New Senate Bill in Massachusetts Provides Opportunities for Renewable Resources

Yesterday, June 7, 2018, the Massachusetts the Ways and Means Committee released S2545, “An Act to promote a clean energy future.” The far-reaching bill has the potential to provide new opportunities for renewable resources and in so doing, may also affect the competitive markets in the region. Among other things, the bill would:

  • establish new interim greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction limits;
  • require the development of an energy storage system target program;
  • allow for the procurement of an additional 5,000 MW of off-shore wind;
  • potentially allow for additional procurements of clean energy;
  • eliminate net metering caps for solar facilities; and
  • clarify the circumstances under which distribution companies can impose demand charges on new solar customers.

With respect to GHG emissions, the bill calls for a reduction of “between 35 per cent and 45 percent below the 1990 emissions level” by 2030 and a reduction of “between 55 percent and 65 percent” by 2040. To meet these goals, the bill requires the participation of the transportation, commercial and residential sectors under “market-based compliance” means as redefined in the legislation.

The bill also establishes a new energy storage target program that would deliver up to 2,000 MW of energy storage by January 1, 2025. The bill expressly allows for direct ownership of energy storage systems by distribution companies.

Finally, the bill would authorize the solicitation of up to an additional 5,000 MW of off-shore wind under the Section 83C procurement process. In addition, the legislation leaves open the possibility the additional solicitation of an unspecified amount of new clean energy resources in addition to the 9.45 million megawatt hours currently authorized under the 83D procurement process.

The bill will be heard on the floor of the Senate next week. Proposed amendments to the bill are due by 5:00 on Monday, June 11.  In light of the number of interests affected in the energy, transportation, and building sectors, we can expect the debate to be lively.

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