New Energy Coalition Calls for In-state Generated Electricity

The Massachusetts Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (Mass AREA) is committed to finding clean, low-cost and reliable electricity solutions that foster prosperity for all of Massachusetts. Founded this month, the diverse group of 23 leaders in state businesses, labor, academia and communities is moving quickly with an agenda to address the absence of plans for major new sources of in-state power.

“This issue is about jobs and so much more,” said Mass AREA founding member Gary Sullivan, President of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 369. “It’s about making sure we have abundant electricity so that hard-working families no longer pay a de facto, regressive tax from high electricity costs. It’s about making sure the lights stay on so that our poorest and most frail citizens are protected,” he said. UWUA 369 is affiliated with the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and based in Braintree. A wide array of organizations have recently warned of the serious electricity issues that face Massachusetts and New England, concerning high prices, potential blackouts, and an uncertain supply. These groups include the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North American Electric Reliability Council, and ISO-New England, the nonprofit operator of the region’s energy transmission grid. The Mass AREA has compiled the energy challenges facing Massachusetts on its website (link below). Robert Ruddock, Executive Vice President with the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which represents 7,600 employers including major manufacturers in the state and is a founding member of Mass AREA, also noted the seriousness of the current situation. “We need to act quickly and aggressively, while also resolving to sustain our efforts for years to come. Massachusetts will not remain a great place to do business if our energy infrastructure comes to resemble that of a second-class country,” said Ruddock. “For far too long the mantra of special interests has been ‘not-in-my-backyard.’ These NIMBY activists have had undue influence in the state when it comes to debating new energy projects,” said Mass AREA founding member Robert Hallisey, a retired Massachusetts Department of Health official. “Mass AREA will provide balance to the public discourse, pointing out the public good that many projects have and urging policy makers to move ahead with new ideas and proposals for power generation and transmission.” “The coalition will also support maintaining our current power facilities in the state so we do not become more dependent on out of state sources that are less reliable and could increase pollution,” said Hallisey. Through the development and promotion of public policy issue briefs, grassroots and media campaigns, and other educational activities, Mass AREA will pursue a multifaceted agenda that includes: — Supporting policies that will aid in the development of new, viable energy sources to bridge the growing supply gap and meet the growing demand for electricity. — Promoting a balanced portfolio of cost effective base-load and renewable energy sources. — Supporting the continued safe operations of existing power generation facilities in Massachusetts, including the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth and other facilities throughout the state. — Promoting energy efficiency and conservation practices to be applied at home and work. “The mission and purpose of Mass AREA is to raise awareness with policymakers and the general public about the economic and social benefits that will come from increasing the supply of in-state generated electricity, and the critical need to establishing it soon,” said David Bissaillon, President and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 1,300 businesses, professional firms, and organizations, and is an advisory member of Mass AREA.

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