House clean energy vote is a good step, but we should go further

For Immediate Release

Boston – The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted today to approve bills to increase the growth of renewable energy, set energy efficiency standards for appliances, and support the development of energy storage technology.

Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts, issued the following statement:

"We applaud Speaker Robert DeLeo and members of the House for approving clean energy legislation.

"Now is the time to go big on clean energy. In the coming weeks, legislators have a huge opportunity to clean up our air, protect public health, and ensure a safe climate for our children. Let's not pass it up.

"We're encouraged by an amendment filed by Representative Kay Khan to accelerate the growth of clean energy to achieve 50 percent renewable electricity by 2032 and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2048. While this amendment did not come to a vote on the floor, nearly 50 House members signed on as cosponsors — a major show of support for a more ambitious clean energy commitment.

"As the legislation moves to the Senate, we urge legislators in both houses to craft an ambitious bill that puts Massachusetts on track to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050. We also urge House leaders to release solar legislation for a floor vote as soon as possible, so that we can remove arbitrary obstacles standing in the way of clean energy."

The House voted to pass three bills related to clean energy today:

  • H.4737, An Act relative to expanding resource efficiency in the Commonwealth
  • H.4738, An Act to increase renewable energy and reduce high-cost peak hours
  • H.4739, An Act to improve grid resiliency through energy storage

Under H.4738, the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), the requirement for utilities to purchase a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable resources like solar and wind, would increase by 2 percent per year between 2020 and 2030. Representative Khan offered an amendment (#29) to increase the RPS by 3 percent per year, reaching 100 percent renewable electricity by 2048.

report by the Applied Economics Clinic found that increasing the renewable portfolio standard by 3 percent per year, along with other clean energy policies, would result in 600,000 fewer metric tons of greenhouse gases per year by 2030 (equivalent to taking 128,000 cars off the road) at little to no additional cost to the public.

In order to pass a bill this year, the House and Senate must come to an agreement on legislative language before the end of the session on July 31.

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Environment Massachusetts is the statewide, citizen-supported environmental advocacy organization working to protect clean air, clean water, and open space.