Barrett is a vocal advocate for shifting Massachusetts from fossil fuels to renewables. But he worries that voters will push back if energy prices go too high. He argues that the auctions have worked fine with the rate cap — Mayflower Wind stayed under the cap, even though it didn’t need to in 2019 — and that it should remain in place. He said he fears a “ratepayer rebellion” could break out, not just against higher electric rates, but also broader climate policies, if offshore wind costs start driving up electric bills in a noticeable way.
Barrett also worries that the House bill puts too much emphasis on offshore wind at the expense of other forms of clean energy. And he expects the Senate will also include language to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation and building sectors as well. As a result, it’s hard to know when the Senate will put forward its version. If the Legislature stays true to form on controversial bills, we may not see a compromise until July, at the end of the year’s formal legislative sessions.