Thirteen Massachusetts-based municipal public power entities have agreed to purchase more than 110 GWh/year of electricity from two hydroelectric power plants in Connecticut owned by FirstLight Power Resources Inc.

The offtaker under the power purchase agreement (PPA) is Energy New England (ENE), a wholesale risk management and energy trading organization serving municipal utilities in New England.

“These thirteen communities are showing tremendous climate leadership by choosing locally produced, cost-competitive and clean hydropower to advance their own clean energy goals,” said FirstLight Power CEO Alicia Barton. “Long-term clean power commitments such as these agreements not only bolster our region’s ability to decarbonize the electric grid, but they also lock in affordable energy supply for Massachusetts homes and businesses at a time when fossil fuel prices are driving customer bills up.”

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Under a climate bill passed in 2021, Massachusetts utilities are required to source 50% of their power supply from carbon-free sources by 2030.

“Not only have our members made major strides in meeting the state’s goals, they have also shown that these long-term procurements help deliver safe, reliable and cost-competitive electricity to ratepayers across the Commonwealth,” said ENE CEO John Tzimorangas.

The electricity and renewable energy credits are to be supplied by FirstLight’s Shepaug and Stevenson hydroelectric plants located in Southbury and Monroe, CT, respectively.

The PPA runs from 2024 through 2030, and expands upon an earlier agreement signed by FirstLight and 21 municipal utilities in 2020. At the time, it was the largest renewable energy purchase by municipal utilities in New England to date. FirstLight extended many of these agreements in 2021.

Nuclear, hydropower and other renewables combined to account for 46% of New England’s generation mix in 2021, according to regional grid operator Independent System Operator New England (ISO-NE). Natural gas was the largest source at 53%.

A recent decision by Maine’s Supreme Court revived hope for the New England Clean Energy Connect project, a transmission line that would connect hydroelectric supply in Quebec with demand in New England.

Stakeholders in the region’s energy sector, including ISO-NE itself, have urged regulators to ensure a stable supply of natural gas and related infrastructure for the region as it transitions to a majority low carbon energy mix.