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On Tuesday, March 22, Governor Charlie Baker received bipartisan support from three former secretaries of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to diversify the Commonwealth’s energy portfolio with the generation of hydropower.

“I appreciate the support from our state’s former top energy officials as our administration aims to pursue a balanced, diversified energy portfolio through the pursuit of hydroelectric power,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

Governor Baker and current EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton met with former secretaries Maeve Vallely-Bartlett, Rick Sullivan and Ian Bowles to discuss the need to stabilize electricity rates in New England, meet the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Act goals and provide ratepayers with clean, affordable energy alternatives to fossil fuels.

“The policy is right and it’s balanced and it makes sense. It makes sense from an environmental point of view,” said Rick Sullivan who served as Secretary from 2011 to 2014, and currently serves as CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council. “The Commonwealth is a national leader in clean energy and has built a world class clean energy industry that is increasing homegrown energy and reducing carbon emissions. We must build on this success while continuing to work to reduce the high cost of energy for residents and businesses across Massachusetts. Bringing in cost-effective large scale hydro and other renewable energy resources is critical to these efforts.”

In July, the Baker-Polito Administration filed Senate Bill 1965, An Act Relative to Energy Sector Compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act. The bill requires Massachusetts utilities to jointly, and competitively, solicit long-term contracts for clean energy generation resources and associated transmission together with the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).  Introducing greater competition among utility companies will allow greater savings to consumers. These savings will be critical over the next decade as more of the region’s power plants go off line.

“Bringing additional hydropower to Massachusetts is vitally important to achieving our environmental objectives and curbing winter electricity prices swings,” said Ian Bowles who served as Secretary from 2007 to 2011. “I give credit to Governor Baker for pursuing a multi-pronged energy policy including hydro resources, additional wind development and continued growth in solar power and energy efficiency savings.”

“The Baker Administration has moved forward very comfortably, very strongly on having a combination of energy resources to bring economic stability to our energy crisis as well as meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act,” said Maeve Vallely-Bartlett who served as Secretary from 2014-2015.

In addition to the benefits this legislation will bring to the regional electricity market, clean energy generation will position Massachusetts to reach its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. A recent update to Massachusetts’ Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 concluded that the Commonwealth is well-positioned to meet, or exceed, a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 25% by 2020 through the full implementation of the Baker-Polito Administration’s energy policies, including hydropower as well as solar and wind.

“I thank former Secretaries Bowles, Sullivan, and Vallely-Bartlett for their endorsement of the Baker-Polito Administration’s legislation for the procurement of hydroelectric power, which will provide needed generation capacity, while positioning the Commonwealth to achieve our Global Warming Solutions Act goals,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “As part of the administration’s balanced approach to making the necessary investments in our regional energy infrastructure, this legislation strikes an important balance between climate and environmental awareness, and the Commonwealth’s need for clean, reliable, cost-effective generation resources.”

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