Clean Energy Future Looks Bright in MA Senate

Senate Bill 2545, also known as “An Act to Promote A Clean Energy Future” passed unanimously through the Massachusetts Senate on June 14. The bill now goes on to the house after achieving this notable bipartisan support. The bill carries the following provisions:

·      A “market-based compliance mechanism” which essentially expands carbon pricing to the entire state economy, including the transportation sector.

·      Elimination of net metering caps, while providing net metering credits for low income and community solar projects. It also includes plans to explore a solar mandate on new buildings, the creation of municipal light districts, and regenerative braking vehicles.

·      An increase in Massachusetts’ renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 1% to 3%, requiring that utilities source their electricity entirely from renewables by 2047.

·      A stipulation that utilities like Eversource can implement optional time of use rates and only for customers that can meter their usage. Unfortunately, the Senate rejected Amendment 48, which focused on modifications to the MMRC that would have protected municipal, low-income, income-restricted housing, and community solar ratepayers.

All of the amendments that SEBANE and coalition partners have been fighting for were included in the final draft of this bill. Some of the highlights include:

·      Amendment 44 develops a plan by 2023 to meet Global Warming Solutions act targets for 2030, 2040, and 2050.

·      Amendment 45 increases Massachusetts’ energy storage target from 200 MWh by 2020 to 2 GW by 2025. Each utility will be held to its own targets, and required to own less than 20% of the storage they deploy.

·      Amendment 18 requires that 50% of electric vehicles in Massachusetts be zero-emission by 2026.

Many other amendments that would have slowed the growth of clean energy in Massachusetts were rejected in the final draft of Senate Bill 2545.

Senate passage of this bill would not have been possible without the leadership of Senator Pacheco, Senator Eldridge, Senator Creem and Senator Barrett. Strong and active support by the solar industry coalition of MassSolar, VoteSolar, NECEC, CCSA, SEIA and SEBANE was also critical. Further reading on the substance of Senate Bill 2545 can be found here, and here.

The bill now moves to the Massachusetts House where it faces an uncertain future. It is imperative that SEBANE members contact their representative and urge them to back this vital legislation. Don’t know the name/email address of your representative? You can find it here.

 

Susan Howe