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New England's governors have signed an agreement committing their six states to an energy initiative they say is designed to bring affordable, cleaner and more reliable power to homes and businesses across the Northeast. According to the governors, this initiative will accelerate regional cooperation on expanding renewable energy and energy infrastructure in New England.

The governors have directed their staffs to continue working together over the next few months - through the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) and in cooperation with ISO-New England, operator of the region's electric grid network - to develop a regional strategy that “meets our common needs and goals.”

In the joint statement, the governors say that “securing the future of the New England economy and environment requires strategic investments in our region’s energy resources and infrastructure … New England ratepayers can benefit if the states collaborate to advance our common goals.”  The agreement also seeks to ensure that “the benefits and costs of transmission and pipeline investments are shared appropriately among the New England states.”

According to the governors, the agreement calls attention to the fact that the region’s electric and natural gas systems have become “increasingly interdependent,” creating a need for cooperative investments in energy efficiency, new and existing renewable generation, natural gas pipelines, and electric transmission. Such investments, the agreement adds, “support local markets and result in additional cost savings, new jobs and economic opportunities, and environmental gains,” and must “be advanced in a coordinated approach in order to maximize ratepayer savings and system integrity.”

The governors note that their initiative “must respect individual state perspectives, particularly those of host states, as well as the natural resources, environment, and economy of the states, and ensure that the citizens and other stakeholders of our region, including the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL), are involved in the process.”

The agreement for the Regional Energy Infrastructure Initiative was signed by Govs. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut; Paul LePage of Maine; Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts; Margaret Wood Hassan of New Hampshire; Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island; and Peter Shumlin of Vermont.

“This is an economically and environmentally important collaboration,” says Gov. Patrick. “By expanding opportunities for large-scale hydro, wind and other renewable energy sources, we are putting thousands of our residents to work and creating a healthier region for the next generation.”

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