State Legislation on Climate Change

An Act to Promote Energy Diversity, Chapter 188

Signed into law on August 8, 2016, an Act to Promote Energy Diversity became a major first step in expanding clean energy in Massachusetts. The bill includes major offshore wind legislation, an important amendment on gas leaks, and plans for energy storage.

To learn more about the victories from this bill, visit our Omnibus Fact Sheet.

Looking Ahead

This year’s clean energy legislation was a significant step in expanding clean energy in Massachusetts. From here, we want these positive changes continue, and we would like future legislation to be bold and visionary.

Our goal is to see legislation that appropriately cuts climate change causing pollution 80% by 2050, which is the scientific consensus of what needs to be done. We also need interim targets and check ins, to make sure that we are on track to meet our long term goals.

Better energy legislation will help our cities and towns move to clean sources of electricity, with good jobs, more comfortable homes, and plentiful green spaces for community members to enjoy. We would also like to see legislation that prioritizes energy efficiency for all, and great transit options.

So what would be in a great bill?

Solar - One other necessity for an effective clean energy plan that does the job on climate is solar. Because this was not adequately addressed in the 2015/6 session, this needs to be taken care of at the start of the new session. Massachusetts needs to make policy changes that will increase the amount of solar electricity that’s available to everyone. Getting rid of the net metering caps so that projects that benefit local communities and create clean safe jobs  can move forward is important. It is important to make sure that these projects are on even footing with dirty energy, so that they can fairly compete.

RPS - One way for this legislation to be successful would be to increase the renewable portfolio standard (RPS). By increasing the RPS, the utility companies take on more of a responsibility for distributing renewable energy, taking off some of the dependence on dirty energy.

Offshore Wind - The state also needs to continue moving forward with offshore wind. A major barrier to these types of projects is financing, so developing a comprehensive mechanism to help these projects move forward is a major piece that still needs to be .

Energy Efficiency - The cleanest energy is energy that’s never used. By increasing our commitment to energy efficiency, we can make our buildings and homes more comfortable and save on our electric bills.

Storage - Treating energy storage as an energy procurement is a good start, but we need to make sure that this aspect of the clean energy market is appropriately incentivized and continues to grow.

Accountability for All-  Making sure the utility companies are a major player and an equal partner in solving climate change.


Say Thanks

This bill would not have been possible had it not been for the champions in our Massachusetts state legislature. Be sure to Tweet out your thanks to these wonderful advocates!

Senator Ben Downing- for his excellent championship of clean energy and climate change in general (@BenjaminDowning)

Representative Lori Ehrlich- for her great work with the gas leaks amendment (@loriehrlich)

Senator Bruce Tarr - for his hard work in fighting for increasing the renewable portfolio standard (@SenBruceTarr)

Representative Patricia Haddad - for her championship of offshore wind in the state (@rephaddad)

Senator Anne Gobi - for her efforts in reforming energy storage (@AnneGobi)


The Green Communities Act, Chapter 169

Signed into law July 2, 2008. Increases opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable generation, aligns Massachusetts building code with the International Energy Conservation Code, and provides new programs for municipal clean energy development.

Want to learn more?

The Green Jobs Act

Signed into law August 13, 2008. Funds clean energy educational opportunities, allows for the creation of a Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Institute at a state college, and an Entrepreneurial Fellowship program to assist business developers entering the clean energy field.

The Global Warming Solutions Act, Chapter 298

Signed into law July 7, 2008. Requires Massachusetts to develop programs, policies, and regulations to ensure a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to at least 10% below 1990 levels by 2020. The 2020 reduction may be increased by up to 25% below 1990 after administrative hearings.

The Massachusetts Stretch Code to the State's Base Energy Code

Adds optional requirements and benefits for communities that adopt it. Will go into effect in 2010. See an overview of the benefits and requirements for communities of the Stretch Code.

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