Boston, MA – Late Sunday evening, Massachusetts’ leaders made history with the largest-ever state commitment to offshore wind power. As the 2016 session came to a close, legislators on both sides of the aisle voted to pass “An act to promote energy diversity,” a broad energy bill that includes 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind energy – enough to power over a half million homes across the Commonwealth. The bill now moves to Governor Baker’s desk for signature.
“The Massachusetts Legislature hit a home run tonight. With momentum building for offshore wind power along the coast, the Legislature has made a critical and historic down payment that will reduce pollution, create jobs, and position the Bay State as the hub of a new American industry. Massachusetts should be really proud of our legislators today,” said Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager for Climate and Energy at National Wildlife Federation’s Northeast Regional Center. “All eyes are now on Governor Baker, who has a golden opportunity to show how building a local clean energy economy with offshore wind power can spark transformational economic development, stabilize electric rates, and protect people and wildlife from climate change. We call on the Governor to sign the bill and make this pivotal commitment to offshore wind power a reality.”
Offshore wind power is America’s largest untapped clean energy opportunity. Countries around the world are mobilizing to tap into this booming global offshore wind industry that currently supports over 75,000 jobs in both coastal and inland communities. America’s first five turbines are now under construction off of Block Island, and bold policy commitments from state leaders – as Massachusetts has done tonight – are precisely what’s needed to launch offshore wind power on this side of the Atlantic.
As 2016 continues on pace to eclipse 2015 as the hottest year on record, Massachusetts has no time to waste in launching a clean energy future. With state and federal pollution reduction targets looming, and major power plant retirements across the region, offshore wind power offers a critically needed local clean energy option. With over 8,000 MW of clean power available in areas carefully designated for development far from shore, passage of this bill must be just the beginning of the Commonwealth’s next energy chapter.
Massachusetts residents strongly support adding offshore wind power to our energy portfolio, with 78 percent of voters supporting offshore wind turbines at least 10 miles from the coast and a majority (52 percent) strongly supporting it, according to a September 2015 TargetSmart survey conducted for the National Wildlife Federation. That strong support is similar to results of the poll conducted by Mass INC in March 2015.
National Wildlife Federation works with our affiliates and partners along the Atlantic Coast to promote the responsible development of offshore wind power. Learn more at NWF.org/OffshoreWind and visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.