On Friday, August 3, Gover nor Deval Patrick signed new energy legislation into law that expands clean and renewable energy and grows the clean energy economy in a number of important ways. Through passage of this legislation, Massachusetts has taken a huge step toward diversifying its energy portfolio, creating local jobs and economic growth at the same time.
This progress could not have been made without the leadership of Senate Energy Com mit tee Chairman Ben Down ing. For months, he has fought for the passage of this energy legislation as he ushered it through the committee, the Sen ate, and conference committee, to final passage on the House and Senate floor.
The new policies expand on the Green Communities Act, increasing the economic benefits of solar and wind adoption, in part by raising the cap on the net metering program from 3 percent to 6 percent. This expansion allows businesses and residential customers who generate their own power to sell excess energy back to the grid at a price that encourages these projects.
The energy bill also expands long-term contracting for renewable energy projects, reducing financing costs for developers. Consumers will benefit from these reduced costs, as they are passed on to them in the form of lower energy prices. Adopting the new energy law allows Massa chusetts to keep its clean energy economy growing, creating local jobs and reducing energy costs. The policies passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor allow consumers in Massachusetts to rely more fully on local energy resources, and position the commonwealth as regional and world leader in the growing global clean energy marketplace.
We praise the hard work of Sen. Ben Downing, and thank him for what he has done for his district and the state as a whole in keeping Massachu setts at the leading edge of this growing global industry.
The writer is president of the New England Clean Energy Council.