BOSTON – On June 14, the Massachusetts Senate voted to pass S.2545, An Act to promote a clean energy future, sponsored by Senators Marc Pacheco and Michael 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.
“At a time when our environment is under unprecedented attack at the federal level, it is vitally important for Massachusetts to take a stand to preserve our natural resources and address climate change,” said Friedman. “This bill ensures that our state continues to lead in clean energy efficiency by taking important steps to transition to cleaner energy sources, create high-paying jobs in the green economy, and protect our residents from the ongoing threat of global warming.”
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.
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;
- Requiring 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 (1) the transportation sector not later than December 31, 2020, (2) the commercial and industrial building sectors not later than December 31, 2021, and (3) the residential building sector not later than December 31, 2022;
- Directing 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; and
- 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 final bill, H.4857, was signed into law on August 9, 2018.