Updated April 27 at 5:27pm

Gov. Patrick signs Mass. renewable energy legislation

BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick this month signed legislation that aims to protect Massachusetts ratepayers while providing greater “reliability and energy independence for all residents.” More

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Gov. Patrick signs Mass. renewable energy legislation

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BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick this month signed legislation that aims to protect Massachusetts ratepayers while providing greater “reliability and energy independence for all residents.”

The bill, “An Act Relative to Competitively Priced Electricity in the Commonwealth,” includes the extension of long-term contracts between the utilities and renewable energy companies, which will keep the supply of renewable energy credits in balance with growing demand.

The bill will lead to significant cost savings for ratepayers. Additionally, the extension helps reduce Massachusetts’ dependence on foreign sources of energy, keeping spending within the state.

The legislation also raises the cap on net metering, an incentive to customers who install renewable energy technologies. Customers can now run their meters backwards and sell power back to the distribution company for credits. The cap will rise to 3 percent for both public and private projects.

The legislation will also allow for long-term contracts as an incentive for companies that purchase coal-fired power plants and transition them to gas-fired generators. However, companies will have to agree to completely remediate the site.

“Producing ‘clean’ energy locally not only frees us from the volatile pricing of conventional generation, but also helps the environment,” Patrick said in a statement. “We can do that at a reasonable cost and this law helps.” •

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