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11 big ideas in the Massachusetts Senate's "An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future"

The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change released a proposed bill today called “An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future.” It’s over 60 pages long and quite comprehensive. Here’s a hot take on several items that jumped out at me.

  1. Renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirement is upped from 1 percent growth per year to 3 percent per year. Municipal electric utilities (~15 percent of Massachusetts sales) to be phased into RPS.
  2. Solar PV net metering caps are eliminated and solar is for all: low-income, renters, environmental justice communities, and public housing.
  3. Offshore wind: Sets a goal of 5,000 MW by 2035.
  4. Electricity storage: Requires 1,766 MW by 2025, with more by 2030.
  5. Municipal light plants are explicitly subject to the Global Warming Solutions Act.
  6. Climate adaptation: Regional dam and seawall funding, nature-based solutions, and impacted communities are granted stronger intervention rights in DPU proceedings.
  7. DOER must issue regulations to keep Massachusetts on track toward 100 percent renewable energy (not just electricity!) by 2050. Yes, this includes transportation and building sectors.
  8. Natural gas “pipeline tax” on electric ratepayers is prohibited. Also, gas companies can’t charge customers for gas lost due to leaky pipes.
  9. Includes more and better rebates for electric vehicles (EVs) and EV chargers, municipal guidance for curbside EV charging, and a requirement that electric companies develop proposals for time-of-use EV charging to encourage off-peak use of the grid. Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) get perks like better parking spots and access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
  10. Building consumption: Residential dwelling energy reporting system will be created and made available to owners. Expansion of energy efficiency (EE) standards to consumer products.
  11. State pensions must divest from fossil fuel companies, and a Green Energy Development Bank to leverage public and private funds toward clean energy investment is to be created.

Please keep in mind that this is a quick read of a long legal document, and that any bill must get a timely favorable response from the Senate, House of Representatives, and the Governor.