Five New England governors met yesterday in Hartford, Connecticut, to talk about increasing the region’s energy supply. No solutions are set in stone, but environmental advocates are concerned proposals rely too heavily on natural gas.
Gov. Gina Raimondo said this winter New England’s average wholesale electricity prices were significantly higher than neighboring regions. And those high prices are tough on consumers and businesses. Raimondo said at the regional meeting, the governors committed to provide relief.
“You know, we have a problem," said Raimondo. "We don’t have enough energy supply and our car prices are high and our volatility is high and there is no one solution. We have to focus on energy efficiency, as well as a move to renewables, as well as more energy infrastructure and expanded natural gas.”
The governors are pushing to expand natural gas pipelines and invest in Canadian hydropower. Environmental advocates say the governors are right to see this energy challenge as an opportunity to invest in the region. But they say expanding natural gas pipelines and supporting Canadian hydropower are not the right solutions for improving the economy or the environment.
Drew Grande, senior campaign organizer with the Sierra Club in New England, said Raimondo is following the wrong lead.
“What she should be doing when she’s looking at Massachusetts is following the lead in solar with the 700 megawatts of solar that’s been installed there,” said Grande. “It’s put 12,000 people to work in the solar industry just in Massachusetts and that’s something that’s been lacking in Rhode Island.”
Advocates with the Conservation Law Foundation are also concerned about what they consider is an oversized role of natural gas in the governors' proposals. Energy companies like National Grid are commending the governors for considering natural gas and Canadian hydropower.
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