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.
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Phasing out fossil fuels (4)
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.
The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) is a multi-state effort to phase down our dependence on gasoline and diesel fuels and to kickstart investments for cleaner, more affordable transportation options. In November 2021, the governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island withdrew support for the program. We're disappointed because without TCI, it's unclear how the states will achieve the emissions reductions needed to meet their climate goals.
For those of us in the climate action movement, it’s tiring to ask the question, “What will it take to get policymakers to see the climate crisis as something deserving big, rapid changes in how we produce and consume energy?” Evidently, it’s not forest fires, melting glaciers, heat waves, or hurricanes. This winter, the climate crisis, and our fossil fuel addiction are leading to other consequences: expensive electricity and lots of oil burning. And yes, we’re still not seeing nearly enough action.
RI’s administration needs to get real on climate funding, because the Governor’s budget doesn’t.
As the Boston Globe recently reported, the Baker administration has appointed a “Clean Heat Commission” (CHC) charged with making recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the building sector. To the appointees, we humbly ask that you consider this open letter.