As House prepares to take up clean energy, it's time to go big

Clean energy legislation could be taken up for a vote in the Massachusetts House of Representatives today, as the July 31deadline for action approaches.

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

"We applaud Speaker Robert DeLeo, Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, and other members of House leadership for moving clean energy legislation closer to a vote.

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

"We urge House members to pass H.4738 and adopt the amendment offered by Representative Kay Khan, which would accelerate the growth of clean energy to achieve 50 percent renewable electricity by 2032 and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2048.

"We also urge House leadership to release solar legislation for a vote on the floor of the House today, to remove arbitrary obstacles standing in the way of clean energy."

The House could vote on three bills today related to clean energy:

  • 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 has offered an amendment (#29) to increase the RPS by 3 percent per year, reaching 100 percent renewable electricity by 2048. So far, 41 House members have sponsored Rep. Khan's amendment.

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.