BlueWave’s Mark Sylvia Testifies in Support of an Increase in Massachusetts’ Renewable Portfolio Standard

Boston, MA – On Tuesday September 20, BlueWave Solar represented members of the clean energy industry of Massachusetts along with Ameresco and Anbaric in providing the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy with testimony in favor of increasing Massachusetts’ Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

BlueWave is proud of Massachusetts’ robust clean energy economy and believes that increasing the RPS will keep up the momentum of innovation in Massachusetts and meet citizen demand for access to renewable energy.

See the full text of the testimony below:

TESTIMONY OF MARK SYLVIA, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, BLUEWAVE SOLAR
BEFORE THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS, UTILITIES AND ENERGY
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 – 1PM, STATE HOUSE – ROOM A2

Good Afternoon, Chairman Golden, Chairman Barrett and members of the Committee.   Thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee today to provide testimony in favor of increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

For the record, my name is Mark Sylvia, I am the Managing Director for External Affairs at BlueWave Solar, a Boston based renewable energy company.  I am also President of the Solar Energy Business Association of New England, an industry association representing solar companies in Massachusetts and throughout New England.   Prior to joining BlueWave, I held various energy positions within the Patrick Administration including as Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources and Undersecretary for Energy.  Prior to that, I worked in local government as Town Manager for the Town of Plymouth.   Throughout my career in public service and now at BlueWave, I have seen how making clean energy available and accessible to our citizens and businesses provides long term environmental and economic benefits.

Founded in 2012, BlueWave now employs 50 people in Massachusetts, and 8 in California, North Carolina, South Carolina and South Africa.   We have installed over 100 MW of solar capacity in Massachusetts to date, have over 1,000 community solar customers including residents, affordable housing facilities, small businesses and municipalities saving them over $20.6 million over the life of their contracts   And we have provided residential solar loans to over 600 homeowners in Massachusetts, saving those customers, on average, $24,000 in electricity costs.

Businesses like BlueWave and the close to 500 other solar companies that exist in Massachusetts today, have grown the solar economy to approximately 14,500 jobs, a part of the clean energy economy that today employs over 100,000 people.

This is due in large part to nation leading laws enacted by the General Court, including the 2008 Green Communities Act, which among other things increased the RPS to 1% per year, and to the innovative policies implemented by the Patrick and Baker Administrations furthering our adoption of renewables through the SREC program and SMART.  

There are over 70,000 solar installations across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on homes, businesses, landfills, schools and municipalities driving millions of dollars in electricity savings to customers.  

This growth and the direct benefits to customers coupled with close to $5 billion dollars invested in solar in Massachusetts, and reductions in panel and incentive costs all demonstrate that the RPS is the most cost-effective way to grow the development of clean energy and reduce harmful carbon emissions, two things our existing laws require and our citizens demand.

Massachusetts has been a leader on society’s most pressing issues throughout our history, including the challenge of climate change.  We have always been thoughtful about both the environmental and economic impacts of these decisions.  The nation looks to our leadership on these issues. 

Some argue that any increase in the RPS will result in additional costs that outweigh the environmental, health and economic benefits.  In fact, Massachusetts has proven that investing in the clean energy economy, whether through energy efficiency or renewables, we are able to generate job growth, reduce costs and reduce carbon emissions. 

An increase in the RPS will continue this momentum, while supporting citizen demand for access to renewable energy.  It will generate more jobs, send important market signals to encourage further investment and development of renewables, will strengthen our ability to meet our GHG emissions reduction requirements and it will provide an important hedge against the price volatility of fossil fuels such as natural gas, which makes up 50% of our existing electricity generation.  Renewable energy has zero fuel cost – to take full advantage of this benefit, we must act now.

Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today.

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