Report: With Hydro, State on Track to Meet Pollution Goals

COURTESY PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION

COURTESY PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration says Massachusetts is on track to meet ambitious state goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

But officials cautioned in a report Tuesday that success may hinge on legislative approval of a plan to import more Canadian hydropower into the state.

The report also said the loss of the state’s only nuclear power plant, and largest non-emitting electricity generation source, will present a significant challenge, reversing some of the gains achieved by replacing coal-fired electric generation with lower emitting, more efficient gas-fired generation.

Entergy, which owns the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, said last year that they would close the facility no later than 2019.

“However, new supplies of clean electricity, such as renewables and hydropower, will help if fully implemented before 2020,” according to the report.

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, signed by then-Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, establishes benchmarks for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

One benchmark cuts emissions from 1990 levels by 25 percent by 2020, and another cuts emissions 80 percent by 2050.

State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beacon says the 25-percent goal is “attainable” if the report’s recommendations are fully implemented.

Baker, a Republican, has filed a bill that calls on utilities to pursue long-term contracts for Canadian hydro.

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