How Did We Do?: ELM Legislative Wrap Up
- $420 million for DCR reservations, forests, parks, and campgrounds;
- $55 million for rivers, wetlands, ponds, and streams; and
- $15 million for electric vehicles incentives and matching grants.
- an increase in the amount of clean power utilities are required to purchase (the renewable portfolio standard or RPS) by 2% per year;
- the establishment of an energy storage target of 1000 MWh by 2025;
- the authorization to increase offshore wind; and
- improvements to energy efficiency programs.
It also requires utilities to account for lost natural gas and curbs their ability to place unfair charges on new solar customers. While much less ambitious than what the Senate passed, the bill keeps us moving in the right direction. Most disappointing was that the bill did not lift the cap on solar net metering –the process by which solar owners can sell energy back to the electric grid — or include any form of carbon pricing.
Home Energy Audits – ELM drafted legislation that would have established a simple rating system for homes designed to let consumers compare the relative efficiency of homes on the market. This bill garnered the support of over 70 members of the legislature. Governor Baker embraced the concept and introduced his own bill. Ultimately, despite the Governor’s support, it did not pass this session.
Carbon Pricing – This session there was both a House and Senate version of carbon pricing legislation and a coordinated campaign to garner more legislative support. While neither of the stand alone bills passed this session, the Senate omnibus bill required development of a market based program to address GHG emissions starting with the transportation sector. While this provision did not make it into the final energy bill that passed this session, we will continue pushing for this tool next session.
As a founding member of the MA Smart Growth Alliance, ELM has worked for many years to reform our zoning laws. More compact development can support more walkable neighborhoods, less driving, and less consumption of natural areas. This session we supported zoning reform legislation that would address environmental concerns while promoting more affordable housing production in sensible locations. We joined colleagues in a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to bring attention to these issues and worked closely with legislative allies. We were hopeful that some version of this legislation would pass in the last days of the session, but unfortunately the clock ran out and the bill was not voted on.