BOSTON -- Towering turbines in Maine and New York -- and off the Atlantic Coast -- could ease a looming energy crunch in Massachusetts, and wind energy companies want the state to support their budding industry.
Lawmakers are discussing plans to force utilities to enter long-term contracts with clean energy providers to replace the energy created by retiring nuclear and coal-fired power plants, while cutting carbon emissions and potentially lowering electricity prices.
The outcome of those talks could affect the state's energy production and electricity costs for decades.
Environmentalists want wind -- in addition to solar and hydropower -- to play a major part in the renewable energy mix.
"We want to see the offshore wind industry launched at scale in our state," said Josh Craft, program director for the Environmental League of Massachusetts, one of several groups pushing the state to expand its use of clean energy. "Harnessing this natural resource will help us meet energy needs while creating jobs and reducing carbon emissions."