Renewables on the rise in Massachusetts: solar grew nine-fold over past decade

Media Contacts
Lydia Churchill

Clean Energy Associate, Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center

Boston – In 2022, Massachusetts produced the equivalent of 10% of the electricity it consumes from solar, wind and geothermal power, compared with just 1.2% in 2013, part of a larger transition toward clean energy technologies. That’s according to the online dashboard, Renewables on the Rise 2023, released today by Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. 

“Massachusetts is wrapping up a decade of great renewable energy growth,” said Lydia Churchill, Clean Energy Campaign Associate with Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. “As state leaders double down on efforts to tap our immense renewable energy potential, Bay Staters can look forward to a greener, healthier future.” 

Topline findings for Massachusetts from the Renewables on the Rise 2023 dashboard include:

  • In 2022, Massachusetts generated 10 times as much solar power as it did in 2013, enough to power 441,063 typical homes.
  • In 2022, Massachusetts generated 1.1 times as much wind power as it did in 2013, enough to power 20,691 typical homes.
  • Energy efficiency measures installed in Massachusetts in 2021 will save 9,682 gigawatt-hours of power over their lifetimes, enough to power 910,671 typical homes for a year.
  • There were 22,104 electric vehicles sold in Massachusetts in 2022, 12 times as many as in 2013.
  • Massachusetts had 6,068 charging ports for electric vehicles at the end of 2022, 38 times as many as in 2013.

“Massachusetts is poised to take a giant leap in nationwide clean energy rankings once the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm comes online,” said Churchill, referencing the 62 turbines currently being placed in the ocean 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. “Vineyard Wind will produce enough clean electricity to power more than 400,000 Massachusetts homes with renewable energy.”

Massachusetts has a codified goal of reaching 40% renewable electricity by 2030.  

This analysis comes on the heels of Governor Maura Healey announcing the first multi-state offshore wind procurement agreement with Connecticut and Rhode Island and the creation of a commission to accelerate siting and permitting of clean energy infrastructure. 

Also on the dashboard: Massachusetts ranks 5th in the nation for growth in the number of electric vehicle chargers in the last decade.

Strong policies, combined with improving technologies and falling prices, have played a key role in driving the growth of clean energy, according to the report. Now, the Massachusetts state legislature is considering a bill, the 100% Clean Act (H.3689) filed by state Rep. Marjorie Decker and state Rep. Sean Garballey, to transition the state to 100% clean electricity, heating, and transportation.

“We can address the climate crisis and mitigate the impact moving forward,” said state Representative Decker (Cambridge). “That is why I filed the 100% Clean Act with Rep. Garballey, which will transition Massachusetts to 100% clean energy by 2035 and 100% clean heating and transportation by 2045. I look forward to working with my colleague Chair Jeffrey Roy to pass environmental legislation that will set our Commonwealth on a more sustainable and green path.”

Institutions of higher learning are leading the charge in Massachusetts: Last spring the Commonwealth’s flagship University of Massachusetts Amherst committed to powering its campus with 100% renewable energy by 2032. Meanwhile, in the greater Boston area, Roxbury Community College and University of Massachusetts Boston are home to solar canopies above parking lots generating clean energy for the Commonwealth.

“We are proud to host this event at UMass Boston beneath our solar canopy,” said Kathleen Kirleis, Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance at University of Massachusetts Boston. “This Solar-Plus-Storage project lowers energy costs, expands climate resiliency during peak energy use times, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Consistent with our public research university mission, we will continue taking steps to support renewable energy to ensure that we’re doing our share in the fight against climate change.”

“This is the planet my generation is inheriting,” said Ashanti McLean, UMass Boston student. “I’m hopeful we will rise to the challenge, and work to ensure a planet with clean air and clean water, because we chose to power our lives with clean energy.”

According to the dashboard, America produced more than three times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind in 2022 as in 2013. 

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in summer 2022, continues federal tax credits for renewable energy, such as wind and solar, through 2032. It also provides rebates for home efficiency upgrades and the purchase of heat pumps, electric induction stoves and other efficient electric appliances and equipment. In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act provides tax incentives to encourage individuals and businesses to buy electric vehicles.

“Millions of Americans and Bay Staters are already reaping the benefits of the dramatic clean energy progress we’ve made so far,” said Churchill. “With federal tax credits promising to turbocharge clean energy, now is the time for states to lean in on clean energy and transform the vision of 100% clean and renewable energy for Massachusetts into a reality.”