Clean Energy Program Director
Mass Climate Action Network
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Report Misleads the Public About Munis and Climate
BOSTON, MA (August 22, 2019) - A report commissioned by the Municipal Electric Association of Massachusetts (MEAM) appears to misrepresent the facts about greenhouse gas pollution from the state’s 41 municipal light plants (MLPs), in order to get out of their climate responsibility. The report, titled “Fuel Mix and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Municipal Light Plants in Massachusetts,” asserts that the MLPs’ combined portfolios contained 75% non-carbon-emitting electricity sources in 2017.
The true percentage of non-carbon-emitting electricity in the MLPs’ combined portfolios in 2017 was less than a third of what MEAM claims: just 26%, according to the Department of Environmental Protection’s methodology; most of that power is from nuclear sources and distant hydro power. The reasons for the discrepancy include a practice called double counting as well as claiming attributes from the New England grid mix.
“With the dubious accounting method used in that analysis, a renewable energy project can be counted twice, once by the utility which creates the power and again by the utility which purchases the renewable energy certificate. This substantially overstates the pollution reduction for the utilities who engage in this deception,” said Bradley Hubbard-Nelson, MCAN Board Member and Concord resident. “I’m glad to say that Concord’s MLP has chosen to do the accounting properly, and I hope the other municipal utilities do so as well.”
Municipal electric utilities make up 14% of electricity in Massachusetts, yet they continually seek exemptions from the state’s climate goals on clean energy and energy efficiency.
Earlier this year MCAN released a report titled “What’s the Score?” ranking each of the 41 MLPs on its fuel mix and other climate-related initiatives. The report found that in 2017 no MLP met the renewable energy standard required of investor-owned utilities, none achieved the energy efficiency results of MassSave, and many misrepresented to their customers how much clean energy is in their portfolios.
"This MEAM report on municipal power plant clean energy use is full of very misleading claims. For one it focuses narrowly on contracted energy, which is less than half the total energy," said Kimberly French of Sustainable Middleborough, "That is like saying the Red Sox are undefeated this year because they won half their games."
The Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), is a 501(c)3 non-profit that fights the climate crisis at a municipal-level. MCAN works as a facilitator to 51 chapters across the entire state of Massachusetts, representing more than 100 towns and cities. MCAN empowers local chapters by enhancing communication, promoting town-level projects that improve communities, decreasing climate change-causing pollution, and reducing development time for those projects. The organization speaks on behalf of all chapters to improve Massachusetts energy and climate policies and programs. Visit our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.