Leaders of the Alliance for Clean Energy Solutions, a coalition of business groups, clean energy companies, environmental organizations and health and consumer representatives dedicated to advancing clean energy for Massachusetts, issued the following statements regarding the passage of “An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future” by the Massachusetts Senate and the recent advancement of clean energy bills in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
“Both the House and Senate have shown great leadership in moving bills to advance markets for clean energy resources through policy mechanisms like an increase to the state’s RPS, lifting or raising the solar net metering caps and various mechanisms to drive energy storage,” said NECEC executive vice president Janet Gail Besser, co-leader of ACES. “It is imperative that legislative leaders come together in the coming weeks to enact energy legislation this session. Together, these policies will keep Massachusetts in the lead as a clean energy economy, ensuring that a diverse energy portfolio provides reliable and cost-effective energy products and services for Massachusetts residents and businesses.”
“The Senate has acted decisively today to advance a bold vision for clean energy progress, including market-based climate policies and long-term GHG reduction requirements,” said Mark LeBel, staff attorney for Acadia Center and co-leader of ACES. “Higher levels of renewables and ambitious commitments to offshore wind and energy storage are key policies to address the energy needs of Massachusetts and all of New England. The House is also making significant progress advancing bills to promote renewables, energy storage, and electric vehicles. The ACES coalition looks forward to working with the legislature and all stakeholders to achieve a result that the entire Commonwealth can be proud of.”
ACES’s top priority is an increase to the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The need for this increase is highlighted in “An Analysis of the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard,” a May 2017 report developed by NECEC, in partnership with Mass Energy. The report found that an increase, such as the one called for by ACES, could create thousands of jobs across the region and lower wholesale electricity prices in Massachusetts while putting the Commonwealth on track to fulfill its obligations under the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Other ACES policy priorities, such as removing the net metering caps and advancing storage provide significant economic opportunity for the Commonwealth. Massachusetts lost one-fifth of its solar workforce in 2017 as a result of hitting net metering caps across much of the Commonwealth, a significant decline that could be reversed if net metering caps are increased. Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ “The State of Charge” report found that energy storage could deliver $3.4 billion in benefits to Massachusetts. Energy storage can also affect a 10% reduction in Massachusetts peak system demand and more than a million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions reductions over a ten-year period.
“By strengthening the already successful Renewable Portfolio Standard, Massachusetts has the potential to help businesses of all sizes, contribute to emission reduction goals, and put MA on the map as a competitive state to do business” says Bev Armstrong, CEO of Brazo Fuerte Artisanal Beer, and secretary of The Alliance for Business Leadership.
“Companies and investors across the Commonwealth have embraced renewable energy to help cut costs, reduce exposure to the volatility of fossil fuel prices, and stay competitive,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior manager of state policy at Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization that works with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. “A stronger Renewable Portfolio Standard will drive additional economic growth. That is why major Massachusetts companies support increasing the standard to achieve 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.”
“This bill fixes policies that have caused one of Massachusetts’ strongest industries to shed jobs and stifle businesses and consumers who want to go solar,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for SEIA. “We commend the state Senate for advancing this legislation, and we urge the House to do its part. By taking up key parts of this bill, the House can help bring thousands of solar jobs back to the Bay State, unlock millions of dollars of investment currently in limbo, and prevent consumers from being charged discriminatory fees when they embrace solar and other renewables.”
“The Senate today passed a bill that would leap Massachusetts back into contention as a national leader on clean energy,” said Sean Garren, Northeast senior director for Vote Solar. “By setting a higher bar for renewable energy and removing barriers to citizens’ right to choose solar, the bill will put thousands to work delivering cleaner air, a safer climate and stronger local economies. Vote Solar applauds the Senate’s leadership on climate and clean energy and urges to House to swiftly act on this critical legislation. The Senate, with particular support from its Ways and Means Committee and Senators Pacheco and Barrett, has shown the type of bold leadership needed to ensure Massachusetts continues to put citizens to work in the clean energy sector reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The bill builds significantly on the strength of legislation approved last month by the Joint Telecommunications Utilities and Energy Committee. We are now hopeful that a majority of both branches can reach agreement on provisions vital to maintaining the Commonwealth’s nation-leading position on solar energy and get this legislation to Governor Baker’s desk.”
“We applaud the senate, and view it as a great sign that they approved several positive provisions important to the solar industry, including an amendment to void Eversource’s new anti-solar consumer demand charge,” said Evan Dube, senior public policy director at Sunrun. “Eversource’s demand charge would make the bills of customers who choose to install solar panels confusing and unfair. Today’s action demonstrates the senate’s commitment to keeping clean energy options like solar affordable and accessible for people across the state.”
News item from ACES
Updated at 1:27 pm ET on June 15