An effort to jolt Massachusetts’ reliance on solar and wind projects has surged in recent years, powered in part by an increase in lobbying by supporters of renewable energy.
In 2015, nearly two dozen renewable energy companies and advocacy groups poured more than $1.5 million into lobbying in an effort to get their voices heard by Beacon Hill lawmakers, according to an Associated Press review of state lobbying records.
Just five years ago, in 2010, only five of the 23 companies had spent anything on lobbying.
The surge comes as lawmakers and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker are wrestling with a host of renewable energy issues, from paving the way for Canadian hydropower to debating the future of solar power credits.
The spike also comes amid a fast-changing energy landscape in Massachusetts.
Earlier this month, the owners of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant announced they will shutter the facility in May 2019.
A week later, Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. said it was scrapping plans for a $3.3 billion natural gas pipeline from New York into New England through western Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
One the biggest energy battles at the Statehouse this session was also resolved this month, when Baker signed a bill designed in part to help jumpstart a stalled solar energy projects in Massachusetts by raising caps on the state’s net metering program.
Net metering allows homeowners, solar developers and municipal governments to sell excess power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange for credit. Existing net metering caps had been reached in much of Massachusetts, stalling some solar projects.