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DiDomenico & Senate Colleagues Pass an Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future

June 14, 2018

BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts Senate voted to pass S.2545, An Act to promote a clean energy future, sponsored by Senators Marc Pacheco and Mike Barrett. This legislation represents a firm stand by the Senate to ensure a healthier, cleaner Commonwealth for future generations of Massachusetts residents. Most importantly, the policies enacted in this legislation will have measurable benefits in the health of the global environment.

This legislation is a forward looking plan that prepares Massachusetts for the inevitable obstacles that will come with climate change. The policies and programs will protect public health, increase the use of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse emissions, implement a price on carbon, and create jobs in the innovative green-energy economy.

“As a Commonwealth, we simply cannot delay any further action to prepare ourselves for and to fight against the impacts of global climate change,” said Senator DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “I am very proud that my colleagues and I in the Senate have taken yet another step to protect our future generations, and to further enhance and diversify Massachusetts’ clean energy portfolio.”

“Future generations of Massachusetts residents depend on our actions today,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “This legislation sets Massachusetts on a path towards an even cleaner energy portfolio and invests in the future of our children and their environment. I would like to thank Senators Pacheco, Barrett, and Chairwoman Spilka for their tremendous contributions to this bill, and to the rest of my members for their commitment to clean energy and climate preparedness.”

The legislation raises renewable portfolio standards, lifts the cap on solar net metering, authorizes additional hydropower and offshore wind procurement, establishes market-based greenhouse-gas emission limits, and implements statewide energy storage goals.

“This bill sets aggressive goals to increase the use of renewable energy in Massachusetts and support our state’s innovative clean energy workforce,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “As one of the original sponsors of the Global Warming Solutions Act a decade ago, I am especially proud that this bill continues the important work of meeting our legal and moral commitments to ensure a sustainable future.”

“The Senate has constantly taken major steps to move us forward in advancing our state’s energy policies and we have done so again with this bill,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “The adoption of the bill reflects our desire to develop a diversified and renewable energy portfolio, strengthen the well-being of our citizens by controlling pollution, and supporting the needs of residential and commercial electric consumers, while paving the way for more jobs in a growing sector of the economy.”

“It is urgent that we move as quickly as possible to mitigate the worst effects of Global Climate Change.  The quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, and the number of extreme weather events that we experience will depend on what we do at the local, state, and national level. The legislation that the MA Senate has passed today promotes a clean energy future that will protect public health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create thousands of new clean energy jobs that will continue to benefit Massachusetts and the New England economy,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton).

“Climate change is relentless, and ‘putting a price on carbon’ is the single most effective thing a state government can do to fight it. But this isn’t about the Legislature forcing one design, and one design only, upon a governor. We’re firm on timing because the problem is urgent, but we don’t mandate the method,” said Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington).

Specific policy changes include:

  • Increasing the percentage of Class I renewable energy that must be purchased by retail electric suppliers under the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from an additional 1% annually to an additional 3% annually.
  • The legislation requires the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to establish market-based compliance mechanisms to maximize the ability of the Commonwealth to achieve its greenhouse gas emission limits for: (i) the transportation sector not later than December 31, 2020; (ii) the commercial and industrial building sectors not later than December 31, 2021; and (iii) the residential building sector not later than December 31, 2022.
  • Requiring the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to adopt statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits for the years 2030 (35% and 45% below the 1990 emissions level) and 2040 (55% and 65% below the 1990 emissions level), and a plan to achieve those reductions.
  • Requiring the 2030 emission limit to be adopted no later than 2021 and the 2040 emissions limit to be adopted not later than 2031.
  • Requiring the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to issue a plan to achieve the 2050 emissions limit.
  • Requiring the Department of Energy Resources to establish an energy storage system target program to achieve a statewide energy storage deployment target of 2,000 mega-watts by January 1, 2025. 
  • Removing the net metering cap for non-governmental solar net metering facilities.
  • Eliminating the current sunset date of December 31, 2020 for the regulations promulgated under the Global Warming Solutions Act.
  • Creating a joint procurement taskforce consisting of the Department of Energy Resources, the Attorney General and representatives of the distribution companies, to conduct a review of the clean energy procurements.
  • Allowing the Department of Energy Resources to recommend solicitations and procurements for more than 9,450,000 megawatts-hours of clean energy generation, and to recommend offshore wind energy generation solicitations and procurements of up to 5,000 megawatts of aggregate nameplate capacity by December 31, 2035.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 

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