CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts could soon start using more renewable energy sources, as state lawmakers are considering a bill that would make hydroelectric and wind power a larger part of the state’s energy mix.
The energy bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, with some lawmakers calling it, “a critical step” to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The legislation would require utilities to enter into long-term contracts to buy an additional 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydro-electricity and offshore wind. It would also require utilities to evaluate the renewable energy sources, to make sure they’re reasonable and cost-effective.
If it becomes law, the state would get about 20% of its electricity from renewable energy sources.
This legislation also comes after several nuclear power plants in New England have shut down in recent years, including the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Station in Vermont, which stopped producing power in 2014.
Many environmental activists are arguing the House bill doesn’t go far enough in promoting renewable energy. The New England Power Generators Association also criticized the bill, claiming long term contracts could force consumers to pay more money.
The bill still needs to be debated and passed by the Senate before it reaches the Governor’s desk.
Governor Baker is a proponent of the legislation. He said he hopes to sign the bill into law before the legislative session concludes at the end of July.