Power Deal Could Be Costly To Ratepayers
After many months of backroom wheeling and dealing the legislative leadership and the Baker Administration have reached an agreement in principle on an energy bill.
While the final details must still be hammered out it is clear that the powerful green energy lobby has won the day with the bill introduced on Monday in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The bill aims to wean Massachusetts off of fossil fuels or "dirty energy" while focusing on renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower. The intent is good and perhaps someday it's lofty goals will be met, but for now consumers remain vulnerable to potential cost increases and supply shortages.
Somerset's Brayton Point coal-fired generating plant is slated to go off-line next year. The Montaup plant is already off-line and Plymouth's Pilgrim Nuclear Plant will shutter it's doors in 2019. By then Massachusetts will have lost some 10,000 megawatts of power generation capacity with no way to replace it. We need to continue to rely on natural gas until renewable energy sources can carry the load and that is still years away.
Working to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is a noble objective but the reality is it cannot happen in the near term. The Obama Administration has worked to put the coal industry out of business and the green energy lobby is flexing it's political muscle in opposition to new gas lines. The result of all of this will mean higher prices for Massachusetts energy consumers and that's bad for business. It could also lead to quick federal approval of the Acushnet LNG project as government officials understand that energy shortages and high prices could be a disaster for them politically.
To force existing energy producers to close before the power they generate can be replaced was shortsighted and we the rate payers will undoubtedly pay the price.