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MA Businesses Say Solar Rules Will Add $250 Million in Energy Costs

GovDevalPatrickBusinesses, energy suppliers and business groups in Massachusetts are complaining that a new state mandate to increase  solar power could cost electricity customers up to $250 million more annually, reports the Boston Herald.

In a worst-case-scenario, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources said that the new “solar carve out” rules could cost about $250 million a year, starting in 2015 and remain above that level for five years, before slowly decreasing later in the next decade.

In addition to their biggest complaint about increased electricity costs at a time when the economy is weak and electricity prices are higher in Massachusetts than other parts of the nation, businesses told the Boston Herald that the new mandate also impacts existing energy contracts and sets uncertain quotas for future solar use.

However, Ian Bowles, Gov. Deval Patrick’s secretary of energy and the environment, told the newspaper that the solar mandates will account for less than 1 percent of overall energy costs and usage in Massachusetts, and the monthly price per average homeowner will be about 50 cents to 60 cents over the years.

According to an opinion piece from Cooler Planet, the monthly cost of 50 to 60 cents is a cheap way to grow solar energy and is still less than the total spent on fossil fuel subsidies at $72 billion in 2009, compared to $29 billion spent on renewable energy technologies.

Earlier this year, the  state of Massachusetts launched a new financing plan that allows the Commonwealth to fund energy efficient and renewable energy projects at dozens of state buildings that will save millions of dollars in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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2 thoughts on “MA Businesses Say Solar Rules Will Add $250 Million in Energy Costs

  1. In addition to the valid counter-arguments from the MA secretary of energy and from Cooler Planet, it should be noted that the biggest complaint noted in the story is about “increased electricity costs at a time when the economy is weak” – but that complaint is entirely incorrect.

    The story notes that the new state mandate “could cost about $250 million a year, starting in 2015 and remain above that level for five years, before slowly decreasing later in the next decade”. A weak economy now, in 2010, does not translate to a weak economy in 2015 – five years down the road. The economic recovery will have long since been completed by then.

    This argument is nothing more than a scare tactic being used by businesses to delay, or avoid, the mandate. Once again, we are hearing the same run-around from special interest groups who are out to maintain their stake in the status quo. This is quite frankly unacceptable.

    Business owners and others on the other side of this fence need to be asked these questions. Is your business a part of our society? Does it use Earth’s natural resources? Does it rely on Earth’s infrastructure to accept and recycle (eventually) it’s waste products? Then your business MUST accept it’s share of the burden, and it’s share of the responsibility. ‘Business as usual’ just doesn’t cut it anymore.

    We must all participate, we must all act in our collective best interests to avoid the worst of the global climate change threat.

  2. As a solar installer, I probably have a biased opinion. However, I think the focus that Massachusetts is putting on developing solar resources will put us ahead of the rest of the country. Look at California and New Jersey, who have one of the strongest solar industries in the country. The companies developed in these states have created numerous jobs in the clean energy industry and these companies are going to capitalize on this advantage in the rest of the country.

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