BOSTON (01/04/2021) – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to pass breakthrough climate legislation that overhauls the state’s climate laws, drives down greenhouse gas emissions, creates clean energy jobs, and protects environmental justice communities.
“I am pleased that the Massachusetts Legislature took this major step forward and solidified its commitment to protecting our environment,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “I am particularly proud that this legislation includes language I fought for during the Senate amendment process that would achieve emissions reductions equitably and in a manner that protects low- and moderate-income persons and environmental justice populations when the state is developing regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our communities. I want to thank Senate President Spilka and my Lexington counterpart Senator Barrett for taking the lead on this issue and putting Massachusetts on a path toward a clean, green and sustainable future.”
The bill, An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy (S.2995), includes, among other items, the following provisions:
- Sets a statewide net zero limit on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and mandates emissions limits every five years, as well as limits for specific sectors of the economy, including transportation and buildings;
- Codifies environmental justice provisions into Massachusetts law, defining environmental justice populations and providing new tools and protections for affected neighborhoods;
- Requires an additional 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind, building on previous legislation action and increases the total to 5,600 megawatts in the Commonwealth;
- Directs the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), regulator of the states electric and natural gas utilities, to balance priorities going forward: system safety, system security, reliability, affordability, equity, and, significantly, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions;
- Sets appliance energy efficiency standards for a variety of common appliance including plumbing, faucets, computers, and commercial appliances;
- Adopts several measures aimed at improved gas pipeline safety, including increased fines for safety violations and regulations related to training and certifying utility contractors;
- Increases the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 3 percent each year from 2025 – 2029, resulting in 40 percent renewable energy by 2030;
- Establishes an opt-in municipal net zero energy stretch code, including a definition of “net zero building;”
- Prioritizes equitable access to the state’s solar programs by low-income communities;
- Establishes $12 million in annual funding for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center in order to create a pathway to the clean energy industry for environmental justice populations and minority-owned and women-owned businesses;
- Provides solar incentives for businesses by exempting them from the net metering cap to allow them to install solar systems on their premises to help offset their electricity use and save money;
- Requires utilities to include an explicit value for greenhouse gas reductions when they calculate the cost-effectiveness of an offering of MassSave;
- Creates a first-time greenhouse gas emissions standard for municipal lighting plants that requires them to purchase 50 percent non-emitting electricity by 2030 and “net zero” by 2050; and
- Sets benchmarks for the adoption of clean energy technologies including electric vehicles, charging stations, solar technology, energy storage, heat pumps and anaerobic digestors.
The bill is now with the governor.
A fact sheet with more information on the bill can be found on Senator Barrett’s website here.