Boston – Renewable energy, from sources like solar and wind power, would meet 100 percent of Massachusetts’ needs for electricity, heating, and transportation by 2045 under legislation unveiled at the State House today.
“We can power our lives without polluting our air or changing our climate,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “Putting Massachusetts on a path to 100 percent renewable energy is the biggest thing we can do for cleaner air, healthier communities, and a safer climate.”
Representative Marjorie Decker and Representative Sean Garballey recently filed An Act repowering Massachusetts with 100 percent renewable energy (HD.3092), known as the 100% Renewable Energy Act. Senator Jamie Eldridge has filed legislation to achieve similar goals in the Senate (SD.1625).
These bills would transition Massachusetts to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035 and power other energy uses, like heating and transportation, with renewable energy by 2045.
“Our lives, our livelihood, and the future of our planet are fundamentally tied to both our belief in the devastating impacts of climate change as well as to acting on those beliefs, which ultimately means shifting our dependence to renewable energy,” said State Representative Marjorie Decker (Cambridge). “The choices we make to power our homes, transportation systems, and workplaces are just that — choices. To say we are at a crossroads with our energy future is to fail to describe the magnitude of this situation. Climate change is real, and we must take action to address it by adopting 100 percent renewable energy.”
“I am proud to be re-filing this bill with the support of my environmentally conscious colleagues who realize change is necessary,” added State Representative Sean Garballey (Arlington).
Environment Massachusetts also shared the 100% Renewable Energy Agenda, a set of ambitious bills to transform the way we use and consume energy across all sectors. Legislation included in the agenda would:
- Make all school buses and transit buses electric vehicles by 2035.
- Require solar panels on new residential and commercial buildings.
- Establish a “net zero” stretch building code, and set energy efficiency standards for existing large buildings.
- Set energy efficiency standards for appliances not currently covered by federal regulations.
- Require the use of clean, renewable heating in new buildings that receive state funding.
Advocates and legislators organized today’s event to encourage House members to co-sponsor legislation for 100 percent renewable energy before the February 1 deadline. Senators may sign on as bill sponsors later in the legislative session.
"We need to clean up our transportation system to protect our kids from dangerous pollution," said Matt Casale, Staff Attorney for MASSPIRG. "A 100 percent clean, renewable transportation system is possible — and this legislation will help us achieve it."
"To avoid the devastating effects of climate change, we need to transition off of fossil fuels as quickly as we can," said Deb Pasternak, Chapter Director for the Massachusetts Sierra Club. "More than 100 U.S. cities, as well as two states, have already pledged to go 100 percent renewable. It's time for Massachusetts to get on board."
A version of the 100% Renewable Energy Act was filed last legislative session with 56 sponsors. Supporters said that they hope to attract even more sponsors this time and get the legislation to Governor Baker’s desk before the end of the session.
So far, more than 35 environmental, civic, and business organizations have endorsed the 100% Renewable Energy Act. The Mass Power Forward coalition has included the 100% Renewable Energy Act as one of its top priorities for the 2019-2020 legislative session.
Environment America, a national network of state environmental groups including Environment Massachusetts, recently announced a nine-state campaign to pass bills committing to 100 percent renewable energy.
“Our kids deserve a clean, healthy, safe future,” said Hellerstein. “Now is the time to put Massachusetts on track to 100 percent renewable energy.”