Boston – With time running out for state officials to act, experts sent a letter today urging legislative leaders to enact ambitious clean energy policies.
The letter asks legislators to increase the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by at least 3 percent per year, to reach 50 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050. The letter also calls for the elimination of caps on solar net metering, which are holding back investments in solar energy in 230 communities.
“It’s time to go big on clean energy,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “Experts agree that we can have healthier communities today, and a livable planet for our children, if officials adopt strong policies to expand renewable energy.”
The letter is signed by 16 academics, researchers, and industry leaders, with expertise in clean energy generation, the electric grid, building technologies, public health, climate science, public policy, and other fields.
Key points in the letter include the following:
- There are no insurmountable technological or economic barriers to achieving 100 percent renewable energy across all sectors of the economy.
- Current policies are insufficient to realize Massachusetts’ full clean energy potential. In particular, the caps on solar power are already holding back the development of clean energy resources.
- The RPS should be increased by at least 3 percent per year. Other clean energy policies, such as the alternative portfolio standard and hydropower procurement, are not a replacement for a strong RPS.
- The caps on solar net metering should be eliminated. The SMART (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target) incentive program will complement net metering, but will not be an adequate replacement for it.
- A new demand charge on residential solar customers could pose a significant barrier to the growth of solar energy.
The letter cites a recent study by the Applied Economics Clinic, which shows that increasing the RPS by 3 percent per year and adopting other clean energy policies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 600,000 metric tons per year by 2030, equivalent to taking 128,000 cars off the road, at little to no additional cost to consumers.
The 2017–2018 legislative session ends on July 31.