State Senate warming to importing to wind, hydro power

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BOSTON >> The Senate might not be far off from House leadership in thinking about next steps in boosting the Bay State's renewable energy usage.

Speaking to the News Service ahead of a St. Patrick's Day roast in Charlestown, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst said senators are excited about the prospects for offshore wind and the importation of hydroelectricity.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Wednesday announced the House would take up legislation to facilitate the competitive procurement of hydropower and the encouragement of wind power development. The speaker called offshore wind and hydro a "natural pair."

Ahead of the comedic event hosted by Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett, the Senate president said senators had been enthused by international visits to places where wind and water are harnessed for electricity.

"We had a team of senators go to Quebec and check out hydro. We had a group of senators go to Denmark, and they checked out offshore wind. Both groups came back enthusiastic and saw the value of heading in that direction, so I don't want to jump ahead of Senator Downing or the committee, but there's a lot of enthusiasm for the next chapter," Rosenberg said, referring to Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, the Senate chairman of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.

Rosenberg said, "Solar, we're king. Now we've got to figure out what we're going to on this hydro and the offshore wind. The offshore wind is an industry we can develop and move across the country."

House and Senate leaders have been unable since November to reconcile versions of solar energy legislation. Solar industry stakeholders say the stalemate is hurting jobs and stunting the industry's growth. Industry critics say Beacon Hill needs to rethink solar subsidies now that solar has gained a foothold in the local energy landscape.

The attendees were Sen. Kathleen O'Connor-Ives, along with Senate president Stan Rosenberg, Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, Senate President Pro Tem Marc Pacheco, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Sen. Michael Moore.

Around the same time Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka and Senate Assistant Majority Leader Mark Montigny visited Denmark with Pacheco, according to Rosenberg's office.


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