By Bob Katzen
The House 133-12, approved and sent to the Senate a bill to further develop and expand the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. Provisions include investing hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade in infrastructure, innovation, job training, supply chain capacity and transmission upgrades; providing job training, tax incentives, grants and loans; investing in long-term energy storage to help the state’s transition to renewable energy; and implementing a new charge that would add an estimated $1.37 to the average gas customer’s monthly bill to raise an estimated $23 million in new revenue that would be used to fund the programs, tax incentives and grants.
“I am thrilled that today the House passed legislation crucial to the development of a strong offshore wind industry in Massachusetts,” said Representative Jeff Roy (D-Franklin), House chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. “Massachusetts waters have the greatest offshore wind potential out of the contiguous U.S. and this legislation will ensure that the commonwealth is prepared to harness that energy while also creating a just and robust local economy, educational opportunities for our residents and critical upgrades to our energy infrastructure without causing undue harm to our coastal habitats or maritime industries.”
“I’m immensely proud of the steps that the House took today to ensure Massachusetts remains at the forefront of renewable energy development,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). “Not only will this legislation help us reduce our carbon emissions and combat climate change, it will also spur economic development, modernize our energy infrastructure and create thousands of new jobs in the process.”
“While I completely agree that we need to do something about encouraging clean energy and offshore wind development, I think we could have found the funds in the current budget and not put the costs on the ratepayers,” said Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), the only Democrat to vote against the measure. “It is the economically challenged folks who can’t afford the major rehabs of older homes to save on gas and electric heating costs who will get hit with these charges. I believe this is definitely not the time to be adding more costs to homeowners with inflation and a slow economic recovery from the pandemic.”