Business and environmental leaders say a rapid transition to renewable energy is feasible and necessary
Boston – Massachusetts can move quickly toward a future powered entirely by renewable energy, using technologies that are increasingly cost-competitive compared to fossil fuels, according to leaders from businesses and environmental organizations who spoke at a State House briefing today.
“Massachusetts has a responsibility to be a leader on clean energy policy,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge. “We must commit to a future powered entirely by clean energy, and pass legislation to systematically reach that goal. It is up to us to take bold action if we want future generations to inherit a clean planet. We must take initiative by reducing emissions, and protecting the safety of our air, land and water.”
“As co-chair of the Clean Energy Caucus, I'm focused on using every legislative tool available to us to plan for and implement both short-term and long-term solutions across all segments of the economy to face our climate crisis,” said State Representative Maria Robinson.
The 100% Renewable Energy Act (S.1958, H.2836) would transition Massachusetts to 100% renewable electricity by 2035, and phase out the use of fossil fuels for heating and transportation by 2045.
So far, 113 legislators have endorsed the 100% Renewable Energy Act, which was filed by Senator Eldridge, Representative Marjorie Decker, and Representative Sean Garballey. The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy held a hearing on the bill in July.
“A clean, renewable future is within reach,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “When we power our lives with energy from the sun and the wind, our air will be cleaner, our communities will be healthier, and we’ll be doing our part to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. We can achieve 100% renewable energy if all of us — local and state officials, business leaders, and ordinary citizens — work together to make it happen.”
More than 200 global companies have committed to a goal of 100% renewable energy through the RE100 initiative. Many of the companies that have joined RE100 have a significant presence in Massachusetts, including Biogen, Google, Microsoft, and P&G. Akamai Technologies, headquartered in Cambridge, has committed to source at least 50% of the electricity for its global network operations and supply chain from renewable sources by 2020.
“Massachusetts has the technical, financial and regulatory brains, as well as the private capital and innovation economy, to lead the world to 100% healthy and renewable energy,” said Jim Boyle, Chairman and CEO of Sustainability Roundtable, Inc., and a founding board member of the Alliance for Business Leadership. “Massachusetts' public officials should look to the example of world's fastest growing companies to help make our state the global hub of this technology-based revolution. The move from fuel-based energy to technology-based energy rivals the development of the internet in the breadth and depth of its impact, and the time for Massachusetts to seize top leadership is now.”
“Akamai is committed to reducing its carbon impact, especially in the areas where we work, operate and live,” said Mike Mattera, Director of Corporate Sustainability for Akamai Technologies, Inc. “We are excited to open our new LEED-certified headquarters this week in Cambridge. The building was designed with energy reduction in mind, and 100% of its carbon footprint is fully mitigated by renewable energy certificates (RECs). Solar panels on the roof of the facility will further reduce our impact on the local Cambridge grid.”
Major institutions have also committed to 100% renewable energy targets, including Boston University and Partners HealthCare.
"The urgency of the climate crisis is becoming more and more clear with each passing day,” said Craig Altemose, Executive Director for 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future. “Happily, we know the solutions we need to implement, including first and foremost a just transition to 100% renewable energy as fast as we can muster. It's time to get serious about climate action."
Six states (Hawaii, California, New York, New Mexico, Washington, and Maine), along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have committed to phase out the use of fossil fuel electricity by 2050 or sooner. Under existing state law, Massachusetts would not reach 100% renewable electricity until 2095.
Today’s briefing was sponsored by Senator Eldridge and Representative Robinson, co-chairs of the Legislature’s Clean Energy Caucus.