We’ve discussed many times before that when it comes to clean energy promotion and integration, the need for local control and funding is tantamount. After all, by now it’s pretty clear that—whether it’s due to politics, an ailing economy, or simply lack of will—neither congress nor the president are in any position to swoop in and save the day.
Which makes the new, “multi-faceted” energy bill currently under consideration in Massachusetts very interesting. Could it be a bell weather of things to come?
The bill, set for consideration by the Massachusetts senate, “requires competitive bidding for long-term renewable energy contracts that would require that utilities purchase at least 7% of their total power supply from renewable sources, up from the current 3%.”
Additional provisions include:
* A reduction of the guaranteed ROI from 4% to 1% in an attempt put an end to the “sweetheart” deals that sometimes undermine renewable energy funding protocols
* A more frequent review of utility rate requests and a 10-month review period (up from the current six-month timeframe)
* Separate rate increases exceeding 10% are now allowed to be spread out over a two-year period.
A provision added in a redraft of the bill also raises the cap on net metering so that consumers who generate their own renewable energy onsite can “receive credit for unused power generation that is returned to the grid.”
The purpose of the bill is to maintain Massachusetts’ position as a leader in renewable power generation, while at the same time updating the state’s 2008 BGreen Communities law (which many feel is the reason for Massachusetts’ clean energy success, but is also blamed for the costs related to renewable energy integration in the state).
“We believe these are common sense updates; they will continue to allow Massachusetts to be a leader in the clean energy industry while providing for increased competition accountability and transparency for ratepayers,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley at a news conference called by Senate leaders.
So what do you think? Is this Massachusetts bill a harbinger of things to come? States like California and Texas are already commanding their own renewable energy futures—how long before other states follow their lead? And can localized action coexist with federal support and oversight, or are the two entities destined to operate as independent, parallel universes?
Upcoming Forester University Webinars
April 5th, 2012
for Surface Water Quality (new date added)
Constantly influenced by natural eutrophication, direct human impact, and a changing climate, surface water is a scarce natural resource needing effective protection. Join Shahram (Shane) Missaghi to explore the function and benefits of BMPs in protecting surface water, and examine three key criteria to insure their successful implementation: water, soil, and climate Read more...
April 12th, 2012
Water Auditing 101
Reduce your water waste and cost! Join Troy Aichele, LEED AP (O+M) of Aichele and Associates LLC to explore the key attributes, uses, and efficiency/cost opportunities of water audits. Aichele will lead a discussion of what a water audit includes, who performs the audit, where and when they should and can be performed, and the opportunities that exist in performing a water audit. Join us and gain an understanding of the potential savings possible, rebates available, and how quickly this unobtrusive work can be implemented from audit to installation to optimize your water use and minimize your cost. Read more...
April 18th, - May 25th, 2012
Sediment and Erosion Control
Master Class Series
Join industry expert and bestselling author Jerald S. Fifield, Ph.D., CISEC, CPESC and Tina R. Evans, PE, CISEC for a comprehensive 6-part online master class and workshop series (0.9 CEUs / 9 PDHs) exploring the ins and outs of effective sediment and erosion control plan design and review based on Fifield’s recently released 3rd edition of the bestselling manual Designing and Reviewing Effective Sediment and Erosion Control Plans (included in your Master Class Series package).