SEN. MARC PACHECO of Taunton raised an intriguing policy concern on Monday when he spoke out versus an arrangement in the Legislature’s budget that would fine-tune the way the state obtains offshore wind power.
Under legislation passed in 2016, each successive contract for overseas wind should come in at a cost below the last one. The clause was placed to secure ratepayers, but the winning bid of Vineyard Wind was so low that lots of are questioning whether companies will have the ability to come in listed below that price on the next procurement, particularly with a profitable federal tax credit for sustainable energy projects decreasing in worth.
Rep. Patricia Haddad, the speaker professional tempore, pressed for language in your home budget plan that would retain the declining cost cap but enable a variety of prices modifications, including for the accessibility of federal tax credits, inflation, rewards, and “mitigation efforts that, where practical, produce and promote employment and financial advancement in the Commonwealth.”
Haddad, who represents Somerset, is most concerned that if offshore wind rates keep dropping offshore wind developers will not purchase onshore supply chains that could imply tasks and tax incomes for her district. She’s not alone. Associated Industries of Massachusetts has also required comparable adjustments to the decreasing price cap.
The Senate, which did not deal with offshore wind prices in its budget plan, accepted the Home language crafted by Haddad, although spending plan negotiators did insert language restricting its reach to just the existing procurement for more offshore wind.
It’s not tough to see why the Senate supported your house language. Sen. Michael Rodrigues, the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the branch’s lead budget plan negotiator, represents Somerset (Haddad’s district) and surrounding towns looking to money in on the emerging overseas wind market.
Pacheco, nevertheless, believes the Legislature’s technique goes too far. He stated he recognizes the price of future offshore wind procurements could increase as federal tax credits reduce. He thinks the language consisted of in the last spending plan is improperly defined (what are “rewards?” he asks), guarantees costs will increase substantially, and needs electrical power ratepayers throughout the state to subsidize offshore wind development on the South Coast.
“The language goes method above what we ought to be doing,” he said on the Senate floor.
Pacheco is now calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to send the budget plan back with an amendment eliminating the decreasing price cap completely.
What Baker will do is unclear. His administration is a huge fan of keeping offshore wind rates as low as possible. The governor may attempt to keep the declining price cap in place, change the cap to show the disappearing federal tax credits (as a Boston World editorial recommended), or play with the legislative language in some other method to decrease rate walkings.
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