Massachusetts

New panel charged with helping Massachusetts meet its renewable energy goals​

Massachusetts has set a goal of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

Daniel Bosma | Moment | Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey announced the formation this week of a new panel charged with guiding the state’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The Energy Transformation Advisory Board includes representatives of labor, business, finance and environmental justice advocacy organizations as well as utilities, building owners and developers.

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The board will advise the newly established Office of Energy Transformation, which has been given the task of affordably and responsibly accelerating the state's gas-to-electric transition and readying the electric grid to meet the state’s climate and clean energy mandates.

The office has already announced three of its top goals: transitioning away from the Everett Marine Terminal liquefied natural gas facility, decarbonizing how the state meets peak electric demand, and establishing alternative mechanisms to finance the clean energy transition.

Massachusetts has set a goal of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

The best way to meet those goals will be the electrification of buildings and transportation powered by new clean energy sources, according to the Healey administration.

The Office of Energy Transformation’s mission is to ensure that the electric grid is affordably enhanced, that the state is making steady progress toward moving away from fossil fuels, and that workers and businesses dependent on fossil fuels for their livelihood have support during the transition.

“The clean energy future will not happen if we operate in silos,” Healey said in a written statement. “The Office of Energy Transformation and this newly-created Advisory Board is an invitation to everyone impacted to come to the table, bring solutions, and make real commitments to move us forward."

The announcement follows last week's approval by the Massachusetts Senate of a bill aimed at expanding the adoption of renewable energy in a bid to help Massachusetts meet its climate goals, including reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Supporters say the proposal will help lower utility bills by directing providers to offer discounted rates to consumers with low and middle incomes and give the state more flexibility to negotiate contracts with providers.

The bill would also ban “competitive electric suppliers,” which cost Massachusetts consumers more than $577 million over the past eight years, according to a report from the state attorney general’s office.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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