Monday, September 9, 2013 -- Governor Deval Patrick today approved six resolutions that will put Massachusetts on a path to increased access to affordable, cleaner and reliable energy sources and energy-efficient modes of transportation, more efficient disaster planning and increased infrastructure safety. The resolutions were signed at the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers' Annual Conference (NEG-ECP) in Quebec, Canada.
"We have made great progress in Massachusetts by building a fast-growing, nation-leading clean energy economy that employs tens of thousands of people, while helping us be better stewards of our environment," said Governor Patrick. "The next step in building on that work is collaborating with our neighbors to find the 21st century solutions to accessing energy sources with lower costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions."
From left to right: Catherine Blewett (Deputy minister for Intergovernmental affairs, Nova Scotia), Governor Maggie Hassan, Governor Peter Shumlin, Governor Paul LePage, Premier Kathy Dunderdale, Governor Lincoln Chafee, Premier Pauline Marois, Governor Dannel Malloy, Premier Nathan Alward, Governor Deval L. Patrick, Honorable Allen F. Roach.
One of the resolutions calls for Massachusetts energy and environmental officials to continue working with the other New England states on a number of regional initiatives including enhancing the Commonwealth's energy infrastructure, expanding large hydro imports and the coordinated regional procurement of renewable energy.
"Governor Patrick's leadership in this clean energy revolution will help end our dependence on fossil fuels, which we spend billions of dollars to import every year to heat our homes and run our cars," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan. "Large hydro plays an important role in our regional energy mix, and we are actively working to increase our utilization of this low carbon resource in tandem with other large scale renewable energy resources like wind and solar energy. I look forward to working with my New England counterparts to improve our regional energy supply system, and to provide energy that's cleaner, reliable and more affordable."
Another resolution calls for the collaboration to support the increased use of alternative fuel vehicles, while another directs Massachusetts to work with its regional partners to track the progress on regional greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. Massachusetts is home to some of the most ambitious GHG reduction goals in the nation, outlined in the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), which Governor Patrick signed into law in 2008. In 2010 the Patrick Administration developed and released the Massachusetts Clean Energy & Climate Plan for 2020 which contains a portfolio of policies, including increasing clean energy imports like large hydro or wind, that will reduce MA GHG emissions by over 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Massachusetts GHG emissions have dropped almost 11 percent since 1990.
"Massachusetts is a leader in business investment and home to a robust clean energy economy thanks to the vision of the Patrick Administration," said Dan O'Connell, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership. "We applaud Governor Patrick for actively working to enhance the region's energy portfolio and bolster the clean energy sector, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to bring high-quality jobs to the Commonwealth."
The following is a summary of the six resolutions approved:
1. NEG-ECP 37-1: Resolution Concerning Energy
*The resolution affirms a regional commitment to supporting energy efficiency and increasing cost-effective, low-carbon, clean energy trade opportunities. It also supports advancement in regional collaborative work and regionally coordinated competitive procurement processes for alternatives to fossil fuel generation.
2. NEG-ECP 37-2: Resolution Concerning Transportation & Air Quality (EE Vehicles)
*The resolution states that the governors and premiers will work cooperatively to support the increased use of advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles. It directs the Environment, Energy and Transportation and Air Quality Committees to work together and with other regional organizations to:
*Compile an inventory of regional initiatives regarding electric and natural-gas-powered vehicles;
*Propose actions aimed at facilitating the interoperability of Electric Vehicle charging and alternative-fuel infrastructure; and
*Identify road corridors where this type of infrastructure could be deployed, with a view to promoting the use of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles and facilitating travel throughout the region for the users of such vehicles.
3. NEG-ECP 37-3: Resolution Concerning Transportation
*The resolution calls for advancing the infrastructure, where appropriate and feasible, to provide businesses, individuals, governments and local authorities with transportation choices, including use of advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles, and calling on the Transportation and Air Quality Committee to:
*Facilitate, where appropriate and feasible, the availability of refueling stations to support alternative fuel vehicles; and
*Work collaboratively to achieve a 5 percent alternative fuel fleet market share throughout the region by 2020;
*Provide the governors and premiers a proposed regional target for enhanced public transportation, biking and walking options;
*Maintain a regional network of expertise on sustainable transportation, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and air quality; and
*Develop a regional profile of the fleet fuel efficiency and GHG emissions of light duty vehicles as well as the number of Plug-in Hybrids, Battery and Natural Gas vehicles in the states and provinces.
4. NEG-ECP 37-4: Resolution on Climate Change
*This resolution develops a 2013 Climate Change Action Plan Strategic Overview, and reaffirms the 2001 goal of 10 percent GHG reductions from 1990 levels by 2010 and 75-85 percent from 2001 levels by 2050. The resolution directs Environmental secretaries, commissioners, and ministers to develop a near-term work plan over the next two years, which includes a "progress marker" on reductions by 2030. The work plan will take into account the evolving knowledge and technologies in this area. The resolution promotes regional cooperation in:
*Maintaining a reliable GHG inventory;
*States and Provinces Leading By Example;
*Reducing Greenhouse Gas from the Energy Sector;
*Track and Understand Efforts to Link Emissions Trading Programs;
*Increasing Regional Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change;
*Increasing Public Awareness; and
*Highlighting the Region's International Leadership on Climate Change
5. NEG-ECP 37-5: Resolution Concerning Mutual Aid
*This resolution solidifies support for the International Emergency Management Compact that provides a mechanism for cross-border mutual aid during emergencies, including disasters, between the New England states and eastern Canadian provinces that are members of the International Emergency Management Group (IEMG). The resolution also directs the IEMG to identify factors that inhibit greater cross-border mutual aid and develop plans to address those inhibiting factors. The goal of this resolution is for Governors and Premiers to reiterate their support for the mutual aid compact and for their emergency management directors, working through the IEMG, to enhance mutual aid during emergencies and disasters.
6. NEG-ECP 37-6: Resolution Concerning Rail Transport Safety
*This resolution expresses concern and a commitment to sharing best practices on rail safety, in response to the train accident that occurred in July in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.
The resolutions build on other steps the Patrick Administration has taken to grow the clean energy sector, reduce energy prices, improve system reliability, increase fuel supply diversity, and reduce GHG emissions.
Utilities in Massachusetts are currently undertaking the largest renewable energy procurement in New England, and if approved by the Department of Public Utilities, would provide 565 MW of renewable energy, enough to power about 170,000 homes. In reaching their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements, Massachusetts utilities will have purchased more new renewable energy than their counterparts in any other New England state.
In 2012, Massachusetts, working closely with other New England states and through New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), launched a coordinated, regional procurement of renewable energy.
Massachusetts is also collaborating with the other New England states on efforts to explore the expansion of natural gas imports into the region with a focus on reducing costs for Massachusetts ratepayers and GHG emissions.
Massachusetts sits at the end of the energy pipeline, spending billions of dollars annually to import all of its fossil fuel based energy sources from places like South America and the Middle East. That is lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts stands poised to reclaim through investments in home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Currently, Massachusetts has 311 megawatts of solar power installed, with more than 130 megawatts installed in 2012 alone. That's enough electricity to power more than 46,600 homes and, when compared with fossil fuel-generated electricity, the equivalent of eliminating the GHG emissions from 32,224 cars per year.
There has been an increase in wind energy from 3 megawatts to 103 megawatts since 2007, enough to power more than 30,867 homes and eliminate GHG emissions from more than 21,345 cars annually.