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L’Italien Votes To Pass Sweeping Clean Energy Legislation

Jun 20, 2018 07:27AM ● By Theresa Gilman

(Editor's Note: the following information was provided by the office of State Senator Barbara L’Italien.)

BOSTON – Today, State Senator Barbara L’Italien joined the Massachusetts Senate in voting to pass S.2545, An Act to promote a clean energy future. 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.

“At a time when the federal government is refusing to act on climate, Massachusetts is moving forward – because it’s too important to wait. We mean business when it comes to meeting our clean energy goals and investing in the future of our children, and we aren’t messing around,” said State Senator Barbara L’Italien. “Environmental issues are also economic justice issues, public health issues and social issues. I’m proud to have collaborated and voted for a truly strong piece of legislation that commits us to clean energy and climate preparedness.”

This legislation is a forward-looking plan that prepares Massachusetts for the inevitable obstacles that will come with climate change, while also looking out for communities like Dracut that was nearly impacted by the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and environmental justice communities like Lawrence. The policies and programs will protect public health, increase the use of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse emissions, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, implement a price on carbon, and create jobs in the innovative green-energy economy.

“Two years ago, we successfully defeated the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Dracut and in communities across this Commonwealth. We can’t allow any more fracked gas pipelines to rip through cities and towns and risk our health. I am particularly proud that we included specific language in this bill to protect community interests against pipelines, and to protect taxpayers from having to subsidize pipelines,” continued Senator L’Italien.

The legislation raises renewable portfolio standards so that our renewable energy production increases by a higher percent per year, lifts the cap on solar net metering and increases solar incentives, authorizes additional hydropower and offshore wind procurement, establishes market-based greenhouse-gas emission limits, and implements statewide energy storage goals.

“This bill also does a great job addressing environmental justice. Low-income communities and communities of color, like the City of Lawrence, are too often the first and hardest-hit by the impacts of climate change. By a similar token, it’s also hardest for those communities to access affordable clean energy. This bill makes it easier for all communities to access solar energy, and provides solar credits in public housing and in low-income communities,” finished Senator L’Italien.

Specific policy changes include:
  • Increasing the percentage of 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: (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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