HARTFORD, Conn. – New England’s governors agreed Thursday to a mix of regional and state actions to cut persistently high energy costs.

Five of the region’s six governors said they will work across the region while each state pursues individual projects. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan did not attend the Hartford meeting.

“Obviously it involves a little bit of everything,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.

Solutions will include renewable energy such as solar and wind power and natural gas, he said.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker also said the governors are considering a range of energy choices to help reduce costs.

“I prefer to think of it as sort of an all-options approach,” he said. “But if you’re going to pursue an all-options approach on something like this, you need to do it on a collaborative basis, working with those who also rely on the same grid we rely on in Massachusetts.”


In one joint effort, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are seeking power purchase agreements for hydropower or other types of renewable energy.

New Hampshire regulators are looking at new energy efficiency standards.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed an infrastructure bank to centralize financing for environmentally-friendly public works.

Vermont regulators are considering an application for a transmission line that would bring hydropower to transmission points linking power to other areas in New England.

High energy costs in the region are due in part to natural gas pipeline bottlenecks. The region has limited natural gas pipeline systems, which are reaching maximum capacity, said Gordon van Welie, president and chief executive of the region’s power grid operator, ISO-New England.

Older oil and coal plants are set to be retired in a few years, he said.


Natural gas pipeline construction has drawn opposition from environmentalists and some property owners. At an earlier session of the meeting, a group of protesters criticized the governors for advocating natural gas and were escorted out.

The governors were not specific on the cost of proposed improvements because legislative and regulatory procedures differ in each state.

How much ratepayers pay will depend “to some extent on where we end up and … what we can do on a collaborative basis,” Baker said.

Last summer, then- Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts sought a delay as his administration analyzed different energy plans, including those that would not require construction of extensive natural gas pipelines. Baker said he wants to work with other New England governors to improve access to renewable energy.

Steven Guveyan, executive director of the Connecticut Petroleum Council, said the coordination between Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to buy power jointly “shows a deep understanding of energy markets.”

Eversource Energy said the New England electric and gas utility is encouraged that the governors are focusing on regional energy limits and solutions that include spending for new natural gas systems.

National Grid said it backs an “all of the above” strategy that includes renewable energy, investing in energy efficiency and increasing natural gas transmission.

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