SECTION 1. Chapter 164 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 1H the following section:--
SECTION 1I. The department is hereby authorized and directed to require electric companies organized pursuant to this chapter to provide retail customers with the option of purchasing electricity derived from renewable energy. The department shall: promulgate rules and regulations to establish a “green electricity purchasing” program; establish fair and efficient rates for electricity generated from renewable energy sources; and develop a program to educate retail customers about renewable energy options. Renewable energy purchasing options established by this act will be separate and distinct from what is required by the renewable portfolio standard regulations (225 CMR 14.00), as established by the division of energy resources. Biannual reports must be filed by the department to the general court’s joint committee on energy and joint committee on government regulations detailing the implementation of the act. For the purposes of this section “renewable energy” or “renewables” will be defined as either (i) resources whose common characteristic is that they are nondepletable or are naturally replenishable but flow-limited, or (ii) existing or emerging non-fossil fuel energy sources or technologies, which have significant potential for commercialization in New England and New York, and shall include the following: solar photovoltaic or solar thermal electric energy; wind energy; ocean thermal, wave, or tidal energy; fuel cells; landfill gas; waste-to-energy which is a component of conventional municipal solid waste plant technology in commercial use; naturally flowing water and hydroelectric; and low-emission, advanced biomass power conversion technologies, such as gasification using such biomass fuels as wood, agricultural, or food wastes, energy crops, biogas, biodiesel, or organic refuse-derived fuel. The following technologies or fuels shall not be considered renewable energy supplies: coal, oil, natural gas except when used in fuel cells, and nuclear power.
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