Commonwealth Magazine: Lawmakers have more work to do on energy

Christopher Carlozzi, the Massachusetts state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, calls on the legislature to address the state’s energy shortfall in the next session:

In January, ISO-New England, the non-profit operator of our grid, warned the state might be facing rolling blackouts due to a shortage of natural gas, which provides the majority of Massachusetts electricity. At the time, some scoffed at the possibility we might run out of energy if we failed to act.

Now, after using 2 million barrels of oil inside of a few weeks that left us hours from electricity rationing, no one is laughing anymore. The author of a 2015 report that brushed aside reliability concerns made an abrupt about-face this spring, arguing that meeting the region’s need for electricity “is getting harder, not easier” and asking: “Will anything but a blackout coalesce states around an infrastructure solution?”

It need not come to that. Ending the practice of burning our dirtiest fuels to generate power during cold weather and other periods of high demand doesn’t require a full-scale energy reset. It simply requires policymakers to acknowledge that we shouldn’t be taking clean and reliable alternative options, like natural gas, off the table until our economy can be fully powered by renewables.

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