The US state of Massachusetts is set to procure more energy from hydropower and wind sources following Governor Charlie Baker’s signing of new energy legislation into law yesterday.

The Governor signed the legislation at the State House with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, legislative leaders, and energy and environment stakeholders. An Act Relative to Energy Diversity (H. 4568) garnered bi-partisan support and promotes the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to reducing energy costs while strengthening the state’s clean energy economy and progressing towards Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas reduction requirements.

The act requires utilities to competitively solicit and contract for approximately 1200MW of clean energy generation – base load hydropower, onshore wind and solar supported by hydropower, standalone onshore wind, solar, or other Class I renewable resources. In addition to recognizing the necessity of hydropower generation to provide reliable generation to meet Massachusetts’ energy demand and achieve the greenhouse gas emissions goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the legislation signed by Governor Baker also allows for the procurement of approximately 1600MW of offshore wind.

“Massachusetts is always at the forefront of adopting innovative clean energy solutions, and this legislation will allow us to build on that legacy and embrace increased amounts of renewable energy, including hydropower,” said Governor Baker. “With our partners in the Legislature, the Commonwealth has taken another major step towards providing residents and businesses with a cost-effective and reliable clean energy future.”

“The hydroelectric and offshore wind power generation authorized in this legislation will play a crucial role in securing clean and cost-effective energy for the Commonwealth’s ratepayers,” added Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By utilizing renewable sources of power generation, Massachusetts will continue to lead the nation in embracing economic and environmentally friendly methods to generate electricity to meet the needs of our communities.”

The news was praised by Canadian utility Hydro-Québec, which said in a statement legislation ‘recognizes the important role of hydropower in the supply mix’. The utility said it is innovative as it promotes options for hydropower to be paired with other variable renewable sources, such as wind and solar, to deliver blended renewable products to the marketplace. In this way, Massachusetts has created an opportunity, unavailable until now, to benefit from the flexibility and energy volume offered by large hydropower resources – and increased integration of local renewable resources.

"The action being taken in Massachusetts is bold and ensures that the mechanisms are in place for concrete progress to increase the state's reliance on clean energy based on competitive processes" said Hydro-Québec CEO Eric Martel. "Hydro-Québec is eager to begin the process of working with Massachusetts to implement the new law and to develop solutions that can meet the goals of the state for clean, stable and reliable sources of electricity."