On June 22, 2017 the Baker-Polito Administration announced $960,000 in grants for STEM and clean energy learning programs for six Massachusetts high schools to help direct students towards STEM higher education majors and careers. The Lean and Earn program grants were awarded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and amount to $160,000 per school. Following the announcement, Governor Charlie Baker affirmed that his administration “is committed to providing new pathways for Massachusetts’ students to explore opportunities in STEM-related fields. Encouraging students to pursue studying clean energy and STEM subjects will strengthen our future workforce and further improve our nation-leading innovation economy.” Continue Reading Baker-Polito Administration Supports Clean Energy Education with $960,000 in STEM Learning Grants

After ending formal sessions in July, Massachusetts lawmakers will convene in informal sessions for the remainder of the year, and no controversial legislative matters are expected to pass during this time.

Below ML Strategies presents its forecast and analysis of the key developments to expect in Massachusetts on energy-related matters for the remainder of this year and into the 2017-2018 legislative session. The complete forecast, which covers a wider array of topics, can be read here. To learn more about Massachusetts’ energy forecast, read on!

Continue Reading Massachusetts Energy Outlook: The Remainder of 2016 and Beyond

The U.S.’s offshore wind industry is poised for a burst of activity after faltering for several years on the heels of the stalled Cape Wind project in Massachusetts. The country’s first offshore wind farm will open this fall off the coast of Rhode Island. To read more about this project, continue reading!

Continue Reading U.S. Offshore Wind Industry Readies for Take-off Led by Northeast U.S.

Last Sunday, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a compromise energy bill to significantly increase electricity produced by renewable energy sources. The state’s utilities will be required to purchase power from on and offshore wind farms, as well as power from hydroelectric dams located largely in Canada. Governor Baker is expected sign the bill in short order, as he has strongly supported purchasing imports of clean energy. To learn more about this bill, read on!

Continue Reading Massachusetts Legislature Passes Compromise Energy Bill

Last week, Clean Edge published a report titled the “U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index” (“Index”) that ranked Massachusetts as the second state and Boston as the seventh metro area in the U.S. according to its scoring methodology. The Index contains findings from the 2016 editions of Clean Edge’s State and Metro Indices, and serves as a tool for regional comparative research. The Index tracks activity in the U.S. based on a wide range of underlying industry indicators at state and metro levels.

The state index offers scores for all 50 states, derived from more than 70 state-based indicators organized into three areas of technology, policy, and capital. The metro index uses more than 30 metro-based indicators to calculate scores for the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas divided into four areas of green buildings, advanced transportation, clean electricity & carbon management, and clean-tech, investment, innovation & workforce. To read more about the Index and analysis, read on!

Continue Reading Massachusetts Ranks Second and Boston Ranks Seventh in the 2016 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index

On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a solar energy bill into law that increases the statewide limits on the amount of solar capacity that will qualify for net metering, but also lowers the value of net metering credits for large-scale projects. The bill, which was recommended last week by a joint legislative committee formed to reconcile differences between the separate House and Senate proposals, is the culmination of five months of negotiations between the chambers. The controversial bill passed the House and Senate last week by large majorities.  For more on this legislation and what it means for solar energy development in Massachusetts, read on!

Continue Reading Governor Baker Signs Controversial Solar Legislation

Tom Burton, Chair of Mintz Levin’s Energy Technology Practice, will publish a weekly installment providing insight into the challenges and possible solutions that, if implemented, promise a bright future as clean energy moves America forward. In this series, Tom will include one challenge per week and the potential solution(s). This is the fifth installment of the series. Click to read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.  

The Problem: To DG or Not to DG – That’s The Question

The rapid growth of distributed generation (DG) over the past two years is expected to continue: as of 2013, the U.S. installed one PV solar system every four minutes – in 2016, this is expected to drop to every minute and twenty seconds.

However, as DG customers take advantage of net metering and similar policies that reduce and even zero out their bills, utilities argue that these programs cause them to buy electricity at retail prices even when they don’t need it. Further, utilities say, customers on DG are not paying their share of the costs for lines and transmission. This causes revenue erosion, reduced shareholder returns, and a cost shift to non-DG customers who subsidize their neighbor’s use of electricity when their solar systems don’t provide enough power.

  • According to The Boston Globe, Massachusetts pays more per kWh of solar energy than anywhere else in the nation because projects are reimbursed at a rate that far exceeds the value they provide to the electricity system.
  • In California, without changes to current practices, by 2020 $1.1 billion in costs would shift from DG to non-DG.

There must be a balance between encouraging DG and keeping utilities functioning.

Continue Reading Policy and Legal Implications of Implementing Renewable Energy at Scale: To DG or Not to DG – That’s The Question (Part 5 of 6)

On Tuesday May 5th, members of state government, clean energy advocates, and business representatives assembled at the Massachusetts State House for the New England Clean Energy Council’s (NECEC’s) fourth annual Clean Energy Day. According to Peter Rothstein, President of the NECEC, the day was “an opportunity to get the word out about the importance of clean energy in Massachusetts,” a valuable chance for stakeholders to engage with their elected officials about ensuring continued growth in the clean energy sector.

The day began with a lunchtime speaking program with clean energy award honorees and remarks from legislative and executive officials. Visitors listened with rapt attention as Senator Ben Downing, Senator Mark Pacheco, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, and others offered their thoughts on the state of the clean energy sector as Massachusetts finds itself at a crossroads on a number of important issues.

Continue Reading State Officials Welcome Clean Energy Advocates to State House for NECEC Clean Energy Day, Weigh in on Hot-Topics Facing the State

With the passage of HB 4385/SB 2214 early last month, Massachusetts has joined New Hampshire and Wisconsin as the only states to provide incentives for the use of clean, renewable fuels to heat and cool buildings. Signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in early August, the landmark energy legislation extends eligibility for the state’s ‘alternative energy credits’ to biomass, biogas, liquid biofuels, and other renewable thermal technologies. These credits, which will now be awarded to producers of renewable thermal energy, must be purchased by retail electricity providers in fulfillment of the state’s existing Alternative Portfolio Standard (APS).

Continue Reading Renewable Thermal Energy Technologies Gain Eligibility for Incentives under New Massachusetts Legislation

The State of Massachusetts announced that on June 4, 2013, it will issue $100 million of Green General Obligation Bonds (“GO Green Bonds”) underwritten by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The proceeds from the sale of the GO Green Bonds will be used to raise capital for four categories of “environmentally beneficial” projects:

  • Clean Water and Drinking Water Projects;
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects in State Buildings;
  • Land Acquisition, Open Space Protection and Environmental Remediation Projects; and
  • River Revitalization and Preservation and Habitat Restoration Projects. Continue Reading MA to Issue AA+ $100m of Green Bonds on June 4