Green Energy Consumers Alliance has a long history, going back to 1997, of supporting Renewable Energy Standards (RES), a policy that requires electric suppliers to deliver renewable energy. These mandates have worked in a large number of states to bring wind and solar power onto the grid, dramatically reducing its carbon intensity. Today, we can appreciate the immense potential our region has for offshore wind that delivers clean, affordable power to the states and creates jobs. In 2022, we see both the opportunity and necessity for the Bay State and Ocean State to leverage the power of the RES and the potential of offshore wind to make sure we meet our 2030 climate goals. We urge policymakers in both states to up the RES to 100% clean electricity by 2030. We further support policy that will accelerate offshore wind procurement. Offshore wind and 100% by 2030 are like peanut butter and jelly: good alone, but much better together.
Rhode Island is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. A month ago, the state released worrying emissions data that shows the state’s GHG emissions in 2018 were up 15% from 2016, including increases in all sectors, with one of the biggest jumps in emissions coming from our electricity sector. This new data puts into question whether the state will be able to meet its 2020 climate goal, set in the 2014 Resilient RI Act. And it underscores the challenge before Rhode Island in meeting the 2021 Act on Climate mandate of 45% emissions reductions from the 1990 baseline in 2030.
Without question, the electric vehicle (EV) revolution is underway. At some point later this decade, we will see cost-parity, meaning that the upfront cost of an EV will be comparable to its fossil fuel-burning counterpart. Given that EVs cost so much less to operate and maintain, that point will be the tipping point. However, we have to reach that point and, for most consumers, state level incentives will be needed to spur adoption to the levels necessary for states to meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2025 and 2030.
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote that DOER had announced its proposed regulations to up the energy requirements in Massachusetts’ base and stretch energy codes. DOER has also proposed a new “specialized opt-in,” which municipalities may choose to opt-up to and which complies with the Climate Roadmap Statute’s requirement for a definition of net-zero to be added to code.
We call upon you to write to DOER by March 18th with your comments on the code. Read on for our thoughts on the code as well as a few talking points for your comments.
Last week, Rhode Island legislators Sen. Alana DiMario and Rep. Terri Cortvriend introduced bills setting a target of 100% of new cars registered being electric vehicles by 2030. The legislation (H. 7653 and S. 2448) creates a process to plan for the infrastructure and other changes involving cars, trucks, and public transportation in order to meet the 2030 target, which is critical for the state to meet its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions under the Act on Climate. Following Rhode Island’s withdrawal from the Transportation and Climate Initiative, the bill represents a new approach to tackling pollution from transportation, the region’s largest source of emissions.
Last week, with a resounding vote of 144-12, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Offshore Wind and Clean Energy bill. It will now go to the State Senate. We are especially thrilled because we worked hard to get provisions introduced that would help municipal aggregations access offshore wind. With the championship of Rep. Tommy Vitolo and Rep. Dylan Fernandes, and the support of Speaker Ron Mariano and Energy Committee Chair Jeffrey Roy, our provisions were adopted!
I’m old enough to have been in junior high school when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo against the United States in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. That was the first of two serious “oil shocks” to the economy in that decade.
Update (March 9, 2022): Green Energy Consumers Alliance strongly supports the work of RI Attorney General Peter Neronha and MA Attorney General Maura Healey to make sure this sale is fully vetted before being going through. Last week, Attorney General Neronha appealed the Division's decision, which will bring it to the review of the Superior Court. And the Massachusetts Supreme Court granted Attorney General Healey's motion for a stay on a permit for the sale, which means that the transition to PPL is currently on hold. The RI Superior Court's review begins this month.
Update (February 23, 2022): The Division of Public Utilities and Carriers issued an order today to approve the sale with no additional conditions. Although we think this was the wrong decision for Rhode Islanders, we will work with PPL, regulators, and the General Assembly to ensure that PPL can help the state meet its Act on Climate goals.
One of the biggest questions in Rhode Island’s clean energy future is on the verge of conclusion: will Pennsylvania-based utility PPL succeed in buying National Grid’s Rhode Island electric and gas utilities? If the sale goes through, PPL will become the new utility company for almost all Rhode Islanders.
Transportation is the largest source of climate-warming emissions in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, so Green Energy Consumers Alliance is focused on finding policy solutions to advance low-carbon alternatives to gasoline. How the states structure their transportation budgets will be a key factor for how they expect to meet 2030 climate mandates.
On February 8, Massachusetts energy officials proposed regulations that would require new residential and commercial buildings to be significantly more energy efficient. The proposal would establish a new energy code statewide, in addition to a more rigorous “stretch code” that cities and towns can adopt.