On August 11, 2022, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law An Act Driving Climate Policy Forward that was designed to, among other things, encourage the development of mid- to long-duration energy storage facilities, increase procurement of offshore wind, and reduce barriers to solar power on agriculture land.
To ensure the continued development of energy storage facilities in Massachusetts, the legislation requires that the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (the “DOER”) determine mid-duration and long-duration energy storage system deployment targets for use in Massachusetts, and to report, by December 2023, on means of financing and deploying these energy storage projects. The legislation also requires an evaluation of the need for 4,800 gigawatt-hours of storage from renewable generation.
With respect to offshore wind, the legislation increases offshore wind procurement to 5,600 MW a (1600 MW increase from the amount established by the legislature in 2021). Moreover, the legislation authorizes the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to develop tax incentives for those offshore wind companies that propose economic development plans.
The legislation creates a new commission to help reduce barriers to solar power on agricultural land. The reduced tax status of agricultural and horticultural land is preserved by the legislation when these lands are also used for renewable energy generation (provided there is ongoing agricultural and horticultural use), and land used for both renewable energy and agricultural purposes is protected from zoning regulation as if it were agricultural land.
This legislation will have broad impact on the energy industry.