Natural gas wrong answer for region’s energy needs

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Your recent editorial is right to ask where Massachusetts’ energy will come from in the future (“Showing some signs of an energy answer,” above).

But natural gas is the wrong answer.

Spending billions of dollars on new or expanded gas pipelines will keep Massachusetts hooked on a fuel whose price is only likely to go up over the long term. Our dependence on gas and other fossil fuels is accelerating the pace of global warming and contributing to a rise in extreme weather events like this winter’s snow storms, which reduce our economic competitiveness and impose heavy costs on local and state government.

Rather than build a fast lane for energy dollars to leave the state, we should invest in local, clean energy. Solar is already helping to bring down energy costs for thousands of homeowners, small businesses, and local governments. And energy efficiency is a smart strategy for reducing the periods of peak demand that caused this winter’s electric rate spike.

Within the next 10 years, we can get at least 20 percent of Massachusetts’ electricity from solar, and we can tap into our state’s tremendous offshore wind potential. If we’re serious about fighting global warming while keeping energy costs in check, solar, wind and energy efficiency are the right way to go.

Ben Hellerstein

Campaign Organizer,

Environment Massachusetts

Boston