Bill for 100% renewable energy approved by Senate committee

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Environment Massachusetts

Boston – Legislation that would commit Massachusetts to a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy has cleared a key hurdle, senators announced yesterday.

Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts, issued the following statement:

“Moving to 100 percent renewable energy isn’t just a good idea — it’s a necessity. We congratulate Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), and the other members of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change for the bold vision embodied in this legislation.

“Every day we continue to use fossil fuels, we’re doing lasting damage to our health and our environment, and we’re changing our climate in dangerous ways. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We can move rapidly to repower Massachusetts with 100 percent clean, renewable energy like solar and wind.

“With the release of this bill, Massachusetts is one step closer to a cleaner, healthier, safer future. We encourage the Senate to move quickly to approve this legislation — and we urge the House to get on board with an ambitious clean energy framework.”

At an event yesterday, Senator Pacheco and Senator Eldridge announced that the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change had approved an omnibus clean energy bill, entitled An Act to promote a clean energy future (S.479). The bill now heads to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, before coming to a vote of the full Senate.

The bill includes most of the elements of the 100% Renewable Energy Act, filed by Senator Eldridge, Representative Sean Garballey (D-Cambridge), and Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge) last January. It also includes several other policy proposals to accelerate the growth of solar power, wind power, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles.

Since the introduction of the 100% Renewable Energy Act, seven cities and towns in Massachusetts have committed to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy. Boston University has pledged to obtain 100 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by the end of 2018, while Hampshire College recently became the first residential college in the United States to power its campus entirely with clean energy from on-site solar panels.

The House has yet to act on clean energy legislation this session. Legislators have until July 31 to approve bills under consideration.