The legislative session ended last week, with two new environmental laws: an Environmental Bond Bill, authorizing the expenditure of $2.4 billion for climate change adaptation projects, and a Clean Energy Bill, that passed without the anti-pipeline tax provision.
Despite that absence, the Clean Energy Bill mandates augmentation of the annual increase in the percentage of renewable energy that utilities must offer as part of basic service. The percentage, which currently totals 13% and increases 1% per year, will now increase by 2% per year, starting in 2019 (before dropping back down to a 1% annual increase).
So, by 2030, basic electric service will be 35% renewable, (and more in many communities that have chosen a “greener” mix). This is another blow to new fracked gas pipeline proposals: as renewables become a larger part of our energy mix, the “need” for new fracked gas pipelines shrinks.
The 2016 Supreme Judicial Court opinion thus stays in force: it remains illegal for Eversource and the pipeline companies to require Massachusetts electric ratepayers to pay for gas pipelines.
But the fight is not over: the pipeline companies are planning to introduce legislation next session, so we will be calling on you to help again! We’ll update you soon.
In case you haven't read, here is a very thoughtful article by Emily Norton, who is leaving as head of the MA Sierra Club to run the Charles River Watershed Association. Emily is a powerful advocate for the environment, and for public health. and we look forward to working with her in her new role.