MassINC Report Shines Light on Massachusetts’s Strong Climate Change Mitigation Efforts

Author: Marissa Newhall, Clean Energy Group | Project: Clean Energy States Alliance

MassInc Report CoverMassINC today released the first independent assessment of Massachusetts state action on climate change since the precedent-setting Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. The report, titled “Rising to the Challenge: Assessing the Massachusetts Response to Climate Change,” was researched and written in partnership with the Clean Energy States Alliance.

The report lauds the state’s aggressive climate change action plan and the great strides made in energy efficiency and renewable energy, but concludes that the state may fall short of reaching its 2020 goal unless immediate action is taken.

Among the report’s recommendations:

  • Massachusetts should accelerate the launch and implementation of new initiatives from the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan, which was released in December 2010.
  • The state should appoint a cabinet-level climate administrator to manage all aspects of the cross-agency program.
  • State leaders should create and implement an effective, transparent progress-tracking and monitoring system.

Massachusetts has put in place a wide array of sophisticated programs and policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The report includes detailed descriptions and analyses of these many initiatives. Among the initiatives the report concludes are progressing well—and can indeed serve as national models—are the state’s policy to support all cost-effective energy efficiency, the renewable portfolio standard, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s clean energy industry development efforts, the Green Communities Program, and the Leading by Example program.

The report finds other initiatives, many related to transportation, have been lagging, including clean car consumer incentives, pay-as-you-drive insurance, and Green DOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative within MassDOT.

In 2008, Governor Patrick signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act, which legally committed the state to reducing emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. In 2010, the state issued the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020, a series of initiatives that, taken together, would bring the state to an interim goal of reducing emissions 25 percent by 2020.

Long Island Solar Farm – How Public/Private/Federal Partnerships Can Make Big Things Happen

Author: Maria Blais Costello | Projects: Clean Energy Finance, Clean Energy States Alliance

blogphoto-LISFIn early 2012, the Long Island Solar Farm, located in Upton, NY on Long Island, was given Renewable Energy World’s “Excellence in Renewable Energy – Reader’s Choice Award.” The project, a 164,312 panel solar PV farm, is a winning example of how state policy makers, public utilities, private investors, and the federal government can partner to create an innovative clean energy project and pave the way for a cleaner energy future.

This 32 MW project is the result of years of hard work and cooperation between BP Solar and MetLife (private co-investors, co-owners), the US DOE Brookhaven National Lab (federal partner and host site for the PV facility) and the Long Island Power Authority (public municipal utility, power purchaser, and public funder for clean energy markets.) Working together, this team effort has developed the largest photovoltaic array in the eastern U.S., and it is among the largest in the nation constructed on federal lands. The project went online in November 2011.

Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), a public utility with strong programs for clean energy development and a member of the Clean Energy States Alliance, has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Long Island Solar Farm (LISF) to buy the nearly 50 gigawatt hours of clean energy produced each year, along with the Renewable Energy Credits or RECs for the project. The cost to LIPA is estimated to be a total of $293 million (including interconnection costs) over the 20 year agreement or about $0.60 per month for the typical LIPA residential customer. This project will produce enough energy to power up to 4,500 Long Island homes and makes Long Island a national leader in clean, renewable energy.

According to LIPA’s chief operating officer, Michael D. Hervey, the solar farm will strengthen LIPA’s renewable energy portfolio as well as reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and assist New York State in meeting its 30% by 2015 RPS goal. The project is also expected to strengthen the local economy and create new, high-quality clean energy jobs.

Located on the Brookhaven National Lab property, the project site is an example of how use of DOE sites can attract both private and public investment, help create jobs, and encourage collaboration between federal and state agencies. As part of the project, LIPA, Brookhaven Lab, and BP Solar established a Natural Resources Benefits package that includes open space preservation, habitat preservation, research and restoration of lands around the solar power plant.  This effort also established the Northeast Solar Energy Research Center and Lab where researchers will use data collected from the project to learn more about solar interconnection to the grid, and about the challenges of deploying a large-scale PV installation in the Northeast.

More information about the project benefits can be found at https://www.bnl.gov/SET/LISF.php.

As discussed in the blog post of January 12, 2012 by Lew Milford, Clean Energy Group, and Mark Muro, Brookings Institution, “Funding Growth: State Clean Energy Funds Can Help Invent the Future,” this type of funding collaboration between state, federal and private investors can help sustain the unprecedented growth that renewable energy technologies have experienced in the last decade. We hope to see more of these projects in the future.