Haverhill’s Solar Energy Future at Stake in Legislative Fight

Then-U.S. Senator John F. Kerry greets Barbara L'Italien and Rep. Brian S. Dempsey at a prior breakfast.

Sen. Barbara L’Italien and Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, are playing key roles in shaping a solar power debate on Beacon Hill. They are shown here with former Sen. John F. Kerry at a Haverhill Democratic City Committee event several years ago.

Haverhill has benefited recently from energy generated from solar farms, but utility-promoted limits threaten future progress.

Little progress was made at the end of the legislative session in raising such “net metering” caps, but Beacon Hill leaders, such as Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, hope to reach a compromise during informal sessions before the beginning of the new year. A joint conference committee with the state senate last week ended without resolution after only 15 minutes.

“We initiated (today’s) meeting to demonstrate a commitment to resolution as soon as we can, but the issues aren’t necessarily easily resolved,” Dempsey said, according to State House News Service. Some state senators, however, complained the house version of the bill was unduly influenced by utilities such as National Grid, that oppose lifting the caps.

An amendment to the senate version of the bill would “ensure the future growth of community shared solar and virtual metering while grandfathering existing projects,” said Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover).

The two bodies will be negotiating over the next few weeks, during informal session, to “come to agreement on a final unified proposal to send to the governor for enactment, L’Italien said. “Promoting continued solar growth is essential to help Massachusetts reach the goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions established in the Global Warming Solutions Act.”

2 thoughts on “Haverhill’s Solar Energy Future at Stake in Legislative Fight

  1. Given the ignorant comments coming from these hacks it’s tough to tell if they’re lying like they normally do, or if they’re just plain stupid. Once the federal government does away with the energy tax credits for new solar projects in 2016 that will essentially end new investments. What business in their right mind would invest in new facilities when there would be ‘any’ cap how much revenue they can generate from the production of those investments?