As mayors representing a diverse group of communities across Massachusetts, we are in a unique position to be on the front lines of how the big global issues manifest from block to block in our neighborhoods. One of the many ways we see this is in how our residents want to power their homes and businesses. Their message to us is clear: they want cost-effective solutions that speed our transition to clean and renewable energy, and they want innovative and meaningful ways to help them combat the climate crisis.
A priority for Green Energy Consumers Alliance is increasing New England’s clean energy supply while delivering lower costs to consumers. In both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the following facts prevail about our electricity supply options:
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.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, about 85% of the population is served by investor-owned electric utility distribution companies - Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil. By law, their customers have three options for how they would get their electricity supply. The first option is to stick with the utility’s Basic Service. The second is to select, by yourself for just yourself, a “competitive power supplier”. And the third is to receive the supply service from a community’s municipal aggregation program.
Although municipal aggregation has proven itself to be the superior option for consumers both economically and environmentally, Massachusetts government, especially the Department of Public Utilities, has failed to support the model to the extent necessary to achieve important policy goals.
This is the first blog of a three-part series focused on renewable energy development and climate progress in Rhode Island.
Keep reading for highlights from our virtual Spring Meeting on May 18.
Have you taken a look at our map of resources lately? There are so many projects in it that it’s been challenging for our graphic designer to fit some of them in. Over the last year, we’ve been busy adding more impactful Class I projects to our list thanks to the support of Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents, along with small businesses that have taken the initiative to green their electricity through our Green Powered program and Green Municipal Aggregation.
You’ve heard that switching from a car with an internal combustion engine (ICE) to an electric vehicle (EV) reduces climate-warming emissions. But the extent of their positive impact is still understated, especially in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
We are pleased to release the second edition of our “Green Municipal Aggregation in Massachusetts” status report. A lot has happened in the field since our first edition in the spring of 2018 necessitating this update. If there is one key takeaway, it’s that GMA has proven to be a way to bring more renewable energy to communities affordably and equitably.
We take great pride in the fact that we, along with a company called Good Energy, took the model of municipal aggregation (a.k.a. community choice energy) and made it truly green. We did so with our pioneer partners, the City of Melrose and the town of Dedham. In 2016, those communities used the buying power of their residents to secure an affordable electricity rate that includes more local renewable energy than required by state law. Since then, over a dozen communities have joined the movement and added more renewable energy to residents' electricity supply - most recently Medford, Bedford, and Rockland. Green Energy Consumers is proud to be providing that additional incremental amount of renewable energy.
Community Choice Aggregation: Challenges, Opportunities, and Impacts on Renewable Energy Markets is the latest report released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Highlighted in the report are the benefits that aggregation delivers to communities: savings and price stability. But the report also sheds light on how Community Choice Aggregations are reshaping the dynamics of customer electricity supply and demand. Here we summarize NREL’s findings.