Governor Mitt Romney today outlined a long term energy plan that seeks to better manage the energy needs of Massachusetts.
“If we do nothing, the high cost of energy will go even higher and residents and businesses will have to pay more,” said Romney. “By taking control of our energy future, we’ll save hundreds of millions of dollars and continue growing our economy.”
Currently, the state faces billions of dollars in new federally mandated energy surcharges, potential issues with energy reliability at extremely hot and cold times of the year and a small and slow-growing renewable energy sector.
Romney said the four steps necessary to take control include becoming more energy efficient, diversifying and increasing our energy supply, fixing our inadequate energy infrastructure and leading the nation in developing advanced energy technologies.
First, to become more energy efficient, the Governor proposes to create new electricity energy efficiency programs for homes and business as well as implement new electricity rates that encourage energy efficiency at peak times. He will also issue directives requiring energy efficiency measures for current and future state buildings. Romney supports state tax incentives for the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles, a measure currently pending in the legislature.
Second, Romney supports diversifying and increasing the energy supply through renewable wood, hydro and wind power developments as well as the use of environmentally friendly biofuels in state vehicles and buildings.
Third, the Governor proposes a reduction of utility rates on companies that install their own clean, on-site power generation capabilities. He will also make a decision this fall on proposals to expand our natural gas supply to address infrastructure needs.
Finally, Romney advocates an expansion of our emerging energy technology sector and energy research in the state’s research universities. The Governor proposes creating new partnerships between business and universities to speed the commercialization of these technologies to create new jobs in the advanced energy marketplace. This will help make Massachusetts a world leader in energy technology, similar to how the state is a leader in biotechnology.
“We have estimated that these four steps will save Massachusetts’ residents and businesses more than $575 million over the next 10 years,” said Romney. “The choice is clear – we can sit back and watch costs continue to rise or we can put in place a plan that makes Massachusetts a model for energy usage.”
The Governor has instructed several agencies including the Executive Office of Economic Development and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to immediately begin implementing these steps.
“The cost and reliability of energy is a major issue of economic competitiveness for employers and impacts the state’s ability to attract and retain employers and create jobs,” said Christopher Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council. “The Governor has put forth a plan that has concrete actions to address our energy needs for today and the future.”
“Massachusetts has the combination of world class research universities, high tech innovators and entrepreneurs to develop clean energy technologies, and I commend Governor Romney for including this as a key element of his energy plan.” said President Susan Hockfield of MIT.
“We applaud the Governor’s push on advanced energy technologies and believe Massachusetts can become the clear industry leader,” said Jack M. Wilson, president for the University of Massachusetts. “The Lowell campus helped launch Konarka Technologies, a developer of solar technologies, and the Amherst campus has already established bio-energy science and engineering programs to help develop renewable energy devices that use fuels of the future like hydrogen and new organic materials.”
“Through the Trust’s efforts to help grow the clean energy cluster, businesses are thriving and developing new technologies in Massachusetts,” said Warren Leon, director of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust. “Businesses and consumers are taking advantage of rebates to install solar and wind power that result in significant economic and environmental benefits. We appreciate the Governor’s efforts to focus attention on a sector that can produce savings to companies and individuals as well as generate new jobs.”