Renewable Energy goals reached ahead of time!
By George Harvey
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks states and cities for efficiency. Ratings are given on the basis of scores for each of several areas of achievement, including city efficiency goals, building energy codes, transportation, energy and water utility policies and programs, and community initiatives. The individual scores are added up to give the overall score for the city or state.
Historically, Massachusetts has faired well under their rating system for states. Massachusetts beat out California for the number one spot in both 2011 and 2012.
Now, in September, we learned that Boston was rated the most efficient city in the country.
The maximum possible value is 100 points. Boston got 76.75 points. While that is hardly perfect, it is quite a lot better than any other city of the thirty-one that were rated. Portland, Oregon came in second with 70 points, and all others were lower than 70.
Efficiency, however, is not the only way Massachusetts is distinguishing itself in sustainability. The state has set goals for renewable power and then not only met them, but met them years ahead of schedule.
Last May, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources announced that they had received more than 550 MW of Statement of Qualification Applications for solar projects seeking to qualify as Solar Carve-Out Generation Units capable of creating Massachusetts solar renewable energy credits. This represented a problem, because the amount the state had allowed for was only 400 MW. In fact, the state had originally expected only 250MW to be installed by 2017, and this had already been expanded. Some quick action meant that those who had already applied would be included in the program, and the goals would be revisited.
Just as Green Energy Times was going to press in September, Massachusetts saw more progress. The state adopted policies to make it easier to use tracts in landfills to generate solar and wind power. Not long after this, the town of Scituate became the first in the state to have its town buildings all powered by renewable sources.
One might think that would be enough, but in reality there is sometimes extra icing to be put on the cake. First, Governor Patrick announced that the number of green energy jobs in the state had increased by nearly 24.4%, to 80,000, over a period of two years, making the sector the fastest growing in the state.
And then, the four largest utilities in Massachusetts announced that they had entered into contracts for 565 MW of renewable energy, from solar and wind farms, enough to power 170,000 homes. One lovely note on this is that the price for this is 8¢/wWh; meaning that it will not produce any increase in the retail price of electricity. And since the power is from wind and solar, and since wind and solar do not use fuel, this price is good for many years to come. So when those who go for oil, coal, gas, or nuclear are paying high prices, the folks in the Bay State will still be enjoying the current cost benefits of the contracts for renewable power.