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Massachusetts lawmakers propose 100% renewables

A bill that is growing in popularity in the New England state calls for all energy generation to come from clean sources by 2030 and renewables by 2050.

A bill in Massachusetts that will require the state to reach 100 percent renewable energy within a few decades is picking up steam with over a quarter of legislators now signed as cosponsors.

If passed, Bill SD 1932 would put Massachusetts on a path to use renewables for all of its energy needs by 2050. By 2030, the bill calls energy generation to come from clean sources, excluding the transportation and heating sectors.

The state meets around 10 percent of its energy needs with renewables sources and has already taken steps to increase its capacity.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law last August a mandate for the state to develop 1.6GW of offshore wind in a little over 10 years, the first legislation of its kind in the US. The state is planning to auction its first long-term offtake agreement for offshore wind this year.

Authors of Bill SD 1932 said the purpose is to avoid pollution of air, increase energy security and economic development, create local jobs and improve the quality of life and economic well-being.

However, the legislation is also about making a political statement to the rest of the country regarding President Donald Trump’s climate change scepticism and favour towards the fossil fuel industry.

“With federal assaults on efforts to combat climate change, it will be up to individual states to protect the environmental and health interests of the public,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge, one of the lawmakers who filed the bill. “Massachusetts, now more than ever, needs to be a leader on energy policy.”

Another bill author, Representative Sean Garballey, added that the bill is a signal to the rest of the country of Massachusetts’s “commitment to long-term solutions in meeting the very real challenges of climate change”.

While Bill SD 1932 is ambitious in calling for 100 percent renewable energy use, New York and California already have goals to meet the nearer target of 50 percent renewables by 2030.