A law recently enacted by the Massachusetts legislature and signed by Governor Charlie Baker will increase the use of renewable fuels to produce electricity, allow the development of more offshore wind farms, enable more technologies to qualify for energy efficiency incentives and increase the use of technologies that store electricity. It is the third clean energy law enacted in Massachusetts since 2016.

Passed by a vote of 150-1 in the House of Representatives and 36-0 in the Senate on July 31st, the last day of formal sessions this year, “An Act to Advance Clean Energy” (H. 4857) was the product of a conference committee tasked with reconciling significant differences between one large Senate bill and four relatively modest House bills. The resulting compromise aligns more closely with the House legislation than the omnibus bill passed by the Senate, but its significance should not be underestimated.

Continue Reading Expansion of Clean Energy Policies Continues

In this four-part series, we revisit 2017’s biggest developments in Energy & Sustainability-related news, milestones, policy changes, and financial transactions. This is the third installment of the series. Click to read Part 1 and Part 2.

Continue Reading Energy & Sustainability 2017 Year in Review: Policy Developments (Part 3 of 4)

In this four-part series, we revisit 2017’s biggest developments in Energy & Sustainability-related news, milestones, policy changes, and financial transactions. This is the first installment of the series. Continue Reading Energy & Sustainability 2017 Year in Review: Tax Bill (Part 1 of 4)

On October 31, 2017, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard testimony on six bills introduced this session addressing the use of non-compete agreements in Massachusetts. Each of the bills includes provisions that would place restrictions on the use of non-competes, with the aim of introducing more fairness to a dynamic skewed against workers, as Representative Lori Ehrlich argued in her testimony. Business interests claim non-compete agreements hurt innovation, a topic that became a focus of the hearing. The committee also considered arguments to update the state’s trade secret laws as well as to include language in the legislation that provides for strong garden leave and notice provisions in order to induce companies to reduce the use of non-competes. The bills are expected to remain before the committee until after the new year. The Massachusetts House and Senate passed bills to limit the use of non-competes last year, but negotiations between the branches broke down in conference committee. To learn more, please follow the link to our partner page at ML Strategies.

On July 20, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report directing the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop solutions to improve the cyber and physical security and overall resilience of the US electrical grid. The report, which was first initiated by Congress following the massive outages caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2014 and is further driven by recent malware infections found on the servers at a nuclear plant, addresses threats to the grid posed by natural disasters and malicious cyberattacks.

Continue Reading National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Release Report Recommending Ways to Improve the Resilience of Nation’s Electric Grid

The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change is hosting hearings across the Commonwealth to gather input on clean energy and climate change. Launched by Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), the “MA Clean Energy Future Tour” began its nine-stop tour on May 8 and will end on June 26 in Boston. To learn more about this tour, read on!

Continue Reading Senate “MA Clean Energy Future Tour” Continues Across the Commonwealth

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently introduced the “Clean Energy for America Act,” which aims to create a new technology neutral system for federal tax credits for clean energy, clean fuel, and energy efficiency projects. The bill would offer performance-based tax incentives for efficient homes and office buildings, and would significantly reduce carbon pollution over the next decade. Senator Wyden, also a member of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, received support from 21 Democrat co-sponsors, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). To learn more about the Clean Energy for America Act, read on!

Continue Reading Senator Wyden Introduces “Clean Energy for America Act”

The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced a set of six new programs seeking to increase affordable access to clean energy and energy efficiency programs in the Commonwealth. These new programs build upon the efforts of the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Working Group, which just released its Final Report, and mark the final component of the Administration’s $15 million Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) Initiative. To learn more about these new programs, read on!

Continue Reading Baker-Polito Administration Launches Programs for Affordable Access to Clean Energy

As Republicans hold control of the executive and legislative branches, comprehensive reform of the tax code is one of their top policy priorities. While they agree on the need to reduce the corporate tax rate and reform the system, Republicans have yet to unite around a specific provision or path forward. To learn more about the legislative outlook for tax reform, read on!

Continue Reading Tax Reform Legislative Outlook

As the 115th Congress gets underway, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have reintroduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, better known as Portman-Shaheen. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Portman-Shaheen was introduced in the previous three congresses with bipartisan support. The bill is aimed at using low-cost tools to make it easier for private sector energy users to become more efficient while also making the country’s largest energy user – the federal government – more efficient.

The bill is focused on Buildings, Manufacturers, and the Federal Government:

Continue Reading Portman-Shaheen Energy Efficiency Bill Reintroduced in Senate