| || |
| ||From left to right: Marc Breslow, Mark Sylvia, Barbara Kates-Garnick, Tedd Saunders, Don Reed, Dianne Callan, Phil Griffith, Berl Hartman, Jay Baldwin, Rick Sullivan, Dan Goldman and Dave Miller.Click to enlarge image. |
E2 New England has a strong history of partnering with state officials to work towards common objectives. To further that goal, the entire team of E2 New England Directors met on October 5th with Rick Sullivan, Massachusetts’ Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs,
and his entire team of energy and environmental officials.
Regional Issues: RGGI and CFS
The discussion included some regional issues, such as lowering the GHG emission limits in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and implementing the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Clean Fuels Standard (CFS). In both cases, Secretary Sullivan agreed that Massachusetts should take a leadership role. The Secretary pointed out that the plan to meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act assumes that we have both of those policies in place. Safer Alternatives for Toxic Chemicals
E2 Director Tedd Saunders
discussed the Safer Alternatives for Toxic Chemicals bill, which has been under discussion for the last three sessions of the legislature. He mentioned his very personal reason for supporting the bill: his mother died of lung cancer at age 57, probably due to the chemicals she was exposed to as an interior designer. You can see a video of Tedd and others who testified at the hearing discussing the need for Safer Alternatives here
. Tedd also said the bill would be good for business, based on his experience with his family’s Saunders Hotel Group, which reduced its use of toxic chemicals in a very cost effective manner. The Administration is very supportive of the bill and believes this may be the year that it finally passes. Oil Heat Efficiency Bill
E2 Director Jay Baldwin
pointed out that Massachusetts’ households spend, on average, $2.5 billion on heating oil and $100 million on propane. While Massachusetts electric and gas utilities have energy efficiency programs in place to help with this problem, there are no formal programs available statewide for homeowners and small businesses using heating oil and propane.
The bill we are supporting would reduce the amount of money consumers needlessly spend to heat leaky homes and businesses. Those saved dollars, rather than leaving Massachusetts, would be put to work in our local economy, saving Massachusetts’ consumers money, creating local jobs and reducing climate and other pollution.
Secretary Sullivan agreed with the bill in concept, but expressed concerns about the implementation and design details. We are working closely with Environment Northeast and other organizations to resolve those issues. Wind Siting Reform
Lengthy and unpredictable siting issues are a well-documented impediment to achieving Massachusetts’ aggressive renewable energy goals. A bill to streamline the process, while still maintaining local control and environmental review, nearly passed in the last session of the legislature.
Now, a new bill has been proposed, and a series of hearings on it are being held throughout the State. E2 Director Dianne Callan
has been tracking this issue for the past two years and attended the day-long hearing before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Energy and Utilities, held on Cape Cod on October 20th. Dianne testified on behalf of E2 in support of the bill, which will facilitate investment in wind energy, create green jobs, combat climate change, and stabilize energy prices. Secretary Sullivan suggested that we write a letter of support to Senate President Therese Murray and others who have concerns about the bill. Defense of the Green Communities Act
One of the State’s landmark achievements in 2008 was passing the Massachusetts’ Green Communities Act, which contained many innovative programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Among them was a provision that electric and gas distribution utilities increase investments in energy efficiency and demand resource programs by mandating investment in all demand side resources that are cost-effective or cheaper than supply.
This has been an unqualified success, as shown by the fact that the widely recognized authority on energy efficiency, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), recently declared Massachusetts the number one state in energy efficiency
- surpassing California, the previous leader.
The bill had many other provisions, including increasing the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target to 15% by 2020 and creating the Green Communities program, to provide funding to qualified municipalities for energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. Thus far 74 Massachusetts towns and cities representing over 2.5 million citizens are participating. These communities are implementing new programs such as energy efficiency audits, tighter building codes, improved procurement for energy efficient products and services, and streamlined permitting for renewable energy projects.
Nevertheless, the bill has come under attack and the legislature will hold an oversight hearing on November 9th. E2 plans to submit written testimony in defense of the bill and to meet with the Chairs of the Massachusetts’ House and Senate Energy Committees.
E2 Directors Dan Goldman
and Dave Miller
defended the Act, pointing out that from their perspective as investors the state has done a good job of setting a policy framework that sends the right market signals for investment. Dave Miller, who has recently completed building a zero net energy home in Newton, MA talked about the programmatic help he received from various sources including several state programs. Gas Pipeline Safety
Currently, the Commonwealth's natural gas pipeline infrastructure has more than 20,000 known leaks contributing to more than 8 billion cubic feet of annual unaccounted for natural gas, also known as methane. The problem can create an extreme public safety hazard when fires occur or buildings explode. In addition, methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas that is at least 21 times more potent than CO2.
State Representative Lori Ehrlich
has introduced a suite of bills to address this problem. E2 Director Berl Hartman
raised the issue at the meeting and showed a graphic mapping of gas leaks in and around Boston. The administration agreed it is a problem and is examining the bills to address it.
In addition to Secretary Sullivan, state officials at the meeting included: Phil Griffiths,
Undersecretary for the Environment; Mark Sylvia,
Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources (DOER); Barbara Kates-Garnick,
Undersecretary of Energy: and Marc Breslow
, Director of Transportation & Buildings Policy.
Login to add a comment: