Massachusetts, poppin' caps on our way to a greener energy portfolio!
Massachusetts’ new Bill 2395, An Act Relative to Competitively Priced Electricity in the Commonwealth (phewf!), will have an impact even more prodigious than its name. Let’s see what we’re all getting out of this thing.
Until this week, utilities were allowed to cap net metering once it reached 3% of their peak demand. Many utilities in the state were projected to meet this cap in 2012, and with cuts to net metering, solar development in Massachusetts would have slowed considerably. Fortunately, the Act’s standout provision raises this threshold to 6%, giving renewable energy producers some much needed room to breath. And though half of the new cap is reserved for public energy projects, homeowners need not worry: systems under 10 kW do not contribute to the total program capacity. This means that solar homeowners with systems under 10 kW will never have to worry about losing their net metering credit!
The Act also contains a number of other provisions, including one that requires utilities to obtain 7% of their supply through long-term contracts with renewable facilities (up from 3%). Furthermore, 10% of this new cap space (.4% of total supply) must be sourced from small, young renewable energy facilities within the utility’s service area, a feature that promises to establish a diverse array of clean energy generators as pillars of the local economy.
So, three cheers for Massachusetts’ state government! As we all know, real and lasting change must be enacted at the policy level, so we can’t forget to recognize the efforts of our public officials when they push a real difference maker through. At the same time, though the political mechanism can seem abstracted and inaccessible, policy does not materialize out of thin air. Believe it or not, you have a voice! You can keep track of Massachusetts’ energy policy here, and remember, if you see a bill on the horizon, make yourself heard by calling your representative. Enjoy this last month or so of summer, and by all means, let the sun shine in!