11 big ideas in the Massachusetts Senate's "An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future"
February 12, 2018
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.
- 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.
- Solar PV net metering caps are eliminated and solar is for all: low-income, renters, environmental justice communities, and public housing.
- Offshore wind: Sets a goal of 5,000 MW by 2035.
- Electricity storage: Requires 1,766 MW by 2025, with more by 2030.
- Municipal light plants are explicitly subject to the Global Warming Solutions Act.
- Climate adaptation: Regional dam and seawall funding, nature-based solutions, and impacted communities are granted stronger intervention rights in DPU proceedings.
- 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.
- Natural gas “pipeline tax” on electric ratepayers is prohibited. Also, gas companies can’t charge customers for gas lost due to leaky pipes.
- 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.
- Building consumption: Residential dwelling energy reporting system will be created and made available to owners. Expansion of energy efficiency (EE) standards to consumer products.
- 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.