In his State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Baker committed Massachusetts to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Then three bills touted by Senate leadership as a “next generation climate package” were released from Senate Ways and Means to be debated and voted on before month’s end. From carbon reduction goals to transit electrification and robust energy efficiency, efforts to address climate change in Massachusetts took a couple of steps forward this week. Now comes the work of turning these commitments into climate action!
November 20th marked the end of formal session in Year 1 of Massachusetts’ two-year legislative cycle. The remaining weeks of 2019 are considered “informal session,” during which bills may still be considered and moved, but formal activities not completed by last Thursday are largely on hold until the legislature formally reconvenes in the new year. A proposal to replenish consumer rebates for EVs is included in the supplemental budget (H.4132/S.2418) currently stalled at the State House.
Proposals to fund resilience and adaptation were floated as part of Governor Baker’s FY20 Budget. One approach would modify the real estate transfer tax. The other approach would expand to adaptation and resiliency the use of dollars currently dedicated for energy efficiency (mitigation) in Massachusetts. When it comes to combating climate change, investments in adaptation/resilience and mitigation should complement, rather than compete against each other.
Tags: Energy policy & advocacy
The following is the third blog in a trilogy. In early December, we explained the importance of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and how they are used to quantify and track the green attributes associated with renewable electricity supplied to our grid. In late November, we explained how state renewable energy standards work to clean up the grid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by requiring the addition of certain qualifying resources, particularly wind and solar. Another way to reduce emissions from the electricity sector is to enable electricity suppliers to purchase and deliver large quantities of hydro and offshore wind to the region. But delays could significantly undermine fulfillment of our clean energy and climate requirements.
Massachusetts lawmakers vote to pass H.4857, An act to advance clean energy. The final bill was released from conference committee late Monday afternoon.
With less than a month to go in the legislative session, several clean energy bills have yet to be decided. The following could use an extra push to get over the finish line.
Tags: Energy policy & advocacy
Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change released a comprehensive omnibus energy bill, An act to promote a clean energy future: to protect our public health, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bill is a compilation of several pieces of legislation filed this session, including the important RPS & the Appliance Efficiency Standards bills, but it also reflects public input provided during a series of Clean Energy Conversations that Committee Chair Marc Pacheco hosted throughout the spring and summer. Several of the bills have received favorable recommendations from the joint energy committee of the House and Senate (read more about this below).
With the closure of the Brayton Point, coal generation in MA is officially a thing of the past, but will it be replaced with a 21st century solution or more of the same?
May 31st marked the end of an era in Massachusetts when Brayton Point, the state’s last remaining coal-fired power plant closed. Located in Somerset, the 1500 MW plant was the largest coal-fired generator in New England. Its closure was first announced in 2013 with owners citing costs associated with maintaining the decades’ old facility and coal’s inability to compete economically with natural gas.
An Analysis of the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard, prepared by Synapse Energy Economics and Sustainable Energy Advantage, demonstrates that increasing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2% to 3% per year better positions the state to comply with the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), while reducing costs to consumers and creating jobs.
The Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is currently finalizing regulations aimed at achieving compliance with the May 2016 decision by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) and Executive Order 569 (EO 569) signed by Governor Baker in September. In this blog post, I provide an overview of the regulations that were proposed and what lies ahead as MA attempts to comply with its climate law.