The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

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Eugenia T. Gibbons

Clean Energy Program Director for Mass Energy and PP&L.

Massachusetts Formalizes Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050...What's the Plan for 2030?

The Baker Administration recently issued its much-anticipated letter of determination formalizing Massachusetts’ commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a requirement first referenced in Baker’s 2020 state of the state address. Adjusting the GWSA to reflect scientific consensus and mandating pursuit of an ambitious long-term target is welcome news. But what does it mean for state-led clean energy and climate action in the immediate term?

Picture of Eugenia T. Gibbons Eugenia T. Gibbons

2020 Could be a Good Year for Climate Policy in Massachusetts

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!

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Funding for Electric Vehicles stalled at the Massachusetts State House. Call Your Legislators!

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. 

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Massachusetts' Electric Car Rebate is Winding Down

Earlier this week, officials from the Baker administration announced plans to extend Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) through September 2019 when, absent new funding, the program will come to an end. Eliminating this popular incentive now moves Massachusetts in the wrong direction and will make meeting our ZEV goals (300,000 EVs by 2025) that much more challenging. 

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Paying for climate change adaptation doesn’t require short-changing investments in energy efficiency

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.

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How much is climate action dependent upon really big projects?

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.

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Are we finally prioritizing climate? Senate Committee Releases Comprehensive Energy Bill

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).

Picture of Eugenia T. Gibbons Eugenia T. Gibbons