On January 14, Governor Baker pocket vetoed Senate Bill 2995, An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Climate Policy. The bill was passed by the legislature too late in the session to override the veto. The governor wrote a five-page letter of explanation that we did not find persuasive. Already, the bill has been refiled and we are optimistic that the bill will be passed again and, if it is vetoed, the legislature will override.
Although 2020 did not go as we expected, it looks like we may be reaping the rewards of hard work on climate policy in the early days of 2021. In the past few days, the Massachusetts executive and legislative branches have made steps toward sweeping policy changes, some of which are the culmination of lots of hard work by legislators and advocates. This blog was edited on January 15 to reflect legislative updates since its original posting.
As wind and solar projects proliferate and people acknowledge the benefits of renewable energy, more consumers are voluntarily choosing 100 percent green power. Some have done that through our Green Powered program and others through their city or town municipal aggregations (also known as community choice programs). If you are in that growing minority, we applaud you. But please consider going above and beyond 100%. This blog explains why and how easy it is to do.
State leaders in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as Connecticut and Washington, D.C., recently signed an agreement to pursue a regional Transportation & Climate Initiative program. The goal of the policy is to reduce emissions from transportation, the sector that's responsible for over a third of climate-warming emissions in each state. Green Energy Consumers Alliance applauds the leadership of Governors Gina Raimondo and Charlie Baker for their commitment to rein in a growing source of carbon pollution and invest in clean transportation.
We’re big advocates for incentivizing electric vehicle (EV) drivers to charge their cars off-peak by offering them a lower retail price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). “Off-peak” periods refer to times when demand for electricity is low. At these times, wholesale electricity prices and emissions per unit of energy are lower as well. Shifting EV charging demand by setting a price signal — sometimes called a “time-varying rate” (TVR) or “time-of-use rate” (TOU) — is a win for everyone: EV drivers, non-EV drivers, the environment, and our electric grid. Right now, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is considering whether and how to move forward on this issue — and we wanted to give you an update on progress made so far. (Fair warning: if ever there was a blogpost for the policy wonks, this is it!)
When we talk about the intersection of transportation and the environment, we’re often talking about greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, that trap heat in the atmosphere and warm our climate. However, the combustion of fossil fuels also releases co-pollutants – like nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulate matter – that form ozone and smog and make air unhealthy. Unlike greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change no matter where they’re released, co-pollutants have the biggest impact in the communities close to where they’re emitted.
Green Energy Consumers Alliance welcomes the recent announcement that Rhode Island will look to procure up to 600 MW of offshore wind. In January, we applauded Governor Raimondo’s goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Since becoming the first state in the nation with offshore wind turbines, Rhode Island has fallen behind on our clean energy goals. The offshore wind procurement is a necessary and clear step to getting us back on track to a low-carbon future.
Over the past week, many of us here in New England might have turned on our heat as temperatures dipped to near freezing for the first time this fall. For the slight majority of us in Rhode Island and Massachusetts who heat our homes with natural gas, we’re relying on a centrally distributed fossil fuel to keep our homes and businesses warm in winter. On the one hand, natural gas is cheap, and a growing economy calls for more customers to hook up to the pipeline. On the other, we are way over our budget for greenhouse gases. Natural gas releases carbon when burned and causes an even bigger problem when leaked in the form of methane. We have a conundrum on our hands: how do we urgently reduce emissions from our buildings when most of us rely on the natural gas system to supply needed warmth during the winter?
A new report by Consumer Reports has found that the average electric vehicle (EV) driver saves between $6,000 and $10,000 in lifetime costs compared to a gas-powered car. Their analysis considered a survey of 10,000 EV drivers and a review of depreciation, financing, sale prices, and fuel costs to reach a remarkable conclusion: EVs, like those that are available through our Drive Green program, win out compared to the best-selling, top-rated, and most-efficient cars in their class.
In April 2020, while the economy shuttered and infection rates for COVID-19 in the US skyrocketed, pickup truck sales exceeded sedan sales for the first time. Passenger cars are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and more people than ever believe man-made climate change is happening. So how are biggest gas-guzzling cars taking over the industry?