I am happy to report that the Governor recently signed H.4857 An Act to advance clean energy into law following passage by the House and Senate. Below are some of the highlights from the comprehensive clean energy bill.
● Requires the department of energy resources (DOER) to investigate the necessity, benefits, and costs of an additional 1600 megawatts of offshore wind beyond what was authorized in last session’s Energy Diversity Act.
● Authorizes DOER to determine whether to require an additional 1600 megawatts of offshore wind by December 31, 2035.
● If DOER authorizes an additional 1600 megawatts, DOER may require the electric utility companies to solicit and procure proposals for cost-effective independent offshore wind transmission.
● Requires that DOER make recommendations to the legislature on how to improve the process before undertaking any solicitations and procurements for the additional 1600 megawatts of offshore wind.
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS):
● Doubled the RPS from 1 to 2% annually from December 31, 2019 to December 31, 2029. The RPS returns to a 1% increase from 2030 onward, with no end date.
● Analysis from a 2017 report shows that a 2% increase in Massachusetts, coupled with Connecticut's RPS increase in 2018, is likely to result in over 20,000 in-region jobs and nearly 2,000 megawatts of additional Class I renewable energy by 2030.
Clean Peak Standard:
● Creates a first-in-the-nation program known as the Clean Peak Standard to pair energy storage with renewable energy in order to make renewable energy available during our most expensive and highest-emitting hours of electricity consumption. According to DOER’s 2015 State of Charge report, peak hours only happen 10% of the year and yet result in 40% of electricity costs for Massachusetts.
● Requires electric utility companies to provide the department of public utilities (DPU) with a yearly resiliency report that includes a heat map of the electric distribution system, highlighting the most energy-congested areas that are most likely to need infrastructure upgrades to sustain that energy traffic and would as a result benefit most from energy storage.
● Authorizes electric utility companies to hold a competitive procurement for resiliency nonwires alternatives (NWA’s) for the congested areas of the electric distribution system identified by the heat map.
● Require DOER to study mobile energy storage systems that could be moved to where we need them during emergencies.
● Establishes an energy storage target of 1000 megawatt hours to be achieved by December 31, 2025.
● Electric utility companies shall submit an annual report to DOER by February 15, starting in 2019, documenting the energy storage installations in their service territories.
Minimum Monthly Reliability Contribution (MMRC):
● Prohibits the electric utility companies from assessing a MMRC in the form of a demand charge, unless it satisfies the following criteria: ○ The charge is based on system peak demand. ○ The electric utility company regularly informs its customers about how the charge is calculated and how they may manage and reduce their personal electricity use.
● Any MMRC approved by DPU to take effect before or after December 31, 2018 that doesn’t meet this act’s requirements shall be refiled for DPU review & approval.
Energy Efficiency - Mass Save:
● Expands the scope of the mandatory three-year plan prepared by electric utility companies and municipal aggregators to include all energy efficiency investment plans, whereas previously only electric efficiency investment plans were required.
● Authorizes the establishment of programs related to energy storage, demand management technologies, strategic electrification, renewable energy sources, and other clean energy technologies.
● Allows the cost-effectiveness test through which all programs are screened to take into account benefits other than energy savings (e.g., environmental impacts).
● Codifies the practice of aggregating programs by sector (e.g., residential, commercial and industrial, and low-income residential) and requiring that each sector pass the costeffectiveness test.
Lost and Unaccounted for Gas (LAUF):
● Requires gas utility companies to report to DPU the company’s “lost and unaccounted for gas” (LAUF) each year.
● The LAUF gas will be the difference between the total gas purchased by the gas utility company minus the sum of (a) total gas delivered to customers and (b) total gas used by the gas company to conduct its operations.
● Builds upon 2014 gas leaks legislation which created reporting mechanisms that require gas companies to report how many gas leaks are on their system and classify them based on level of severity, and 2016 legislation, which required gas companies to identify environmentally damaging leaks and implement a plan to repair said leaks.