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.
Time to Comment on the Clean Energy Transition in Massachusetts
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...Read more
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Energy policy & advocacy
If there's one thing we hate at Green Energy Consumers Alliance, it’s greenwashing. This is the practice of exaggerating or lying about the worthiness of a good or service with respect to environmental impact. Our organization exists to help people find their way to economically and environmentally sound energy solutions. So, it breaks our hearts when we see some companies take advantage of the fact that it’s often easy to make a product sound better than it is. Case in point: Renewable energy in the electricity market.
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.
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.
A note from Green Energy Consumers: Every now and then, we like to feature a guest blog on our website. With this blog, we’re happy to feature Milia Chamas and Orly Strobel from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, who’ll tell you all about current opportunities for funding for electric school buses in Massachusetts.
If you drive an electric car, it matters when you plug in and charge – both in terms of the emissions caused by the generation of each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you consume and in terms of the costs you are imposing on the system as a whole. There are lots of tools at our utilities’ disposal to encourage electric vehicle (EV) owners to charge when both emissions and costs are low, but unfortunately, in Massachusetts, our utilities are behind. Now, we have an opportunity to advocate for a smart charging policy, called a “time-of-use rate,” before the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) at a virtual public hearing at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, December 13. Here’s how to take action.
Green Energy Consumers Alliance has been supporting a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that would stop retail electricity suppliers from signing up new customers on an individual basis. The bill would not affect municipal aggregation. The legislation has been sponsored by Rep. Frank Moran and Senator Brendan Crighton in collaboration with Attorney General Campbell and with the support of Governor Healey. The bill is a common sense reaction to the fact that the Attorney General’s office has solid data showing how consumers receiving power from competitive electricity suppliers have collectively paid over a half billion dollars more over six years than if they received service from their utility. Low-income families and people of color have been disproportionally targeted and harmed.
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.
Green Energy Consumers Alliance and our allied organizations are certain that more legislation is needed if Massachusetts is to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction mandates. This is especially true when it comes to the state's second-largest source of emissions, the residential and commercial building sector. No one bill or policy proposed in this session is sufficient by itself to meet these objectives. However, several complementary policies have been proposed together that would move us away from fossil fuels and towards electrification.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-invest program among Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector, is currently undergoing its third program review. This means the participating states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, are collectively examining the successes, impacts, and design of their CO2 budget trading programs, and considering updates to the program design. We see this third program review as a real opportunity to strengthen RGGI in a way that would significantly and equitably drive down power sector emissions and have been following the process closely. We have been told that the process will conclude by the end of the year. Here is what we know: