Last week, even as President Donald Trump (R) was sworn in and removed all mention of renewable energy from the White House website, lawmakers in Massachusetts were proposing a bill that would commit the state to sourcing all of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. If passed it would be the most aggressive renewable portfolio standard in the US, surpassing even Hawaii’s RPS, which requires the state to make the transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045.
The legislation, An Act to transition Massachusetts to 100 percent renewable energy, was introduced as SD.1932 and HD.3357. It would also eliminate all use of fossil fuels in the state by 2050—that includes the use of fossil fuels in the transportation and heating industries in the state. The state has set progressively higher goals for renewable energy with Gov. Charlie Baker (R) pushing to install 5 more gigawatts of solar power in the state last year.
The legislation was proposed by three Democratic Massachusetts lawmakers, Rep. Sean Garballey, Rep. Marjorie Decker and Sen. Jamie Eldridge. "This legislation provides a bold step by placing the Commonwealth on a path to a cleaner and more sustainable future," Garballey said. "It encourages job creation, protects and sustains our natural resources, reduces our carbon footprint and would benefit the health and well-being of our citizens in immeasurable ways. More importantly, it signals to the country our commitment to long-term solutions in meeting the very real challenges of climate change, and lights the way for similar efforts across the nation. I am honored to have a staunch ally in Representative Decker."
The bill was praised by environmental advocates like Environment Massachusetts. “This bill sends a clear message to officials in DC: Massachusetts is determined to keep moving forward on clean energy,” said Ben Hellerstein, director of Environment Massachusetts. “We’re proud to work with Representative Garballey, Representative Decker, and Senator Eldridge to move Massachusetts towards 100 percent renewable energy.”
"I am energized by the goals and ideas laid out in this bill," Decker said. "This signifies a tremendous opportunity to put the environment at the forefront of our public policy discussion. Representative Garballey and I proudly represent constituents who strongly advocate for renewable energy and I am pleased to provide legislative support to their work."
Under the legislation, Massachusetts’ Department of Energy Resources would set binding targets for renewable energy throughout the state and issue regulations ensuring the state remains on track to source 100 percent of its energy from renewables 2050. The bill strengthens the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, under which Massachusetts must reduce its carbon emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
The bill also would create a Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund to increase employment in renewable energy sectors including in offshore wind and energy efficiency. With at least half of such funds benefitting residents of gateway cities, transitioning fossil fuel workers, and those in communities that can benefit from environmental justice.Tweet