House Votes on Offshore Wind & Grid Modernization
PHOTO: A worker repairs an offshore wind turbine in the waters off of Block Island.
On Thursday, March 3rd, the House passed a bill related to the advancement of offshore wind and clean energy initiatives throughout Massachusetts. The bill follows the passage of a bill last year intended to decrease the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 to combat climate change. These laws will help us meet these goals and achieve greater energy independence as a Commonwealth.
Offshore wind energy is the collection and generation of electricity through wind from bodies of water. The purpose of this bill is to encourage collaborative research and development between differing entities to address barriers facing these offshore wind companies and strengthen initiatives, innovation and growth of these efforts throughout the Commonwealth. It also intends to fund the manufacturing of new or existing technologies as well as offshore wind research.
An Act Advancing Offshore Wind and Clean Energy creates a Massachusetts offshore wind industry investment program made up of certified offshore wind companies and will work in conjunction with the Department of Revenue. This program will encourage renewable energy-related innovations.
A Grid Modernization Advisory Council will be created by April of next year in wake of the passage of this bill. All electric companies will be instructed to submit to this advisory council a plan to update their distribution and transmission systems to improve reliability and storage as well as to ensure better preparation for potential climate-driven impacts.
The bill will establish an Environmental Working Group and a Fisheries Working Group responsible for limiting the impacts made on the wildlife, natural resources, and ecosystems within the offshore wind industry. These working groups, and by extension this Act, will ensure that all efforts maximize benefits from this clean energy while reducing the harm made on marine life and coastal communities.
To read more on the bill, see opinion piece “Offshore wind is the future for Massachusetts,” by Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano and Chairman Jeffrey N. Roy in the Boston Globe.
PHOTO: Last year, Rep Driscoll joined a number of House colleagues on a tour of wind turbines off of the coast of Rhode Island.