New clean energy policies will advance the low-carbon economy in Massachusetts.  

Written By: Jen Neville
August 22, 2018

Businesses across the Commonwealth are praising Gov. Charlie Baker and state lawmakers for backing new clean energy policies that will advance and promote the low-carbon economy in Massachusetts.

The legislation, known as An Act to Advance Clean Energy, includes a number of key energy provisions, including a requirement to increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to two percent through 2030, before returning to one percent thereafter. This move will put Massachusetts on a path to reach 35 percent clean energy by 2030.

Earlier this month, Gov. Baker signed the bill into law, ensuring that the state’s clean energy economy will continue to thrive.

“As a global commercial real estate firm, JLL understands that clean energy is good for our Massachusetts’s economy and our clients’ bottom line,” stated Cynthia Curtis, senior vice president of sustainability at JLL. “Massachusetts companies are increasingly embracing clean energy as a way to reduce emission and cut costs throughout their operations. Forward thinking-policies like the increased RPS will make clean energy investments and greater choice possible.”

“Climate change is widely recognized as a material risk to the investments we make on behalf of our clients. Effective climate policy is essential in mitigating that risk,” added Aaron Ziulkowski, manager, ESG integration, at Walden Asset Management. “We applaud the efforts of the elected officials of the Commonwealth in continuing to steer the local economy toward a low-carbon future.”

The other energy provisions in the bill include:

– Energy Storage: Increases the Commonwealth’s energy storage target from 200 MW to 1,000 MW by 2025.
– Offshore Wind: Authorizes the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to study and potentially procure an additional 1,600 MW of offshore wind resources.
– Clean Peak Standard: Creates a clean peak standard to increase the availability of renewable energy during peak electric times.
– Energy Efficiency: Allows more technologies to qualify for Mass Save efficiency funding.
– Grid Modernization: Requires utilities to file annual grid resiliency reports.
– Solar Charges: Instructs the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to reassess the mandatory residential demand charge for rooftop solar owners approved in an Eversource rate case.
– Gas Leaks: Calls for annual utility reports on natural gas leaks and provides funding for innovative technologies to reduce gas leaks.

However, the new law does not increase the cap on net metering and does not address the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Commonwealth—transportation.

“More is needed at the state level to tackle climate change and ensure that Massachusetts remains a national clean energy leader,” commented Alli Gold Roberts, senior manager of state policy at Ceres. “Businesses and consumers alike benefit from legislation that promotes more predictable energy prices, improved air quality, and increased investments and jobs. We applaud the leadership of Gov. Baker and state lawmakers on passing this new law and look forward to continued collaboration to build on this leadership in the next session."

Throughout the legislative session, the Massachusetts business community urged lawmakers to support an increase of the state’s RPS as a way to encourage new investments and drive economic growth across the Commonwealth.

A growing number of companies have set goals to increase investments in renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their own operations and supply chains. Policies, such as the RPS, will help companies meet their goals, cut energy costs, and stay competitive.

“By increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard, Massachusetts lawmakers are making the already attractive economics of clean energy investments even more appealing,” stated Elizabeth Levy, senior vice president and portfolio manager at Trillium Asset Management. “As companies continue to look for ways to power their operations with renewable energy, this newly improved RPS will help support clean energy investment and drive economic growth in the state.”

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