MASS POWER FORWARD COALITION CALLS FOR BOLDER ACTION ON CLEAN ENERGY FROM STATE LEGISLATURE
For Immediate Release — Earlier today, the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy released their version of draft energy omnibus legislation.
Mass Power Forward, a statewide coalition of more than 150 environmental, social justice and community groups, businesses, and faith organizations responded by calling on lawmakers to take bolder steps to encourage wind and solar, and stop the construction of new gas pipelines.
As written, the bill requires the state to procure 1200 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2027. Wind developers and others have said that a procurement of 2,000 megawatts is necessary to spark the growth of the state’s offshore wind industry, and a study by the University of Delaware suggests such a procurement would halve the cost of offshore wind over the next decade. Coalition members called on the legislature to make a bigger commitment to offshore wind, and to double advances in the renewable portfolio standard to accommodate the simultaneous growth of land-based wind.
Coalition members cheered the fact that the bill does not include any explicit support for the “pipeline tax,” which would force ratepayers to subsidize new gas pipelines. But coalition members pressed lawmakers to go further by including an outright ban on electric ratepayer funding of new gas infrastructure.
Finally, Mass Power Forward members urged legislators to use the bill as an opportunity to support low-income and community solar. The solar bill that passed in March cut the reimbursement rates for low-income and community solar projects, which are needed to ensure equitable access to solar for all Massachusetts residents.
Bold, visionary leadership by the legislature is needed to achieve the goals outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. Just last week, the State Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state was not meeting its obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are pleased to see that the initial bill does not include the so-called ‘pipeline tax’,” said Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network Director Katy Eiseman. “We are hoping that as the bill moves forward, language will be added to affirmatively prohibit electric ratepayer financing of gas infrastructure.”
“I want it all, a ban on gas pipeline taxes, the full 2,000 megawatts for offshore wind, and accessible uncapped solar “ said Claire Miller of Community Action Works, “our health, our economy and our future require we double down on local renewable energy.”
“By choosing turbines over pipelines, Massachusetts can secure our transition from fossil fuels to clean energy,” said Joel Wool, Energy Advocate with Clean Water Action. “Let’s go big on wind, boost our commitment to clean power and protect ratepayers from risky commitments to fossil fuel industries of the past.”
“We congratulate our lawmakers on their efforts to develop energy legislation that will protect our planet and fulfill our moral obligation to future generations,” said Amy Benjamin, co-chair of the Mass Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action. “This House bill is a start but we need bolder action from the legislature in order to seize this historic opportunity to change the narrative on energy — and to let it begin with Massachusetts!”