Gov. Charlie Baker wants Massachusetts to join with neighboring states to increase the region's use of hydroelectricity, an energy source his administration thinks will be cheaper for consumers than other renewables.

Baker filed legislation that would require energy distribution companies and utilities to solicit long-term contracts with clean energy suppliers, especially large scale hydroelectricity generators. Part of the effort is to join with Rhode Island and Connecticut, states that have both moved toward allowing more multistate bulk purchasing of clean energy, to reel in cost savings.

The bill is Baker's attempt to meet the goals laid out in the Global Warming Solutions Act, which vowed to lower carbon emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020.

"I do believe that Hydro will need to be a part of the mix going forward, and that clean energy resources, imported clean energy, will need to be a major part of the strategy to meet the 2020 goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act," Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) told WGBH News Thursday.

Democratic environmental leaders say they're pleased that Baker is making affordable clean energy a priority, but they're still advocating for the use of smaller-scale sources like on-shore wind, solar and river-based hydro.

"Trying to competitively procure large-scale reliable renewable resources is part of the solution, I don't think it's all of that solution by any means," Sen. Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield) said to WGBH News after Baker filed his legislation.

Pacheco doesn't want large-scale bulk purchasing of hydro, much of which comes from Canadian generators, to crowd out New England's growing clean energy producers.

"It has to be done in a balanced way and the proposal that is before us, as it is filed, tries to do that by bringing in enough energy into the market while at the same time not wanting to overdevelop that part of the market, so it still leaves room for other homegrown clean-energy technologies here in Massachusetts to keep our clean energy economy booming," Pacheco said.

It's now up to the Democratic legislature to take up the bill and alter it to their own priorities. Solar advocates have been pushing the legislature to raise a crucial cap on solar power generation, which Downing supports.

"I think it's imperative that we act this session, on this and on a host of others to continue the progress we've had here in Massachusetts," Downing said.