that center our most vulnerable populations while striving for a sustainable world.”
Tim Cronin, Massachusetts Director of Climate Policy at Health Care Without Harm said: “Powering our state no longer needs to come at the expense of the public’s health. By clearing obstacles for a core element of Massachusetts’ decarbonization strategy, this new law helps break our dependence on the fossil fuels that are polluting our air, harming our families, and widening health disparities within our communities. This law paves the way to a healthier, more climate-resilient future for all.”
Heather Takle, President and CEO of PowerOptions said: “We are thrilled to see the Commonwealth of Massachusetts taking such bold steps to strengthen our clean energy economy and build for the future. This law will help provide reliable and affordable energy across the state, accelerating efforts to electrify the grid and providing necessary resources for offshore wind infrastructure. We would like to thank the Massachusetts House and Senate leaders for their efforts to pass this historic bill, which paves the road for a sustainable, affordable, and climate-resilient future.”
Patricia Gozemba, Co-Chair of Salem Alliance for the Environment, said: “SAFE rejoices that the offshore wind provisions in H5060 will allow Salem, a gateway and Environmental Justice city, to have an opportunity to move ahead in this era of innovation. We and other EJ communities sorely needed this opportunity.”
Jess Nahigian, State Political Director of Sierra Club Massachusetts, said: “After a month-long heat wave, we are stepping up our decarbonization game. This bill starts to implement our plan to get off fossil fuels while growing a local clean energy economy that creates good-paying jobs for the people of Massachusetts. This is exactly what renewable energy policy should look like. Our state will become a leader in offshore wind while ensuring that local communities receive the benefits of workforce training and infrastructure investment.”
Melissa Gates, Northeast Regional Manager for the Surfrider Foundation said: “The Surfrider Foundation is excited by this climate law, which will empower the Commonwealth to advance a bold, inclusive, and equitable approach to our global climate crisis, leaning into the needed shift away from fossil fuels and wrapping our arms around responsible offshore wind and renewable energy- all while protecting the coastal environment, residents and the economy, and fostering new, sustainable jobs. This is the type of forward-thinking progress we need to advance across the nation as we face the challenges of our rapidly changing climate and take accountability for our role in the problems and solutions.”
Michael Sales, Member of the Legislative Team, Elders Climate Action of Massachusetts said: “We are delighted to see the Massachusetts legislature take such a decisive step in support of a livable climate for our children, our grandchildren and for all life. Wind is one of the keys to the creation of the non-polluting energy system we all so desperately need.”
Michelle Manion, VP of Policy and Advocacy at Mass Audubon said: “This new law will propel the Commonwealth’s efforts to meet its climate ambitions by scaling up offshore wind, stepping on the accelerator for more clean cars and clean buildings, and making sure we create equitable access to the green jobs of the future. Mass Audubon and our 160,000 members applaud Governor Baker and the Legislature for their bold leadership in addressing the climate crisis.”
New England for Offshore Wind is a broad-based coalition of businesses and associations, environmental and justice organizations, academic institutions, and labor unions committed to combatting climate change by increasing the supply of clean energy to our regional grid through more procurements of responsibly developed offshore wind. We believe that responsibly developed offshore wind is the single biggest lever we can pull to address the climate crisis while also strengthening our regional economy, protecting ratepayers, creating high quality jobs, and improving public health by reducing pollution.