An investment in our future
The initial costs of alternative energy resources may seem daunting, but a clear look at our future shows Massachusetts can’t afford not to invest in cleaner, more efficient ways to produce energy.
Running on fossil fuels leaves Massachusetts vulnerable: to unsteady supplies, to out-of-state markets and price fluctuations, and to pollution that harms our health and environment. The best way to secure economic and environmental health is to make smart investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Energy efficiency is the lowest-cost alternative to fossil fuels, and Massachusetts is making nation-leading investments that reduce energy consumption, cut costs and emissions, and create jobs. They are also key to meeting the state’s clean energy and climate change reduction targets. Harnessing efficiency means we need less power overall, which makes it easier for Massachusetts to invest in nonpolluting alternatives without significant increases to the net energy bill.
Beyond the near-term benefits of efficiency, consistent and reasonable investments in renewables like wind and solar are critical to taking control of Massachusetts’ energy future. As we’ve seen with gasoline prices, there is little we can do when fuel prices spike. But with careful planning, the state can increase demand for new alternatives and tap into the entrepreneurship and ingenuity of our businesses and academic institutions.
We have - and should continue - to create markets for renewable energy that force power companies to compete on the cost to the environment as well as price. For example, the state’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to buy from wind, solar, and other nonpolluting producers, creates a competitive market that rewards the best, most cost-effective energy providers and drives investment to these innovators. It will push prices down over time, act as a hedge to volatile fossil fuel markets, and help mitigate climate change.
Massachusetts has a choice. We can let fossil fuel bills drain our wallets and pollute our air. Or we can invest in programs and technology that drive economic growth and innovation, and protect our environment. Upfront costs should be considerations, but not roadblocks to a clean energy future.
Jeremy McDiarmid is the Massachusetts director for Environment Northeast.