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Ben Hellerstein,
Environment Massachusetts

Ten years of progress positions Massachusetts to take renewable energy to the next level

For Immediate Release

Boston – Massachusetts ranks sixth in the nation for increased solar energy generation and second for increased electricity efficiency savings since 2007, according to a new report released today by Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center.

“Every day, we see more evidence that a future powered entirely by renewable energy is within our reach,” said Ben Hellerstein from Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. “Solar and wind, along with emerging technologies like electric vehicles and energy storage, will help us transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy faster than many had thought possible.”

The report also highlights advances in the use of wind energy, energy storage, electric vehicles. Massachusetts ranks 11th in the nation for the total number of electric vehicles sold through March 2017.

“Massachusetts has taken important steps to accelerate the growth of the clean energy sector, but now is the time for bold action,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “I am very proud to partner with Representative Garballey, Representative Decker, and Environment Massachusetts to file S.1849, the 100% Renewable Energy Act, which will ensure that the Commonwealth remains a leader in combating climate change while also creating thousands of new jobs for our residents.”

“The message in this report is clear,” said State Representative Sean Garballey (D-Arlington). “Massachusetts has the human and infrastructural resources to usher in an era powered entirely by renewable energy, and this legislation creates a clear framework to achieve that goal.”

“Massachusetts has been a leader working to make renewable energy a resource we can thrive on,” said State Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge). “This report gives us critical insights, a pause to take pride in our work, and gives us a blueprint for an even cleaner, safer future.”

The report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future, provides a state-by-state assessment of the growth of key technologies needed to power the nation with clean, renewable energy, including wind, solar, energy efficiency, energy storage and electric vehicles.

“Clean energy is growing rapidly in Massachusetts, but we can go much further,” said Emily Norton, Chapter Director for the Massachusetts Sierra Club. “It's time for state leaders to accelerate the growth of solar, wind, electric vehicles, and other technologies that will help Massachusetts achieve 100 percent renewable energy.”

Officials in Massachusetts and other northeastern states are currently debating whether to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a program that limits carbon pollution from power plants and funds clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Last August, officials in Governor Charlie Baker’s administration pledged their support for doubling the rate at which emissions decline each year under RGGI. Since then, however, the administration has been largely silent on the issue.

"Key clean energy technologies are improving rapidly and getting cheaper seemingly every day," said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. "These and other advances open up new opportunities to end our dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a future built on clean, renewable energy."

The report comes as state leaders consider whether to make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to commit to a goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy economy-wide. The 100% Renewable Energy Act, filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Sean Garballey, and Representative Marjorie Decker, would power Massachusetts with 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035, and require 100 percent renewable heating and transportation by 2050. The bill has been cosponsored by 58 legislators so far.

"With climate change already affecting our communities, we can't waste any time in moving Massachusetts to 100 percent renewable energy,” said Andrew Gordon, Legislative Coordinator for 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future. “State officials should invest in solar, wind, and other clean energy technologies, rather than spend billions on fossil fuel infrastructure that will keep us hooked on dirty energy."

A growing number of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions are also considering commitments to 100 percent renewable energy. At least four cities and towns in Massachusetts — Cambridge, Salem, Leverett, and Framingham — have adopted a goal of 100 percent renewable energy. Nearly 100 major companies have made a similar commitment, including Apple, Walmart and LEGO.

“The reality is inescapable: fossil fuels pollute our air, water and land, threatening our health and changing our climate even faster than scientists predicted,” said Hellerstein. “We need to seize the moment and lean into a future powered by clean, renewable energy.”

Click here to read Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future.

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Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.