For many years, there has been a lot going on in terms of Massachusetts energy and climate policy, but this year may top them all. We are seeing an unprecedented number of opportunities for citizens in the Commonwealth to speak out on a wide range of issues – grid modernization, strengthening the Clean Energy Standard, establishing a Clean Heat Standard, and energy policy in general. We encourage you to comment on topics that interest you. Here’s a list for your perusal, with text from the relevant agencies.
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This month, the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking comments on a discussion documentabout potential new rules to strengthen the Mass. Clean Energy Standard (CES), which sets a minimum percentage of electricity sales that must come from new clean energy sources. According to the discussion document, DEP is considering these changes to align the CES with the greenhouse gas reduction requirements of the Clean Energy and Climate Plan and specific emission sublimit for the electricity sector. Green Energy Consumers has reviewed the discussion document, is very pleased by the proposed changes, and encourages citizens to express support.
The science is clear. We all must phase out fossil fuels, the sooner the better, but no later than 2050. But there is no one path for us all on the journey to zero carbon. Each family’s situation is different from their neighbor’s. In my family’s case, we are not all the way to zero yet, but we are making good progress. Hopefully, this story will generate some ideas for your household.
Utility-supplied natural gas (methane) is the primary heating fuel in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, supplying 52% and 54% of homes, respectively. Given their mandates to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, both states are exploring strategies to transition away from their prevalent gas distribution systems. However, reducing and ultimately eliminating emissions from the heating sector, and doing so in a manner that minimizes costs to utility consumers and the state, is a formidable policy challenge. It will be an interesting journey, but one that must be taken.
The climate crisis demands a fundamental cultural shift in our energy system. Revolution Wind 1 and the South Fork Wind projects off Rhode Island’s coast meet a critical need for large-scale carbon-free electricity generation in the Northeast. Two stewards of historic and cultural structures, the Preservation Society of Newport County and the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation, recently positioned their organizations at odds with these projects in a group of appeals that cite alleged impacts to ocean views.
Under the Act on Climate, Rhode Island must meet 4 different emissions reduction mandates: 10% below 1990 levels by 2020; 45%by 2030; 80% by 2040; and net-zero emissions by 2050.
The propane industry has been advocating for the use of renewable propane to reduce emissions for their customer base. According to 2022 American Community Survey estimates, 153,000, or about 5 percent, of homes across Massachusetts and Rhode Island use propane as their primary heating fuel. That is a large enough number to take a close look at what renewable propane is all about. This blog provides a brief introduction to the fuel, if it will ever be affordable, and its climate impacts.
We have sent six “Shave the Peak” alerts this summer, signaling high peak electric demand days. Shave the Peak is our program designed to inform people, via text and email alerts, how and when to reduce their power usage on days when the forecasted electric demand is above 22,000 MW.
On July 5, we sent thousands of our followers a “Shave the Peak” alert because of the high forecasted peak electric demand on July 6. Shave the Peak is our program designed to inform people, via text and email alerts, how and when to reduce their power usage on days when peak demand rises above 22,000 MW. The electric demand forecasted on July 6 by ISO-New Englandfor July 6 was 22,700 MW. The actual peak electric demand on July 6 was recorded as 22,389 MW at 5:50 PM. Note that without behind-the-meter solar, peak demand would have been 24,264 MW.
Rhode Island has committed to combating climate change by adopting one of the strongest climate policies in the nation: An Act on Climate, committing the state to 45% emissions reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050. While Rhode Island is at the forefront of aggressive climate policy, it is not alone. California, New York, and Massachusetts all have similar emissions reductions targets and the ultimate goal of net zero by 2050. The difference is that these states have all backed up their commitment by making budgetary allocations for decarbonization. Rhode Island has just recently taken a modest step towards funding its decarbonization efforts.