Romney unveils long term energy plan:
“Governor Mitt Romney today outlined a long term energy plan that seeks to better manage the energy needs of Massachusetts.
“ "If we do nothing, the high cost of energy will go even higher and residents and businesses will have to pay more," said Romney. "By taking control of our energy future, we’ll save hundreds of millions of dollars and continue growing our economy." ...
“Romney said the four steps necessary to take control include becoming more energy efficient, diversifying and increasing our energy supply, fixing our inadequate energy infrastructure and leading the nation in developing advanced energy technologies.
“First, to become more energy efficient, the Governor proposes to create new electricity energy efficiency programs for homes and business as well as implement new electricity rates that encourage energy efficiency at peak times. He will also issue directives requiring energy efficiency measures for current and future state buildings. Romney supports state tax incentives for the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles, a measure currently pending in the legislature.
“Second, Romney supports diversifying and increasing the energy supply through renewable wood, hydro and wind power developments as well as the use of environmentally friendly biofuels in state vehicles and buildings.
“Third, the Governor proposes a reduction of utility rates on companies that install their own clean, on-site power generation capabilities. He will also make a decision this fall on proposals to expand our natural gas supply to address infrastructure needs.
“Finally, Romney advocates an expansion of our emerging energy technology sector and energy research in the state’s research universities. The Governor proposes creating new partnerships between business and universities to speed the commercialization of these technologies to create new jobs in the advanced energy marketplace. This will help make Massachusetts a world leader in energy technology, similar to how the state is a leader in biotechnology.
“ "We have estimated that these four steps will save Massachusetts’ residents and businesses more than $575 million over the next 10 years," said Romney. "The choice is clear – we can sit back and watch costs continue to rise or we can put in place a plan that makes Massachusetts a model for energy usage."
“The Governor has instructed several agencies including the Executive Office of Economic Development and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to immediately begin implementing these steps...”
“Gov. Mitt Romney today announced an energy plan to meet rising energy demands in Massachusetts, including a push to invest in energy technologies in the Bay State.
“ "We want to encourage development of the sectors in energy technologies," Romney said during a news conference.
“Investments in an energy technology cluster would be similar to those state-sponsored investments in the biotechnology cluster in recent years, Romney said. Deep sea off-shore wind power generation was one area mentioned by the governor as a point of interest. The ultimate goal would be to create sector jobs while fulfilling the state's long-term energy needs...
“Romney's 10-year plan includes strategies to entice consumers to reduce consumption and expand the state's natural gas supply. The plan also encourages adoption of renewable energy sources such as wind...
“ "We want to have a clean energy future," said Romney.”
Governor Romney provides for 20% increase in Massachusetts' natural gas:
“Governor Mitt Romney today approved two liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivery terminals for eventual construction off the coast of Gloucester. The Governor’s action will help Massachusetts meet its growing natural gas supply needs without compromising public safety while minimizing environmental damage.
“ "Energy consumers have long recognized natural gas as a clean and efficient source of power, but our ability to supply this fuel has not kept pace with demand," said Romney. "These new terminals will allow us to safely expand gas supply without undue harm to the environment or to the fishing industry that is Gloucester’s lifeblood."
“The Governor’s approval, required under the Deep Water Port Act, pertains to two proposed LNG terminals, the Northeast Gateway and Neptune projects, to be sited in federal waters approximately 13 and 7 miles south-southeast of Gloucester, respectively.
“Rising natural gas prices and the increased use of gas for electric power generation have highlighted the need for Massachusetts to increase its supplies of natural gas. Together, the two facilities would have the potential to provide on average an extra one billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to New England, a 20 percent increase over current peak supply that will help to enhance reliability and lower energy costs.
“In addition to increasing overall gas supply, the new terminals will allow Massachusetts to become less reliant on gas shipments to the Distrigas LNG facility in Everett. On the coldest winter days, when demand is highest, roughly a third of the natural gas consumed in Massachusetts is provided by this facility. While deliveries there will continue, the addition of new offshore terminals will permit new deliveries without the risks associated with transporting gas through populated areas. Expanding the number of supply sources will also make Massachusetts less reliant on the gas it receives by more expensive transmission methods, such as interstate pipelines...”
Romney signs bills for energy conservation and price relief:
“The first bill signed by Governor Romney appropriates $20 million in fuel assistance for low income Massachusetts residents who are eligible for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). With the state’s contribution, eligible households will be able to receive as much as $840 towards heating bill payments this winter.
“This legislation also:
“• Allows a personal income tax deduction of up to $800 for home heating costs incurred between November 1, 2005 and March 31, 2006. To qualify, taxpayers must earn less than $50,000 if they are single filers, or not more than $75,000 if filing jointly.
“• Provides a one-time tax credit for homeowners who purchase energy-efficient heating products equal to 30% of the cost of the products up to $600 for a single family home and $1000 for a multi-family home. Examples of eligible products include new windows, advanced programmable thermostats, insulation, weather stripping and fuel-efficient furnaces, boilers and hot water systems.
“• Establishes a one-year, zero or low-interest loan program to help residents improve the efficiency of their homes. The state will subsidize the interest on private loans in order to allow consumers to purchase and install energy efficient items in their homes.
“• Provides a one-time corporate excise tax credit to businesses that purchase solar water heating systems equal to 15%, or $300 – whichever is less – of the cost to purchase and install the systems...
“Romney also signed into law a companion bill establishing new minimum efficiency standards for products such as residential furnaces and boilers. Manufacturers and retailers would be required to sell only highly efficient furnaces and boilers in Massachusetts, prompting significant long term savings for consumers.
“ "These new efficiency standards are part of a long term solution to the energy challenges we face. Clean energy technologies will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, air pollution and long-term energy costs," Romney said.
“The legislation also establishes new standards for other products such as AC/DC transformers, metal halide lamps, and state regulated incandescent reflector lamps. Massachusetts will join states such as California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington and New York in setting standards for these products.”
Governor provides energy assistance, cost savings education:
“ "As a state, Massachusetts and its people have led the way in pursuing energy efficient programs for our homes and businesses," said Romney. "This year, it’s especially important for consumers to know that winter doesn't have to burn a hole in their wallet. Families can save hundreds of dollars by following some common sense tips." ...
“Massachusetts recently launched a number of statewide education efforts to give residents access to information on energy savings opportunities and tips for daily energy conservation to ease the expected high cost of winter heating. One recommendation is to install or replace weatherstripping windows and doors – for a potential savings of $128 this winter – which Romney did himself at home this past weekend...
“Low-income residents in Massachusetts are expected to be particularly affected by increases in energy costs this winter. With heating prices on the rise, Romney and Governor Granholm of Michigan have led an effort among the nation’s governors to obtain approximately $1.3 billion in emergency federal fuel assistance funding through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).”
Governor Romney takes precautions to prevent blackouts:
“A day after massive blackouts hit the Northeast, Governor Mitt Romney moved quickly today in announcing the appointment of Paul G. Afonso as the new Chairman of the Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE), which regulates the utility industry in Massachusetts.
“Romney also announced the formation of a task force led by Afonso and comprised of industry and state officials to look into the state’s preparedness to deal with a similar catastrophe and determine if any new measures are necessary to keep power disruptions from spreading.
“ "We are fortunate that we were not severely affected by the power outages," said Romney. "The New England power grid worked as it should have, cutting ties to other regional grids and isolating our area, but we need to take stock of what happened and take precautions as necessary." ”