Our Opinion: Hydropower coming but not soon enough

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The Baker administration is clearly serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but to say the state is on target to meet requirements of emissions law is optimistic.

A report released this week by the office of energy and environmental affairs asserts that the state expects to cut emissions 26.4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, meeting the 25 percent reduction required by passage of the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act. The report, assumes, however, that Beacon Hill will soon sign and pass a bill compelling utilities to buy Canadian hydropower, which is not realistic.

While a Vermont utility is making progress in proposing an acceptable plan to transparent electricity generated by Canadian hydropower through the state and into southern New England, its New Hampshire counterpart is still resisting demands that it put most or all of its power lines underground. Even if this issue was resolved tomorrow, and the various agencies quickly provided approval for one or both projects, the complex physical logistics make it highly unlikely that such a worthwhile endeavor would be completed within four years.

State officials acknowledge that reducing emissions must be accomplished in a variety of ways. Realistically, if the 25 percent reduction goal is to be met in four years, carbon pricing mandates for heavy users must be instituted, the solar market must be unlocked from caps, and wind power must be expanded where feasible.


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