...............................After all, the six New England states share an interlinked electric grid, workforce, and ecosystem. A cohesive New England strategy invariably improves results for pricing, port infrastructure, workforce development, stakeholder engagement, wildlife protection and environmental mitigation, equity in economic participation, and transmission infrastructure.
Finally, New England states must consider how to meaningfully improve racial equity. It is already clear that offshore wind will create material cost savings to low income ratepayers, a disproportionate number of whom are people of color. For example, the Commonwealth forecasts that ratepayers will save $5.1 billion over the 20-year contracts with our first two projects, Vineyard 1 and Mayflower Wind. Offshore wind also creates significant health benefits to residents living near fossil fuel power plants, a disproportionate number of whom are people of color. ISO-New England forecasts that between a sixth and a third of all the fossil fuel power plants in New England could retire in the next decade. As offshore wind comes online, dirty power plants will switch off, for good.
But we can do more to advance racial equity. Lawmakers should adopt policies to drive racial diversity and create employment pathways for people of color in offshore wind. The Environmental League is currently studying options and will be advocating for such measures in the next legislative session. One opportunity that stands out in our research is to amend a state’s offshore wind request for proposal process to include points or stated preferences for projects that embrace minority economic participation. In Massachusetts, the “Massport Model,” demonstrated by the Omni Hotel project, and the buildout of the Encore casino are two recent examples of this strategy at work.
2020 marks the start of the last, best decade to reverse course from a climate catastrophe........................................................
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