Massachusetts House Passes Legislation to Boost Offshore Wind Development, Reduce Carbon Emissions

In an effort to meet the Commonwealth’s climate goals of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, the House of Representatives today passed legislation to further develop the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. The legislation will also modernize Massachusetts’ electrical grid and energy storage infrastructure, and create thousands of new jobs.

“I’m immensely proud of the steps that the House took today to ensure Massachusetts remains at the forefront of renewable energy development,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “Not only will this legislation help us reduce our carbon emissions and combat climate change, it will also spur economic development, modernize our energy infrastructure, and create thousands of new jobs in the process. I want to thank Chairman Roy for his hard work in advancing this legislation, as its passage today was undoubtedly a critical step in the right direction.”

“I am thrilled that today the House passed legislation crucial to the development of a strong offshore wind industry in Massachusetts,” said Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “Massachusetts waters have the greatest offshore wind potential out of the contiguous U.S., and this legislation will ensure that the Commonwealth is prepared to harness that energy while also creating a just and robust local economy, educational opportunities for our residents, and critical upgrades to our energy infrastructure without causing undue harm to our coastal habitats or maritime industries.”

“An Act advancing offshore wind and clean energy” (H.4515): 

  • Makes the Massachusetts offshore wind bidding process more competitive by removing a current price cap that requires bids to be less expensive than previous procurements that has deterred companies from participating in the procurement process. Future procurements would now include economic development, employment, and environmental and fisheries mitigation benefits.
  • Invests hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade in infrastructure, innovation, job training, supply chain capacity, and transmission upgrades. The legislation consists of tax incentives, grants, loans, and other investments.
  • Requires utility companies to proactively upgrade the transmission and distribution grid to improve reliability and resilience and accommodate the anticipated significant shift to renewable forms of energy.
  • Invests in long-term energy storage to help the Commonwealth’s transition to renewable energy.
  • Provides thousands of good-paying jobs with a focus on ensuring access and opportunity for everyone.
  • Creates a DESE high school offshore wind credential training pilot program through which DESE would reimburse school districts for each student that obtains the credential.

The legislation creates parity between electric and natural gas, imposing a charge for natural gas consumers to support renewable energy, similar to the charge electric customers currently pay. At a little over $1 a month for the average customer, this is estimated to collect $23 million a year over the next 10 years to support the Commonwealth’s transition to clean energy. By diversifying Massachusetts’ energy portfolio, Massachusetts will become more energy independent and less reliant on imported natural gas that is susceptible to volatile price spikes, thereby helping to stabilize ratepayer bills in the long term.

“An Act advancing offshore wind and clean energy” (H.4515) passed the House of Representatives 144-12. It now goes to the Senate for their consideration.