OP-ED: State Senate Passes Energy Bill Aimed at Addressing Climate Change

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{The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who also represents Watertown}

After a long day of debate, the Senate passed the Barrett-Pacheco omnibus energy bill on Thursday — significant legislation to continue movement in Massachusetts towards a cleaner energy future. Addressing climate change is a core priority for me and I am glad to move this legislation forward.

The next step will be action by the House of Representatives.   After that, the branches will need to reconcile their differences and get the bill to the Governor’s desk.  We should expect the bill to continue to evolve.

As mentioned in a previous post, I am most enthusiastic about the provisions that will lead to carbon pricing in the transportation sector.

A summary of the major provisions appears below, excerpted from the Senate press release on the bill:

  • Increasing the percentage of Class I 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.

This inventory from Senator Pacheco’s office provides a more detailed list. Provisions adopted by amendment are highlighted in this spreadsheet prepared by Senator Barrett’s Office. For the complete legislative blow-by-blow, please see the official record here.

One thought on “OP-ED: State Senate Passes Energy Bill Aimed at Addressing Climate Change

  1. Passage of this bill would be a huge mistake. Renewable energy is much more expensive that traditional energy, it environmental benefits are questionable, and there is zero evidence that man influenced global warming or can reverse it or slow it down at all.

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