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Commonwealth Could Be National Leader in Renewables

Time is running short for the Massachusetts House and Senate to decide on the rate of growth for renewable energy in the Commonwealth. (Pixabay)
Time is running short for the Massachusetts House and Senate to decide on the rate of growth for renewable energy in the Commonwealth. (Pixabay)
July 19, 2018

BOSTON – The Massachusetts House and Senate have passed energy bills that dictate the percentage of renewable energy in which the Commonwealth will invest by raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

That's the percentage of electricity that utilities have to get from renewable sources.

The House wants to raise the RPS to 2 percent a year, starting in 2020 for several years, then reduce it to 1 percent. The Senate wants 3 percent.

Casey Bowers, legislative director for the Environmental League of Massachusetts, says a 3 percent RPS would make the Commonwealth a leader in renewable power, and attract businesses that want to produce it.

"The Renewable Portfolio Standard basically sends an announcement to the utilities that there is going to be a market for these renewable sources – be it offshore wind, be it solar, be it another renewable standard," she explains.

Now, it's up to three members each from the House and Senate to decide on the percentage. And the decision needs to be made quickly – before the end of the formal legislative session on July 31st.

Bowers says increasing the RPS to 3 percent would send the signal that Massachusetts is serious about renewables – and about fighting climate change.

"If we were to see the 3 percent, we would be, like, the top in the country,” Bowers states. “We'd have the highest RPS.

“And right now, New York –and I believe, Connecticut – are a little bit ahead of us. So, we're hoping to keep the strides up and keep being the leader that we know we can be."

Conservation groups have an even more ambitious goal. They want to see lawmakers push for Massachusetts to get 100 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2050.

Linda Barr, Public News Service - MA