💯% Renewable Energy: We Have the Technology. We Need the Policy.

The following testimony was submitted to the TUE Committee on July 22, 2019.

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Chairman Barrett, Chairman Golden, and Members of the Joint Cte on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy:

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy organization devoted to advancing progressive policy in the Commonwealth. As such, we are committed to fighting for an energy system that reduces pollution, promotes clean energy, reduces greenhouse gasses and protects our natural climate and environment.

The 100% Renewable Energy Act (S.1958/H.2836) will help us achieve that, and we urge you to give these bills a favorable report.

As a coastal state, Massachusetts will be hit especially hard by climate change; indeed, we already have. According to the latest report from the IPCC, we have to start acting fast if we want to avoid climate chaos, slashing global greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. The clock is ticking.

Although we have been a leader in energy efficiency, we still get most of our power from dirty fuel, particularly natural gas. Our current Renewable Portfolio Standard only requires utilities to source 14% of electricity from renewable energy, and this was only modestly increased in the last session.

We can do better, and we need to do better.

Renewable energy has been a win-win in Massachusetts, creating new job opportunities and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. We’re generating more than 240 times as much solar energy in Massachusetts as we did just 10 years ago. Offshore wind as well as new technologies like electric vehicles, energy storage, and air source heat pumps augur well for the future.

But we can’t sit passively by and hope that such a more ecologically sustainable future comes to pass. We need policy to make it happen.

These bills will accelerate the growth of clean energy and set out clear, enforceable requirements to ensure we stay on track to achieve 100 percent renewable energy. Moreover, these bills acknowledge that the energy transition must be a just one, containing core provisions to ensure that displaced workers and the low-income communities and communities of color that have faced the brunt of fossil fuel pollution have a seat at the table.

Mother Nature doesn’t wait. The more we delay the bold, comprehensive climate action that we need, the worse we will fare in the future. It’s time to pass the 100% Renewable Energy Act.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jonathan Cohn

Chair, Issues Committee

Progressive Massachusetts

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