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Boston Ranks No. 1 in National Clean-Energy Report

The new ACEEE report highlights Boston's zoning regulations that support wind energy systems. (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center)
The new ACEEE report highlights Boston's zoning regulations that support wind energy systems. (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center)
July 26, 2019

BOSTON – A new report ranks Boston's clean-energy efforts first in the nation among 75 of the largest U.S. cities.

In the 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Boston gets a perfect score for the efficiency efforts of the energy utility that serves the city. Boston also ranks highly for its energy-efficient building codes.

Dave Ribeiro, senior research manager for the council and lead author of the report, says the city should be proud of its efforts, but there's a lot more that can be done.

"Making sure that its building codes stay strong and it adopts updated codes as those updated codes come out. And also, not forgetting about transportation, either,” says Ribeiro. “If cities are going to achieve their ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a very large extent by 2050, looking at transportation emissions is very important."

The report says across the country, major cities implemented 265 initiatives to advance energy-efficiency and the use of renewable power between January 2017 and April 2019. Despite topping the rankings, Ribeiro says Boston still isn't on target to reach its 2050 goal.

Forty-three percent of Massachusetts carbon emissions come from transportation, which is well above the national average. While city, state and transit officials have acknowledged and taken steps toward additional funding to fix the ailing Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Ribeiro says Boston is doing more than some other cities.

"We found that the transit system serving Boston is well-funded relative to other cities,” says Ribeiro. “That doesn't mean that Boston shouldn't invest more in it, but there's room to grow across the board, including transportation."

This is the group's fourth City Clean Energy Scorecard, and no city besides Boston has taken the top spot, so far. Rounding out the top five this year: San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Washington, DC.

Jenn Stanley, Public News Service - MA