Massachusetts suffers from the triple burden of high priced energy that pollutes our air and puts us at economic risk. Together with Representative Matt Patrick, I have introduced the Energy, Climate and Economic Security Act, a comprehensive bill that addresses energy policies for utilities, transportation and buildings and provides assistance to our cities and towns as they implement efficiency and renewable programs. Massachusetts has taken steps to encourage the use of renewable energy and conservation, yet our consumption grows faster than these resources. Each step forward is matched by two steps backward. We need a revolution in the way we think about energy production, our economy, and the environment. This bill creates policies that properly reward smart energy decisions by consumers, businesses, and investors.
Specifically, the Energy, Climate and Economic Security Act:
Creates an energy policy process for electricity and natural gas that minimizes costs for consumers big and small by emphasizing conservation and least-cost procurement.
Increases the net metering standard to insure that individuals and businesses that invest in renewable energy devices are fully compensated for the electricity they sell into the electric grid.
Strengthens the existing renewable portfolio standards (RPS) by requiring utilities to acquire renewable energy certificates for no less than the next 15 years in compliance with the Renewable Portfolio Standard statute.
Creates a dedicated renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for combined heat and power.
Decouples utility industry profit from sales, allowing greater investments in conservation by removing industry disincentives for efficiency.
Creates a system benefit charge for gas and home heating fuels to fund energy efficiency programs for consumers.
Creates a Clean Car Initiative, establishing a sliding scale sales tax for vehicles, rewarding fuel savers.
Requires that any new state vehicles meet or exceed fuel efficiency standards established by the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Requires the Mass. Highway Department to evaluate highway lighting statewide and to explore how money can be saved by replacing existing fixtures with lower-wattage FCO fixtures or eliminating lighting altogether where appropriate.
Requires fuel stations on the Massachusetts Turnpike to offer over time an increasing number of fuels, including gasoline, diesel, bio-diesel, E85 and/or plug-in electricity.
Creates a Green Building Tax Credit for buildings that meet the US Green Building Council LEED standards.
Increases the renewable energy income tax credit to 50% of the cost of a solar system to a maximum of $5,000.
Updates the state building code automatically to conform to the International Energy Conservation Code and any future revisions.
Sets standards for the energy-efficiency of residential buildings financed in whole or in part by the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency or by the Home Mortgage Finance Agency.
Removes the state statutory and regulatory barriers to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.