Bill filed to transition Massachusetts to 100% clean energy

Media Contacts

BOSTON – State Reps. Marjorie Decker and Sean Garballey filed the 100% Clean Act Friday, which would transition Massachusetts to 100% clean energy for electricity, heating, and transportation. This bill would make Massachusetts the latest state to commit to 100% clean electricity, joining Maine, Rhode Island, New York, and seven others.

“The House of Representatives and the Legislature as a whole have made incredible strides over the last few years toward increasing our supply of renewable energy and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Now is not the time to slow down,” said Rep. Marjorie Decker (Cambridge). “I am excited to continue working with House Leadership on addressing the urgency of the climate crisis and taking further steps that meet where we are today. We will continue to partner and collaborate with both advocates and colleagues and I expect that we will continue making big strides this session.”

The bill (HD.3348) holds specific provisions for the electricity, heating, and transportation sectors, which will improve the energy-efficiency of our buildings, put more electric vehicles on the road, and increase the use of clean sources of energy like solar and wind.

“This legislation is critical to the future wellbeing of every citizen in the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Sean Garballey (Arlington). “We need to act promptly to pass strong, progressive policy change, such as requiring all utilities to provide 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. This is the first step to lasting change, so that we can stop our reliance on fossil fuels and ensure environmental justice on a state and local level.”

Last session, more than 90 representatives and senators signed on as cosponsors for a similar bill. The bill garnered support from health professionals, environmental leaders, and local elected officials. Several elements of that legislation, including a commitment for 100% of new cars sold in Massachusetts to be electric vehicles by 2035, were included in a climate law signed in August 2022.

“We can power our lives without polluting our air and water, harming our health, or changing our climate,” said Ben Hellerstein, state director for Environment Massachusetts. “People in Massachusetts deserve a future powered by 100% clean energy, and the 100% Clean Act will get us there.”

In recent months, Massachusetts has experienced extreme storms and flooding that experts link to climate change. A recent UMASS Boston report highlights projections estimating a 10 to 20 percent increase in daily precipitation intensity in Massachusetts by 2050, and a 20 to 30 percent increase by 2100. The report also estimates that the number of days over 90 ℉ could increase from approximately 10 days a year to 20-80 days a year, depending on future emissions.

“State law commits the Commonwealth to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. But the actual policies that we need to get there are not all in place,” shares Larry Chretien, Executive Director at Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Inc. “The 100% Clean Act puts each of the key sectors on the right path. If that wasn’t enough, the faster we become less dependent upon imported fossil fuels, the better insofar as our economy and national security are concerned.”

The 2022 Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment found that in just 7 years, the average summertime temperature will feel like summers in New York. By 2050, like Maryland; by 2070, like North Carolina; and by 2090, summer in Massachusetts could feel like summer in Georgia today.

“Massachusetts must join its neighbors when it comes to embracing 100% clean energy goals,” said Joe Curtatone, President of the Northeast Clean Energy Council. “Rhode Island aims to have 100% clean electricity by 2033, Connecticut and New York have 2040 targets, and Vermont is considering a 2030 target date. I urge the Legislature to boldly commit to clean energy for our buildings and transportation sector, and to harness the power of renewable energy and energy efficiency that will be a boon to all of our communities, our economy and the environment.”

The bill includes provisions to increase access to clean energy in environmental justice communities.

“Vote Solar celebrates the introduction of the 100% Clean Act alongside our allies and legislative champions,” said Elena Weissman, Vote Solar’s Northeast Regional Director. “This is the year for Massachusetts to commit to a fully clean electricity grid by 2035 and to ensure our transition is just and equitable. We have the solutions in front of us, now it’s time to set Massachusetts on a clear path forward.”

According to a recent survey from the Barr Foundation, an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts voters see climate change as a serious problem and a majority support the transition to 100% renewable energy.

“One of the biggest concerns of my generation is whether we’ll be able to meet the challenges of the climate crisis– transitioning to 100% clean energy is a critical piece of that puzzle,” said Sean Simonini, Campaign Coordinator with MASSPIRG Students. “Passing this bill will bring peace of mind to youth who, like myself, are concerned about our state’s reliance on fossil fuels and what that means for our future.”

Among other provisions, the 100% Clean Act would require new buildings to be built without fossil fuel heating and mandate the electrification of the MBTA commuter rail lines. It would also increase the renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to obtain a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, to put Massachusetts on track to 100% clean electricity by 2035.

“The need for resilient renewable energy is stronger than ever– worsening climate impacts are challenging the aging power grid and demand for clean electricity is growing,” shared Paula Garcia, Energy Justice Lead at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We’re hopeful to see leaders in Massachusetts take action to dramatically reduce heat-trapping emissions, produce positive health outcomes for Commonwealth residents, and save billions of dollars by 2040.”