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October 29, 2014
Driving clean energy
By Timothy P Fagan, Senior Legal Editor - EHS

At the recent Air and Waste Management Association – New England Section’s fall conference, Massachusetts DEP Commissioner David Cash spoke of the state’s dramatic progress on the clean energy front and drivers of clean energy going forward.

In 2008, Massachusetts had 3.64 MW of installed solar power, but by 2014 that total jumped to 643 MW and the state has a goal of 1,600 MW by 2020.  The dramatic increase is also accompanied by a drop in installed cost from $6-8/watt in 2010 to $3-5/watt in 2013.  While siting issues have hampered wind energy development in Massachusetts, improvements are being realized.  In addition, $3 billion of investments in energy efficiency over a 3-year period are returning almost $9 billion in benefits.

The environmental benefits of clean energy are obvious but they do not resonate with everyone. Therefore, according to Commissioner Cash, to keep driving clean energy forward it is important to overlap the environmental benefits with an economic imperative.  For that reason, he emphasized a message that integrates the economic benefits of clean energy with the environmental and energy benefits.  An integrated approach can tout:

  • Lower energy costs and less price volatility;
  • Growing a clean energy economy and creating jobs;
  • Increasing energy independence; and
  • Protecting the environment for future generations.
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