This is the webpage for the Municipal Light Plant Report Card created by MCAN.
Massachusetts’ municipally-owned electric companies have major opportunities for improvement to meet the state's clean energy goals, according to our new investigation in our report linked above. The report, titled grades all 41 Municipal Light Plants (MLPs) on their clean energy supply portfolios, energy efficiency programs, transparency to their customers, and the extent to which they plan to reduce their dependence on dirty energy over time. Further resources are linked below, along with the press release.
Graph made by Applied Economics Clinic.
New MCAN Report: Municipal Light Plants Need Improvement to Meet Climate Goals
January 29, 2019 -- Massachusetts’ municipally-owned electric companies have major opportunities for improvement to meet the state's clean energy goals, according to a first-of-its-kind report from the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. The report, titled What’s the Score? A Comparative Analysis of Massachusetts Municipal Light Plant’s Clean Energy and Climate Action Performance, grades all 41 Municipal Light Plants (MLPs) on their clean energy supply portfolios, energy efficiency programs, transparency to their customers, and the extent to which they plan to reduce their dependence on dirty energy over time.
While most attention on expanding clean energy has focused on state-regulated, investor-owned utilities, locally-controlled Municipal Light Plants provide 14 percent of the electricity used in Massachusetts. What’s the Score finds MLPs need improvement for the Commonwealth to keep pace with its clean energy policies and goals:
- Not one MLP had enough renewable energy to meet the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2017. MCAN’s report finds the majority of the low-polluting energy claimed by MLPs is attributed to old nuclear generation, not a source of clean energy that the Massachusetts Clean Energy Standard or Renewable Portfolio Standard accept.
- At least 16 MLPs obscure or misrepresent information about how much clean energy they are actually providing, giving different information to their customers than they give when reporting carbon pollution to the state.
- No MLP is yet running an effective energy efficiency program and they all fall short of investor-owned utilities when it comes to kilowatt-hour (kWh) savings as a percentage of sales. With the exception of four towns, fewer than 2 percent of each MLP’s customers actually use the energy efficiency rebates offered. It appears that many MLPs are not tracking the results of their rebate programs.
“Massachusetts has set admirable clean energy goals, but we’re not doing enough to clean the 14 percent of our electricity provided by Municipal Light Plants. Imagine the Patriots trying to win the Super Bowl if 14 percent of the players didn’t get the playbook,” said Carol Oldham, executive director of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. “Energy efficiency and clean energy save customers money, cut pollution, shave peak power costs, and create local jobs. Yet our report shows that customers in MLP territories have been excluded from the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
What’s the Score also highlights some MLP success stories:
- Concord Municipal Light Plant has established strong, forward-thinking climate goals based on the town’s clean energy plan, and Belmont Light has adopted a policy to voluntarily meet the Clean Energy Standard regulation.
- Ten Municipal Light Plants supply up to 9 percent renewable energy to their customers, and five have applied for and received grants for energy storage projects that will reduce their reliance on polluting fracked gas power plants at peak usage times.
Before this report, there has never been a centralized survey, data collection, or ranking of Massachusetts Municipal Light Plants regarding climate solutions. As a supporter of municipal leadership on climate action and local decision-making, MCAN set out to explore the potential of MLPs, public electric providers owned and controlled by municipalities, to lead the way on climate action. This report provides the first comprehensive examination of how MLPs are addressing clean energy.
The top 5 scoring Municipal Light Plants:
- West Boylston
“Municipal Light Plants have access to resources and programs to do better on energy efficiency and clean energy. With our connections and network of technical expertise and climate advocates, MCAN is ready and willing to assist Municipal Light Plants with improving their score and their climate and clean energy policies,” said Oldham.
The Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), a 501(c)3 non-profit, fights the climate crisis one town at a time, empowering our local chapters by enhancing communication, promoting town-level projects that improve communities, decreasing climate change-causing pollution, and reducing development time for those projects. Visit our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
Webinar on MLPs and the MA Energy Market
The slides can be found here
Webinar on what light boards for MLPs do.
The slides can be found here.