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Renewable energy bills subject of Statehouse public hearing

Massachusetts’ energy future moves to the top of the Statehouse agenda, with Gov. Charlie Baker set to make the case for his two top renewable energy bills at a public hearing.

One bill would require Massachusetts utilities to work with the state Department of Energy Resources to pursue long-term contracts for bringing hydropower into the state.

Baker has also long expressed interest in adding Canadian hydropower to the state’s energy portfolio.


A second bill would raise existing caps on the state’s “net metering” program that allows homeowners, businesses and local governments to sell excess solar power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange for credit on their bills.

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The proposals are among several energy-related bills to be heard by the Legislature’s Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy on Tuesday.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg (follow Sen. Rosenberg on Twitter) both say they want to pass major renewable energy legislation.

DeLeo says he would prefer a single bill encompassing different kinds of renewable power.

“My first desire is to see that we get the omnibus bill done,” the Winthrop Democrat told reporters Monday. “I think that’s probably the best way to go because it gives us the opportunity to make sure that all forms of energy are considered, and considered equally.”

Rosenberg said he’s less concerned about the form of the legislation than the need to give an added boost to the state’s reliance on renewable energy.

“I don’t care whether it comes over in one bill or a bunch of bills,” the Amherst Democrat said after meeting with DeLeo and Baker Monday. “We’ve just got to get a serious set of policies in place for our energy future. It’s got to be secure, as green as possible, and let’s get a lot of energy conservation done at the same time.”

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Read the rest of the story at Boston