Massachusetts’ Green New Deal, Isn’t Very Green!

State Economy

The population of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is approximately 6.91 million people[1]. Massachusetts is the 16th largest state in population in the United States.

In 2020, Massachusetts’ economy was ranked 11th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the biotechnology, information technology, engineering, finance, and agriculture industries[3].

Environment Policies

In 1997, Massachusetts enacted a renewable energy standard[4] (RPS), mandating that state utilities generate only 35% of the electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

In 2007, Massachusetts joined Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont as a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative[5], a market-based collaborative formed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In December 2020, state utilities used natural gas (81.8%) and renewable energy (18.2%) to generate electricity[6]. Solar, hydropower, biomass, and wind are the primary sources of renewable energy in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts closed the state’s last nuclear power plant in 2019. The nuclear power plant closure has contributed to the state’s high cost of electricity. In December 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in Massachusetts was 21.54¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 12.80¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Massachusetts include:

  • 800 MW Offshore Wind Farm – The Vineyard Wind offshore wind project has signed an interconnection agreement with the regional transmission authority, ISO New England to connect to the power grid. The offshore wind project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 10 MW Floating Offshore Wind Pilot Project – The US Department of Energy has selected the Texas engineering firm, Atkins Engineering to design a floating offshore wind platform for a pilot project, which is located approximately 20 miles south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.
  • 10 MW Solar + Energy Storage Project – In March 2021, Massachusetts solar company, Agilitas Energy commenced construction on a community solar plus energy storage project in the town of Warren, approximately 50 miles west of Boston, Massachusetts.

Conclusion

Although Massachusetts legislators say they support clean, green energy, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions have steadily increased over the last few years. Why? The electricity generated from the now shuttered nuclear power plant, which generated zero greenhouse gases, has been replaced by natural gas fueled power plants!

Massachusetts has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including solar, onshore wind, and hydropower. Why then does the state generate only 18.2% of its power from renewable energy? The answer is with the same state legislators that shout, “Green New Deal!”

Massachusetts legislators have struggled to balance land conservation laws with the development of onshore renewable energy projects. Onshore renewable energy projects face lengthy permitting, environmental and interconnection studies, all mandated by the state.

Massachusetts is a classic case of legislators shouting their support for clean, green energy without a clue on how to make it happen. Sadly, greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts continue to climb, as state legislators chant “Green New Deal.”

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Massachusetts Population 2021, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in Massachusetts – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, January 4, 2021

[5] Center for Climate and Energy Solutions – Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

[6] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Massachusetts  State Profile and Energy Estimates

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