The electric sector is the backbone of greening the grid, said Peter Shattuck, Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative Director and Director of the Massachusetts Office. How do we green the grid? Shift gas vehicles and fossil fuel heated buildings to electricity; follow California and New York’s lead and target 50% renewables by 2030; extend RGGI (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative); increase energy efficiency; adopt time varying rate charges; and develop energy storage solutions. Such policies pay off: for example, every $1 invested in energy efficiency generates $2.40 in returns.
Offshore wind delivers energy when and where it is needed most, Matthew Morrissey, the founding Managing Director of Offshore Wind Massachusetts, pointed out. In 2015 the offshore wind industry grew 40% globally and had 10,000MW in operation. The prequalified lease areas off the Massachusetts coast have 8,000MW of offshore wind generating capacity. This offshore wind will be fully competitive with fossil fuels by 2020-2030, even at the modest procurement level the Massachusetts legislature currently is considering. Developing the industry to scale will further drive down the price of this local, clean energy resource.