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Ben Hellerstein,
Environment Massachusetts

Mass. lawmakers and advocates set their sights on 100 percent renewable energy

Legislation filed to power Massachusetts entirely with solar, wind by 2050, as President Trump vows to halt U.S. climate action
For Immediate Release

Boston — State Representative Sean Garballey (D-Arlington), State Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), and State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) filed a bill today that would commit Massachusetts to obtain 100 percent of its energy from clean, renewable sources like solar and wind.

“As President Donald Trump takes office, this bill sends a clear message to officials in DC: Massachusetts is determined to keep moving forward on clean energy,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “We’re proud to work with Representative Garballey, Representative Decker, and Senator Eldridge to move Massachusetts towards 100 percent renewable energy.”

The bill, An Act to transition Massachusetts to 100 per cent renewable energy (HD.3357), would require the state to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035, and phase out the use of fossil fuels across all sectors, including heating and transportation, by 2050.

"This legislation provides a bold step by placing the Commonwealth on a path to a cleaner and more sustainable future," said Representative Garballey. "It encourages job creation, protects and sustains our natural resources, reduces our carbon footprint and would benefit the health and well-being of our citizens in immeasurable ways. More importantly, it signals to the country our commitment to long-term solutions in meeting the very real challenges of climate change, and lights the way for similar efforts across the nation. I am honored to have a staunch ally in Representative Decker."

"I am energized by the goals and ideas laid out in this bill," said Representative Decker. "This signifies a tremendous opportunity to put the environment at the forefront of our public policy discussion. Representative Garballey and I proudly represent constituents who strongly advocate for renewable energy and I am pleased to provide legislative support to their work."

In recent months, major businesses, institutions, and cities across the country have committed to achieve 100 percent renewable energy. San Diego, the eight largest city in the United States by population, has pledged to source 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035.

This summer, the Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center profiled 17 cities and towns in Massachusetts that are leading the way towards 100 percent renewable energy.

The legislation filed today would require the Department of Energy Resources to set binding targets for renewable energy growth in all major sectors of the economy, and issue regulations to ensure that Massachusetts stays on track towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The bill is designed to complement and strengthen the Global Warming Solutions Act, passed in 2008, which requires the state to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Additionally, the bill would increase the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), a state policy that requires utilities to purchase a minimum amount of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, bringing it up to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035.

The bill also directs the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy Resources to conduct studies identifying pathways towards 100 percent renewable energy in transportation and the building sector, with particular attention to policies that can expand access to renewable energy and energy efficiency options for low-income communities.

In order to increase access to employment opportunities in solar, offshore wind, energy efficiency, and other clean energy technologies, the bill creates a Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund. At least half of the money from the fund must be spent to benefit residents of Gateway Cities, transitioning fossil fuel workers, and residents of environmental justice communities.

President Trump has stated that dismantling the federal Climate Action Plan is among his top priorities.

Massachusetts has often been among the top states in the country for clean energy policies, and was the first state to limit carbon pollution from power plants.

“Now is the time for Massachusetts to go big on clean energy,” said Hellerstein. “We're excited to work with Representative Garballey, Representative Decker, and Senator Eldridge to advocate for the solutions we need."

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Environment Massachusetts is the statewide, citizen-funded advocacy group working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.