By Kathleen McKiernan
July 1, 2015
NEW BEDFORD — A national nonprofit working to advance clean energy has commended Massachusetts as a leader in the industry, particularly solar energy.
“Massachusetts has clearly been a leader in clean energy,” said Warren Leon, executive director at The Clean Energy States Alliance. “It’s hard to find another state where there is a multifaceted approach to helping support business.”
With its major research universities, active venture capital community and new energy technologies, Leon said it is not a surprise Massachusetts is an industry leader.
In 2014, the clean energy industry had more than 6,000 companies, according to CESA.
CESA highlighted Massachusetts in its recently released report that looks at ways in which individual states are advancing clean energy. It highlights 31 case studies of state programs that have been implemented around the country. CESA works with state leaders, federal agencies, industry representatives, and other stakeholders to develop and promote clean energy technologies and markets. This is the organization’s first report highlights efforts by states to advance clean energy projects.
The nonprofit sees the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center as integral to the state’s success as the agency pursues a broad, multifaceted approach to building the industry.
Since its creation in 2009, MassCEC provides investments to startup companies, energy rebates for residents and businesses and supports local development of a clean energy workforce, CESA said.
“We have seen a significant amount of growth in the clean energy sector in Massachusetts over the last four to five years,” said Jeremy McDiarmid, senior director for the Massachusetts CEC. “It’s becoming an important component of the overall economy.”
McDiarmid said the industry contributed to $10 billion in gross state product and employs 100,000 people.
“What makes Massachusetts stand out is the some of the success we had on economic development front and being able to track the growth of the industry,” he said.
MassCEC continuously looks at new technology and trends in the industry and works with the industry to develop programs, McDiarmid said.
Down the line, MassCEC will look at clean heating and cooling technology using solar hot water and clean biomass and implement programs that are affordable to low and moderate income households, he said.
In New Bedford, the city has negotiated 11 solar power and wind power agreements, which are projected to save the city roughly $30 million over the next 20 years in utility costs, according to the city’s Energy Office. Most recently, the city has negotiated a 20-year power purchase agreement with Con Edison Solutions for the Future Generation Wind Project in Plymouth. The project provides a 25 percent discount from the current Eversource electricity price. The city is expected to save about $7 million in electricity costs over the next 20 years and about $200,000 in the first year.
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By Kathleen McKiernan