Massachusetts for Offshore Wind

The Astonishing Potential of Offshore Wind

Offshore wind might be the single biggest lever that New England can pull to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and grow the economy – at the same time.

In the face of climate change, the race is on to decarbonize our energy system. Elizabeth Henry is the President of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. She outlines her goal to race towards the horizon — and create a tipping point in the market for offshore wind. Already, it is 80% cheaper to harness wind offshore than it was a decade ago. A very different way to power our lives, and create the jobs of the future, is within reach.

Governor Baker’s Pledge

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In 2016, Governor Baker signed the Act to Promote Energy Diversity, which allowed for up to 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2027. In 2018 the winning bid of 800 megawatts by Vineyard Wind was announced. The Department of Energy Resources investigated the necessity, benefits, and costs of an additional 1,600 MW and recommended additional solicitations to take place in 2022 and 2024.

During his campaign for re-election in 2018, Governor Baker signed the following pledge:

I pledge to take all necessary steps to ensure that Massachusetts remains a leader in the effort to launch the nation’s offshore wind industry. Specifically, after taking office I will direct the relevant state agencies to:

  1. Ensure that the existing offshore wind requirements pursuant to Section 83(c) of the Energy Diversity Act of 2016 are fulfilled, including the timely solicitation and selection of responsibly developed project(s) to fulfill the remaining 800 MW offshore wind commitment on or before June 2019.
  2. Complete the study of an additional 1,600 MW of offshore wind as required by the 2018 Clean Energy Future Act by May 2019. If this study shows that additional offshore wind power is economically advantageous, direct the Department of Energy Resources to instruct the state’s utilities to begin the solicitation and contracting process for this additional 1,600 MW of offshore wind no later than 2025.
  3. Explore the possibility of developing a joint offshore wind power procurement with other New England states.

To date, he has fulfilled 2 parts of this pledge.

An Act relative to multi-state offshore wind procurement

To fulfill the third part of the pledge, advocates support a bill compelling Massachusetts to collaborate with the other New England states to explore issuing a joint procurement for 6 GW of new offshore wind. It would also authorize Massachusetts to enter into such an agreement and direct utilities to purchase this new power.

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