The 100% Renewable Energy Agenda, developed by the Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center, includes more than 30 policies that the winner of this fall’s gubernatorial election can implement to reduce energy consumption and rapidly repower all sectors of the economy with clean energy.
“For decades, the Commonwealth has led the nation in preserving the environment, protecting public health, and reducing global warming pollution,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for the Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center. “Now more than ever, Massachusetts must lead the way. With support from our state’s top leaders, we can power our homes, our businesses, and our transportation system with clean, renewable energy.”
Advocates described how Massachusetts’ solar and wind resources, combined with emerging technologies like electric vehicles, air source heat pumps, and battery storage, will enable us to meet our energy needs with clean, renewable power at all times of the day and night.
After discussing the recommendations in the 100% Renewable Energy Agenda, local leaders discussed the ways that clean energy is supported at the local level, and what more needs to be done.
“Franklin has done a lot to ensure that our town exemplifies what a Green Community should be,” said former city councilor, and renewable energy advocate, Brett Feldman. “Our electricity load for our municipal and school buildings is 95 percent covered by our town solar farm on the Mount St. Mary’s Abbey. On top of that, we have upgraded all of our buildings to maximum efficiency, and by the end of the year will convert of our town lights to LED. We are doing all we can, and we want the state to be able to say the same.”
Speakers also pointed to the urgent need for action before the end of the legislative session.
In June, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that would eliminate caps on solar net metering and increase renewable energy to 50 percent of Massachusetts’ electricity consumption by 2030 and 100 percent by 2047. The House has passed a bill for 35 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Legislators must reach an agreement before July 31, or start from scratch next year.
A report by the Applied Economics Clinic found that increasing the renewable portfolio standard by 3 percent per year, along with other clean energy policies, would result in 600,000 fewer metric tons of greenhouse gases per year by 2030 (equivalent to taking 128,000 cars off the road) at little to no additional cost to the public.
Since 2007, Massachusetts has seen a 246-fold increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun. Wind energy generation in Massachusetts is set to increase dramatically in the coming years, with a commitment to install 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind capacity.
Massachusetts’ offshore wind potential is equivalent to more than 19 times the state’s annual electricity consumption. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, rooftop solar installations alone could provide 47 percent of Massachusetts’ electricity.
“Even beyond rooftop solar, community solar projects, like the one we installed in Holliston, expand the possibility of who can benefit from the solar boom,” said Jeff Lord, senior Vice President of Project Development at the Clean Energy Collective. “ There are dozens of community solar projects in the Commonwealth, including one in nearby Holliston, but many more are needed if we’re to truly provide equal access to the benefits of renewable energy to all of our states homes, businesses, towns, and organizations.”
Last week, 16 academics, researchers, and clean energy industry leaders sent a letter to state officials affirming that “there are no insurmountable technological or economic barriers to achieving 100 percent renewable energy.”
“Now is the time for us to go big on clean energy,” said Hellerstein. “Come January, we’re ready to work with whoever occupies the corner office on Beacon Hill to help Massachusetts go 100 percent renewable.”
The Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center is dedicated to protecting Massachusetts’ air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help Bay Staters make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.
|Advocates share agenda for 100% renewable energy|