Stealing some of California's thunder, which itself outlined a new plan to significantly reduce its carbon emissions, Massachusetts' governor, Deval Patrick, unveiled the Green Communities Act a few days ago to great fanfare. The bill's primary aims are to encourage businesses and homes to become more energy efficient and to stimulate clean energy development in the state.
The Green Community Act's major provisions
Some of the provisions detailed in the legislation, as reported by the Boston Globe's Beth Daley, include providing rebates to pay for energy efficiency measures, allowing homeowners and businesses to rent solar panels from utilities and easing consumers' ability to sell surplus energy from renewable sources to the grid. More specifically, the state government will be required to pledge $10 million annually to help communities pursue renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. Also, utilities will be required to invest in energy efficiency when it is cheaper to do so than it is to purchase more capacity -- a major provision that could discourage the construction of new power plants.
The role played by utilities
Allowing businesses and homeowners to rent solar panels from utilities will encourage wider adoption by eliminating the issue of upfront costs while helping utilities recoup the costs of purchasing the panels from local renewable energy developers. Utilities will have to purchase an increasingly larger share of their electricity from renewable sources -- 25 percent by 2030.
Via ::The Boston Globe: State starts a green era (news website)
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