On January 14, Governor Baker pocket vetoed Senate Bill 2995, An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Climate Policy. The bill was passed by the legislature too late in the session to override the veto. The governor wrote a five-page letter of explanation that we did not find persuasive. Already, the bill has been refiled and we are optimistic that the bill will be passed again and, if it is vetoed, the legislature will override.
Although 2020 did not go as we expected, it looks like we may be reaping the rewards of hard work on climate policy in the early days of 2021. In the past few days, the Massachusetts executive and legislative branches have made steps toward sweeping policy changes, some of which are the culmination of lots of hard work by legislators and advocates. This blog was edited on January 15 to reflect legislative updates since its original posting.
State leaders in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as Connecticut and Washington, D.C., recently signed an agreement to pursue a regional Transportation & Climate Initiative program. The goal of the policy is to reduce emissions from transportation, the sector that's responsible for over a third of climate-warming emissions in each state. Green Energy Consumers Alliance applauds the leadership of Governors Gina Raimondo and Charlie Baker for their commitment to rein in a growing source of carbon pollution and invest in clean transportation.
We’re big advocates for incentivizing electric vehicle (EV) drivers to charge their cars off-peak by offering them a lower retail price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). “Off-peak” periods refer to times when demand for electricity is low. At these times, wholesale electricity prices and emissions per unit of energy are lower as well. Shifting EV charging demand by setting a price signal — sometimes called a “time-varying rate” (TVR) or “time-of-use rate” (TOU) — is a win for everyone: EV drivers, non-EV drivers, the environment, and our electric grid. Right now, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is considering whether and how to move forward on this issue — and we wanted to give you an update on progress made so far. (Fair warning: if ever there was a blogpost for the policy wonks, this is it!)
This week, after about four months of lower-than-usual demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand is climbing to normal hot weather levels—enough to cause a potentially expensive and polluting peak day.
On peak days, we remind New Englanders to turn up the thermostat, turn off lights, and delay charging devices or electric vehicles—all to attempt to lower the peak electricity usage of the day and avoid turning on dirty power plants. But efficiency and conservation are important year round—in fact, as we have written many times, energy efficiency is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce emissions and save consumers money.
What if there were a simple, free policy that would save money, water, and energy year round, all without any effort from consumers or any impact on the economy? This magical policy exists, and it’s called appliance standards! In the coming weeks, we need your help to update appliance standards in Massachusetts.
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.
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?
CleanChoice Energy is at it again & needs to be stopped.
Recent developments cause us to say again that Massachusetts is not doing enough to protect consumers from electricity suppliers making deceptive claims about pricing and the greenness of their electricity.
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!
In November, we wrote about efforts to replenish Massachusetts’ state rebate for electric vehicles, which was then stalled in the legislature. Late the following month, lawmakers reached agreement on a proposed Supplemental Budget that included an infusion of much-needed dollars to bring back Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV), the only direct incentive offered by the state to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Now MOR-EV will benefit from an infusion of at least $27 million dollars per year for the next two years!