Darlene Lombos, the Executive Director of Community Labor United, wrote an editorial piece for Commonwealth Magazine last month about Community Choice Energy and the need for the Mayor’s office to take swift action implementing it for Boston.
As the largest metro area in the state, Boston must play a leading role in meeting our climate goals as a state, while also reducing emissions and increasing resiliency in the city. Through CCE, Boston can expect to increase its clean energy portfolio by at least 5 percent, helping to reach its goal of a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
You can read the whole article here.
BNN News interviewed members of BostonCAN as part of a larger piece on climate readiness in Boston in the wake of two recent “Once in a Generation” storms that caused so much flooding.
Storm Prompts Call for Climate Action from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.
BNN interviewed Boston University professor Nathan Phillips, who discussed the need for Community Choice Energy to be acted on more urgently as a critical part of the climate plan for the City of Boston.
BCAN’s Rising Seas Rally made a splash.
We got picked up by multiple news outlets. The Boston Globe interviewed our campaign coordinator Andy Bean:
Bean said he hopes the city this year implements the Community Choice Energy plan that Boston’s City Council approved in October 2017, which would increase the amount of renewable energy residents and businesses use without raising costs.
The city has a Climate Action Plan, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and be carbon neutral by 2050, but Bean said it is overdue for an update.
We were also in the North End Waterfront neighborhood news and Universal Hub. Attendees were also interviewed by Boston Neighborhood Network News.
The City of Boston’s Department of Environment, Energy, and Open Space (EEOS) has initiated a formal process of information gathering to help it understand the implications of providing a Community Choice Energy program. EEOS Chief Austin Blackmon has released a document called “Request for Information Relating to Community Choice Aggregation Program” (the RFI), which invites electricity consultants, suppliers, and brokers, as well as non-profits, residents, and business owners, to respond to a series of detailed questions by March 20, 2018. The questions cover issues such as potential costs to customers and to city administration, methods of communicating effectively with approximately 673,000 residents, the optimal timing and length of contracts with suppliers, and the experiences of electricity aggregation programs in other municipalities, including opt-out rates and cases where programs have been terminated.
The order passed last October by the Boston City Council did not specifically mandate an RFI, but more generally authorized Mayor Walsh to “direct appropriate departments to research, develop, and participate in a contract or contracts” regarding CCE. The text of the RFI specifies that it is for information only. The decision whether or not to respond will not affect a company’s chances of getting a CCE contract in the future, and the RFI does not obligate the city to issue an RFP.
You can see the announcement of the RFI on page 13 of the City Record newsletter, including instructions on how to get a copy of the RFI itself.
Last Wednesday, 2/8, many of us attended the City’s “Let’s Talk Carbon Neutral” program. Presenters included Environment, Energy and Open Space Chief, Austin Blackmon; Director of Climate and Environmental Planning, Alison Brizius; Professor of Earth and Environment at Boston University and lead researcher on the Carbon Free Boston project, Cutler Cleveland; and Boston University Sustainability Director, Dennis Carlberg.
This was the first time the public was welcomed to hear presentations about Carbon Free Boston, a research initiative designed to quantify the choices that Boston must make in its efforts to reduce our collective contribution to global climate change. The data will be used to shape the 2018 iteration of the City’s Climate Action Plan. We were told that our opinions would be important in helping City officials make “tough choices.” Unfortunately we weren’t offered anything concrete about what options the City is considering, or even an overview of where we stand now on achieving the goals identified in Boston’s 2014 Climate Action Plan.
Climate action advocates we spoke with after the event generally shared our sense that the program conveyed very little information about how the City is defining “carbon free” or “carbon neutral,” what metrics Carbon Free Boston researchers are using, and what the process will be for community engagement in shaping the plan. This is especially disappointing given the extensive outreach and community education that influenced the writing of the City’s 2011 and 2014 Climate Action Plans.
Boston has set a goal of being “carbon free” by 2050. Tough choices demand more detailed understanding of the assumptions underlying the options.
The Toxics Action Network will be hosting its annual Local Environmental Action Conference on March 3rd, 2018. This all-day event brings together environmental activists from all over New England to share stories and strategies. Attendees can choose from dozens of workshops on environmental and social justice issues.
Don’t meet this chance to connect with like-minded people, while supporting one of our allies in their fight against environmental pollution. Please register!
Local Environmental Action Conference
March 3, 2018
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Matt O’Malley recently filed a new order to monitor the progress of the implementation of CCE for the City of Boston. The direct result of the order will be a new hearing:
THEREFORE BE IT ORDERED:
That the appropriate committee of the Boston City Council hold a hearing to discuss the implementation of Community Choice Energy in Boston, and representatives from the Office of Environment, Energy and Open Space and other interested parties and members of the public be invited to testify.
We don’t know when the hearing will take place, but BostonCAN and its allies will need to show up in full force again to let our officials know that we expect them to take quick and resolute action to implement this energy policy as part of their climate mitigation plans.
We’ll keep you posted on when the hearing happens, so check back here in the coming days.