Representative Steve Ultrino (D-Malden) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass energy legislation that seeks to protect the Commonwealth’s ratepayers and support clean energy. The bill requires distribution companies to conduct solicitations for 1,200 megawatts (MWs) of offshore wind and supports a total of 2,400 MWs of clean energy, the largest amount the Legislature has included in any single bill.

To spur the timely infusion of reliable clean energy projects in Massachusetts, the bill will also require distribution companies to conduct solicitations for up to 9,450,000 MWhs of energy from either hydropower, or hydropower and Class I renewable resources.

“This legislation represents a step forward on changing the way we look at renewable energy,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “Clean energy has an immense impact on working class families, who are struggling from high energy bills. We need to continue working towards the goal of promoting clean and affordable energy.”

“I’m proud that the House has taken a bold and forward-thinking step in addressing the complex and critical energy challenges facing Massachusetts,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “Through this bill, the House tackles these challenges head on, adopting a viable, real-world strategy that will stabilize costs, protect ratepayers and promote clean energy.”

Representative Ultrino was also part of a core group of legislators working under the leadership of Representative Lori Ehrlich, to pass an amendment that addresses the 25,000+ gas leaks in the Commonwealth. The amendment would remove the disincentive for gas companies to fix the leaks in addition to requiring leaks to be fixed while roads are already being worked on.

Other provisions include:

- All contract proposals must go through a competitive bidding process;

- Contracts must be determined to be cost-effective for ratepayers to be approved;

- Stipulates that eligible offshore wind developers must build projects in federally leased waters;

By creating a framework that includes both offshore wind and hydropower this legislation promotes a diverse energy portfolio that will replace some of the power the Commonwealth is losing from older, dirtier sources scheduled to shut down. With a similarly forward-looking perspective, the focus on offshore wind will cultivate a new industry and create jobs here in Massachusetts.

The legislation includes a series of ratepayer protections including a requirement that the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Attorney General jointly-select an independent evaluator to assist the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to determine whether the procurement process is open, fair, and transparent.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.