(The Center Square) – New legislation in Massachusetts is directed at the growth and development of the state’s clean energy industry, Gov. Charlie Baker announced.
In a news release, Baker said his office would file legislation Thursday to funnel $750 million from the budget to establish the Clean Energy Management Fund, with a focus on supporting innovation, research and development, and job training in the energy sector.
“This legislation includes a historic, once-in-a-generation $750 million investment to spur the next phase of clean energy innovation and will help advance critical priorities in the offshore wind industry by making key policy changes to the procurement process, lifting the price cap on project proposals and transferring authority for selecting bids to DOER,” Baker said in the release. “Massachusetts continues to be a national leader for climate action and by utilizing federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, we can capitalize on this opportunity and strengthen our nation-leading clean energy industry.”
The Act to Power Massachusetts’s Clean Energy Economy, according to the release, will refine the state’s current offshore wind procurement process with an eye trained on increasing efficiency, and placing priority on economic development while creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.
The legislation, according to the release, will not feature a price cap provision for future allotment of offshore wind projects, which in turn will allow for greater investments in economic development, reliability, and energy storage.
The legislation creates the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, who will act as caretakers of the funding, according to the release. Monies from the American Rescue Plan Act will be utilized in the project, which is the largest investment in clean energy in the state.
Funding will be used to establish grants, loans, equity investments, contracts and other economic strategies, according to the release, designed to support future clean energy development.
As part of the legislation, according to the release, emphasis will be placed on supporting higher education and vocational schools to create the workforce with the necessary skills to work in the clean energy sector.
According to the release, the federal lease areas south of Martha’s Vineyard will be used to garner key investments and job creation by outlining key changes to the offshore wind sector to promote objectivity, economic development, while also ensuring equity and speed in future solicitations.
To accomplish those goals, according to the release, the Department of Energy Resources will select winning bidders for offshore wind energy sector. The legislation would also permit the department “the authority to make the final determinations of design aspects” and requests for proposals.