Boston, MA – Governor Charlie Baker signed landmark energy legislation today that positions Massachusetts to lead the nation in pursuit of a new clean energy frontier. The “Act to Promote Energy Diversity” requires Massachusetts to generate 1,600 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind – enough to power over a half million homes across the Commonwealth. This is America’s largest state commitment to offshore wind power to date, a bold move needed to finally launch a U.S. offshore wind industry.
Environmental advocates thanked the Governor and Legislature for this historic commitment to offshore wind power, delivering a letter applauding their leadership for unleashing the transformational environmental and economic benefits offshore wind power can deliver.
“Governor Baker and Massachusetts’ Legislature deserve a gold medal for shifting our clean energy transition into high gear. The Commonwealth now takes the world stage with the largest offshore wind market in America, committing to an energy future with less pollution and thousands of new, high quality local jobs,” said Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager for Climate and Energy, National Wildlife Federation. “Massachusetts will now attract the investment of the booming global offshore wind industry, ready to put the Commonwealth to work while stabilizing electric rates and protecting our communities and wildlife from climate change. Responsibly developed offshore wind power is a game-changing climate solution for America, and this bold leadership from Massachusetts is precisely what’s needed to bring it to scale.”
Despite a world-class offshore wind resource and advanced, commercially available technology ready to harness it, the U.S. is decades behind Europe in seizing the golden opportunity of offshore wind power. But this week, Massachusetts has made the commitment necessary to finally launch the industry on this side of the Atlantic.
“The Legislature and Governor Baker deserve our thanks for taking a big step toward a clean energy future for the Commonwealth. This law will unleash massive investment in carbon-free offshore wind power that will help meet our electricity needs affordably without polluting the environment. This is a moment of national leadership that we should all be proud of,” said George Bachrach, President, Environmental League of Massachusetts.
With America’s first five offshore wind turbines nearing completion off the coast of Rhode Island, offshore wind power is set to finally showcase its potential to shift the energy paradigm up and down the coast. The Commonwealth is now perfectly poised to build on this milestone and take the industry to the next level, creating thousands of long-term, high-quality jobs while investing in Massachusetts-made, clean, wildlife-friendly energy.
“With the signing of the energy bill, Massachusetts will jump start the offshore wind industry in America bringing industrial-scale steel to the water for the first time,” said Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy, Mass Audubon.
Over 8,000 megawatts of offshore wind power are available in areas already designated by the federal government for development far off our shores. Today’s action is a critical first step to ensure that Massachusetts realizes the full potential of our massive, clean, job-creating offshore wind resource.
“While this legislation is not perfect, it presents big opportunities for new sources of renewable energy that will propel our state and our region into a clean energy leadership role, said Greg Cunningham, Energy and Climate Program Director, Conservation Law Foundation. “The forward-thinking diversity of resources advanced by this law, including offshore wind and energy storage, will help us reach our shared climate goals and move beyond the dirty fossil fuels of the past.”