A broad coalition of social justice, clean energy and climate groups from across the Commonwealth signed onto a letter this week calling on the Legislature to develop bolder and more just solar policy. The letter, addressed to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, comes in response to the new SMART solar regulatory review, which the groups say falls far short of what will be needed for Massachusetts to reach its decarbonization goals, confront the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and meet the state’s mandate for serving low-income residents.
After acknowledging the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Resources (DOER) and the State Senate for taking some good first steps toward renewable energy goals, the coalition goes on to outline two key ways that the Commonwealth can address multiple issues at once and tackle the vast social inequities that exist when it comes to access to local sources of solar energy:
- Create a specific program to develop solar serving low-income, environmental justice and other disadvantaged communities with clean, cost-saving solar power.
- Make a stronger commitment to solar in order to keep the Commonwealth on track to a zero-carbon economy, far more than the SMART expansion.
“With the climate crisis, rampant inequity and COVID-19 pandemic looming over us, we need solutions that can change what is possible for a clean energy future,” said Stephan Roundtree, Jr., northeast director of Vote Solar. “The ongoing protests across the nation have again laid bare the many equity and systemic fissures in our social fabric. Developing clean, cost-saving solar to serve low-income, environmental justice and other disadvantaged communities is just a small part of building a cleaner, healthier and more just future. Now, the Legislature has an opportunity to ensure there is fair and equitable access to solar for all residents, businesses and organizations.”
View the letter below:
The letter was signed by representatives from the following organizations:
- Better Future Project
- Boston Catholic Climate Movement
- BlueHub Energy
- Climate Action Now, Western Mass
- Elders Climate Action – Massachusetts Chapter
- Environment Massachusetts
- Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM)
- Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) Climate Task Force
- Green Sanctuary, Climate Justice Group of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading
- Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light
- Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE)
- Self-Reliance Corporation
- Sierra Club Massachusetts Chapter
- Vote Solar
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