With a 35–0 vote, the Massachusetts Senate passed a comprehensive bill on June 14 that would “promote a clean energy future” across the state. Here are some of the bill’s most important provisions:
- Raising Massachusetts’ Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by three percentage points a year. The RPS is the minimum percent of the electricity sold by utilities and competitive suppliers that is required to come from local renewable sources. Currently, the annual increase is one percentage point. Raising the RPS faster would stimulate the development of new renewable energy projects in our region.
- Eliminating the net metering cap. Net metering means that when solar panels produce more energy than the owner uses immediately, the extra goes into the grid and the owner gets a credit on his or her bill. Not limiting the amount of electricity that can be credited makes “going solar” affordable for more people.
- Getting more specific about reducing statewide carbon emissions. The Global Warming Solutions Act had already mandated 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050. The new bill sets interim targets for 2030 and 2040, and it instructs the state administration to produce specific plans for meeting all the goals.
- Encouraging further development and use of offshore wind, energy storage, and electric vehicles. All of these technologies would reduce fossil fuel use.
- Regulating competitive electricity suppliers more strictly. Allowing independent suppliers to compete for the business of individual residents was intended to help people save money. However, a study by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office shows that it does the opposite, and that vulnerable populations are hurt the most.
The next stop for the energy bill, now numbered S. 2545, is the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, time is tight: the current legislative session ends on July 31, and any bills that are still pending by then must start all over again next session.
Please contact your state representative now and ask him or her to pass the energy bill. If you can’t recall your rep’s name, here are three options:
- Call (617) 722-2000, dial 2 for the House of Representatives, and speak with the operator.
- Go to the Action Network website and compose an e-mail.
- Go to the Massachusetts Legislature’s “Find My Legislator” page. Enter your address, then click on your rep’s picture to get contact info.
And while you’re at it, consider contacting your state senator, too, and thanking him or her for passing this important bill.