Rhode Island and Massachusetts both have mandates to reduce statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels: 50% for Massachusetts and 45% for Rhode Island. Let’s take a look at the approaches they’re taking in the building sector, specifically – what they have in common, what’s different, and what might work.
Rhode Island has led the nation in the electric sector, with the first offshore wind farm in the country off of Block Island and the groundbreaking law to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2033. Unfortunately, concerning the transportation sector, the state is lagging behind several states. This year, we are advocating for Rhode Island to adopt a key set of regulations coming out of California: the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) standards.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island have both committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions economy-wide to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Achieving these required reductions means zeroing out emissions associated with heating our homes and businesses, which means phasing out the combustion of fossil fuels for heat.
Our two favorite states have had nation-leading energy efficiency programs for many years and those programs have saved an impressive amount of electricity, heating oil, propane, and natural gas. But are these programs up to the task of actually phasing out fossil fuels by 2050?
This fall, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is considering proposals from National Grid, Eversource, and Unitil that could make it more economical to operate DC fast charging stations. The proposals could be a big step forward in expanding much-needed charging infrastructure in the Bay State.
But is the DPU considering how to maximize all potential co-benefits of the proposal? In this blog, we’ll explain the new ideas under consideration by regulators and what’s still missing to achieve a smart energy policy that will drive Massachusetts towards the emissions reduction needed to meet its climate goals.
On August 16, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest investment in fighting climate change on the national level this country has ever seen. The IRA is a huge deal and fundamentally changes the game for our work here at the state level. On August 31, we held a webinar to discuss the IRA and its impact on three levels: on individual consumers who want to go green, on towns and cities, and on the state. Here is the webinar recording, as well as a summary and clips of each individual section. Enjoy!
Rhode Island just passed legislation that requires the state’s electric suppliers to procure 100% renewable electricity by 2033, using the highest quality (“Class I” or “new”) Renewable Energy Certificates. The Massachusetts legislature, meanwhile, isn’t considering a Renewable Portfolio Standard update in the climate bills that have been passed by the MA House and Senate and are currently being negotiated in the conference committee.
Rhode Island makes history! Late Tuesday afternoon, the RI House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing a bill to update the Renewable Energy Standard to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2033. Rhode Island is now set to become the first state to reach that total level of commitment towards wind, solar, and other qualifying power sources. This was Green Energy Consumers’ top priority this legislative session, and its passage builds on advocacy we have done for years to establish and increase the Renewable Energy Standard.
UPDATE on June 8th: S2274 (100% Renewable) passed the Senate; all eyes are now on the House bill, H7277. The bill was amended to reach 100% by 2033, which would still make RI the first state to reach 100% renewable electricity. We need your help NOW to make sure this bill becomes law.
Contact your State Representative by Tuesday to ask them to vote yes on H7277.
S2583 (offshore wind procurement) also passed the Senate! Encourage your State Rep to support H7971 when you make your call. Thank you to the leaders who have worked to pass these bills.
Originally published May 5th, 2022
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.
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.
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.