The Alliance for Clean Energy Solutions (ACES), a coalition composed of diverse organizations dedicated to advancing clean, affordable and reliable energy for Massachusetts, announced its legislative priorities today. The priorities build off of previous successes in the Commonwealth to advance clean energy but also take a longer term perspective and embark into new areas where action to address pollution is vital. They will facilitate clean energy development, reduce climate pollution and its associated health impacts, protect consumers, enhance economic growth and encourage innovation.
“We have made great strides in advancing renewable energy generation since ACES was originally formed, and our priorities continue building on that foundation,” said Deborah Donovan, Massachusetts Director of Acadia Center. “The science on climate has painted a clearer picture of the urgency of the crisis and requires Massachusetts to establish clear long-term goals reflecting the latest data. We are calling upon the legislature to also address other areas where we have not made as much progress, like modernizing our grid and lowering emissions from transportation while also ensuring the needs of low income, working class communities and communities of color are made more central.”
The priorities look to establish long-term greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) targets and to continue the success Massachusetts has had in building renewable energy generation by improving and expanding the state’s procurement mechanisms. They also aim to make substantial improvements to the region’s electrical infrastructure by modernizing the grid to accommodate renewables and other clean resources like energy storage. Lastly and significantly for the coalition, they look beyond electric power to the GHG impacts of transportation.
“The ACES policy priorities are critical to the economic, energy and environmental future of the Commonwealth,” said Peter Rothstein, President of NECEC. “Our diverse coalition looks forward to working with the legislature to build upon Massachusetts’ success deploying cost-effective clean energy solutions to reduce carbon emissions, while driving innovation in clean tech and creating jobs.”
The ACES legislative priorities include:
Transportation Climate Policy and Equitable Clean Transportation Investment – Implement the regional approach to transportation climate policy under discussion (Transportation and Climate Initiative) in a timely manner, with proceeds to be invested to reduce transportation emissions, provide access to clean transportation for all, including communities with the least access to clean, reliable mobility options, through an inclusive process in the Commonwealth.
A Modern, Clean, and Resilient Grid – Provide for a future with widespread local energy resources, including solar, storage, and demand response, with improvements to the timeliness and fairness of interconnection processes, smarter electricity rates, improved net metering, enhanced access for low and moderate income (LMI) customers, and increased stakeholder input.
Stronger Long–Term Climate Protection Policies – Expand the greenhouse gas reduction requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, commensurate with the latest science, by using planning, public policy, and funding to reach interim targets⏤maximizing energy efficiency, utilizing 100% clean or renewable energy, deploying energy storage and other innovative clean technologies, implementing natural climate solutions, and expanding carbon pricing to all sectors.
Improved and Expanded Renewable Energy Procurement Mechanisms – Authorize additional state and regional procurements for offshore wind and other RPS Class I renewable energy resources, guard against conflicts of interest in project evaluation and selection, require climate benefits for all selected projects, enable new procurement mechanisms and funding sources to empower businesses and communities, and ensure that environmental impacts of electricity generation and transmission are appropriately avoided, minimized, and mitigated.
Also, the ACES legislative priorities include support for specific strategies related to energy efficiency, clean and efficient heating, and electric vehicles.
“Massachusetts has many great policies on the books, but more is needed to address transportation emissions and to meet our climate obligations,” said Eugenia Gibbons, Policy Director at Green Energy Consumers Alliance. “With the right mix of new policies, we can further reduce emissions and save more money by avoiding imported fossil fuels.”
“Investing in clean energy solutions is an integral step in hitting climate goals and stimulating economic growth,” said Jesse Mermell, President of The Alliance for Business Leadership. “Already, the clean energy sector has created over 100,000 jobs and contributed billions of dollars to the Commonwealth’s economy. Advancing the ACES priorities can reaffirm the state’s commitment to transitioning to a cleaner future and send signals that Massachusetts is a competitive place in which to work and do business.”