Nov. 15, 2016
The Commonwealth’s omnibus energy law, enacted last summer, will likely pave the way for three big offshore wind projects that promise to supply a total of 1,600 megawatts of electricity, or about 15 percent of the total Massachusetts load, according to Amber Hewett, regional campaign coordinator for the National Wildlife Fund, who will lecture on the topic at the Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington Street, Quincy at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. Quincy Climate Action Network is cosponsoring the lecture with the library.
Offshore wind will bring major economic gains to the state, as well as huge gains in clean energy, said Hewett, who helped lead the NWF’s campaign in support of the new law, which requires utilities to buy competitively priced electric power from wind projects in three federal lease areas off the Massachusetts coast. Why would a wildlife organization get involved in an issue like energy production? “It’s really about climate change,” Hewett said. “The NWF sees climate change as among the greatest threats to wildlife. We need to dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels, and offshore wind is clearly part of the answer.”
Transportation costs and the sheer size of the offshore wind projects will dictate that the turbines be built locally, fueling the growth of a new industry here, she added. Offshore wind, she said, is already booming in Western Europe, supporting some 75,000 jobs there.
As to the timing of the Massachusetts projects, she said, “As long as the bill is implemented on time, we could have offshore wind up and running by 2021 or 2022.” The offshore wind developers, she said, “are ready to get started and place bids to be the developer that gets to do the first project. Now that the energy bill has been passed, we clean energy supporters need not to go away.…We need to thank Governor Baker for his leadership on offshore wind and let him know we’re excited to see it moving forward.”