Category: ReNEWable Mass

ReNEWable MASS: Campaign Overview

ReNEWable MASS

 

To prevent catastrophic climate change, we need to stop using almost all fossil fuels worldwide by 2050. Here in Massachusetts, we need to take the lead by stopping the development of all new fossil fuel infrastructure. This includes the use of fracked gas, which has been falsely advertised as a clean and natural “bridge fuel” for addressing climate changeUnfortunately, the fossil fuel industry is trying to expand gas development in Massachusetts and even preparing to export gas from our state. All the proposed projects are linked, and stopping them is imperative. As a national leader in climate and energy policy, and as a hub for brilliant innovations in clean energy development, Massachusetts is poised to take on this ambitious mission.

We are currently focused on stopping three projects in particular: the proposed Kinder Morgan Gas Pipeline (also known as the Tennessee Gas Pipeline or the Northeast Energy Direct [NED] Project and Connecticut Expansion), the proposed Footprint gas plant in Salem, and the proposed expansion of Spectra gas pipeline (also known as the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project). Other projects may also be included as the need arises.

We will also working to promote renewables, energy efficiency and conservation and fix gas leaks in order to reduce or eliminate the need for fossil fuel-based energyTo accomplish our goals, we are working with others towards building a broad-based coalition. We are already working closely with No Fracked Gas in MassMassPLAN, and others. For more information about these, check out the statewide 350Mass site.

CAN / Mass Power Forward: Statement on Solar Energy Legislation

CAN-logo-final

Contact for CAN Solar Legislation subgroup:  

Solar Energy Legislation 2015/2016

Climate Action Now and its allies support the legislature in attempting to act on solar energy in 2015 prior to taking up a more complex omnibus energy bill in 2016.

However, H.3854 as written would impede progress in reducing global warming emissions by restricting the growth of solar, and would weaken the solar industry, resulting in a loss of jobs and tax revenue.

Therefore we ask legislators to carefully consider the following points and to notify the conference committee – Representatives Dempsey, Golden, and Brad Jones; Senators Downing, Tarr and Pacheco; as well as Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg, of the need to incorporate these changes to the final compromise.

  1. Eliminate the cap on solar energy net metering*.

Rationale:  Already the existing cap is having an adverse impact on 175 affected communities by preventing them from saving on their electricity costs, and the state is losing jobs and tax revenue by reining in the solar industry.  Raising the cap slightly (by the proposed 2% in H. 3854) will only allow a portion of planned projects to be completed before the new cap is reached, likely in six months.  At that point, new legislation would be required to raise the cap yet again.

Eliminating the cap would give solar businesses the long-term assurance they need to maintain and grow their workforce, providing jobs and tax revenue.  It would also enable municipalities to pursue solar arrays to achieve their greenhouse gas reduction goals and cost savings, and encourage low-income and community shared solar projects, helping expand renewable energy in an equitable manner.

 

  1. Maintain the current retail reimbursement rate for net metering until comprehensive study of the issue is completed.

Rationale:  Slashing the reimbursement rate from retail to wholesale for sizeable arrays will make them less likely to be built, as the return on investment will be drastically reduced.  H.3854 cuts the reimbursement rate by 75%.  Municipal, low-income and shared community arrays require the retail reimbursement rate for financial viability. If a cut in the cost of solar to utilities is found to be necessary (see point 5 below), the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC**) incentive program can be modified without harming municipal low-income, or community solar projects (see point 6 below).

 

  1. Do not allow utility companies to impose a mandatory monthly minimum charge as stipulated in H.3854.

Rationale:  Mandatory minimum charges would discourage energy conservation by raising costs for low-energy users, and discourage investment in solar arrays. As worded, H.3854 could result in annual minimum charges of $360 for residential solar customers and significantly higher bills for businesses and municipalities, negating much of their investment in solar. If any such charge is considered, it should be informed by an actual study of the benefits and costs of solar energy, and limited to a reasonable fee.

  1. Grandfather all solar projects so that their reimbursement rate remains as agreed upon when they were built.

Rationale: Transitioning to lower reimbursement mid-stream (in 20 years as stipulated in H.3854) fails to honor agreements made when project costs were calculated, undermining confidence in doing business in Massachusetts. This would have a chilling effect on new projects that require long-term payback.

  1. Initiate a transparent process to study the actual costs and benefits of solar to guide long-term policy.

Rationale:  The inaccurate and misleading claims of the utility industry about the cost of solar need to be independently evaluated. The considerable benefits of solar must be factored into the equation.  Prior analyses have shown that the actual benefits of solar outweigh its costs, for example by eliminating the need for more power plants, reducing pollution from burning fossil fuels and offering protection from unpredictable fluctuation in the price of fossil fuels.

 

  1. Reform the SREC** program to lower ratepayer costs

Rationale: The SREC program accounts for the majority of solar costs to utilities and can be reduced without tinkering with the proven worth of net metering reimbursement. Adjusting the SREC program would be more equitable for low-income communities that are not eligible for SRECs but depend on net metering reimbursement, and for other solar users who do not own their arrays.  The Dep’t of Energy Resources (DOER) can examine and adjust the SREC program.

_______________________________________________________________

*Solar net metering refers to the program that reimburses solar customers for the excess power they generate and provide to the grid.

 

**Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) provide cash benefits to solar owners who sell credits from their arrays on the market administered by the Department of Energy Reso

Here is printable, nicely formatted PDF  File with the above information:  CAN Statement on Solar Energy Legislation

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Energy Legislation 2015/2016

Solar Energy Legislation 2015/2016
Climate Action Now and its allies support the House in attempting to act on solar energy in 2015
prior to taking up a more complex omnibus energy bill in 2016.
However, H.3854 as written would impede progress in reducing global warming emissions by
restricting the growth of solar, and would weaken the solar industry, resulting in a loss of jobs
and tax revenue.
Therefore we ask legislators to carefully consider the following points and to notify the
conference committee – Representatives Dempsey, Golden, and Brad Jones; Senators
Downing, Tarr and Pacheco; as well as Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg of the
need to incorporate these changes to the final compromise.
1. Eliminate the cap on solar energy net metering*.
Rationale: Already the existing cap is having an adverse impact on 171 affected communities
by preventing them from saving on their electricity costs, and the state is losing jobs and tax
revenue by reining in the solar industry. Raising the cap slightly (by the proposed 2% in H.
3854) will only allow a portion of planned projects to be completed before the new cap is
reached, likely in six months. At that point, new legislation would be required to raise the cap
yet again.
Eliminating the cap would give solar businesses the long-term assurance they need to maintain
and grow their workforce, providing jobs and tax revenue. It would also enable municipalities to
pursue solar arrays to achieve their greenhouse gas reduction goals and cost savings, and
encourage low-income and community shared solar projects, helping expand renewable energy
in an equitable manner.
2. Maintain the current retail reimbursement rate for net metering until comprehensive
study of the issue is completed.
Rationale: Slashing the reimbursement rate from retail to wholesale for sizeable arrays will
make them less likely to be built, as the return on investment will be drastically reduced. H.3854
cuts the reimbursement rate by 75%. Municipal, low-income and shared community arrays
require the retail reimbursement rate for financial viability. If a cut in the cost of solar to utilities is
found to be necessary (see point 5 below), the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC**)
incentive program can be modified without harming municipal low-income, or community solar
projects (see point 6 below).
1 3 16 www.ClimateActionNowMA.org
3. Do not allow utility companies to impose a mandatory monthly minimum charge as
stipulated in H.3854.
Rationale: Mandatory minimum charges would discourage energy conservation by raising costs
for low-energy users, and discourage investment in solar arrays. As worded, H.3854 could
result in annual minimum charges of $360 for residential solar customers and significantly
higher bills for businesses and municipalities, negating much of their investment in solar. If any
such charge is considered, it should be informed by an actual study of the benefits and costs of
solar energy, and limited to a reasonable fee.
4. Grandfather all solar projects so that their reimbursement rate remains as agreed
upon when they were built.
Rationale: Transitioning to lower reimbursement mid-stream (in 20 years as stipulated in
H.3854) fails to honor agreements made when project costs were calculated, undermining
confidence in doing business in Massachusetts. This would have a chilling effect on new
projects that require long-term payback.
5. Initiate a transparent process to study the actual costs and benefits of solar to guide
long-term policy.
Rationale: The inaccurate and misleading claims of the utility industry about the cost of solar
need to be independently evaluated. The considerable benefits of solar must be factored into
the equation. Prior analyses have shown that the actual benefits of solar outweigh its costs, for
example by eliminating the need for more power plants, reducing pollution from burning fossil
fuels and offering protection from unpredictable fluctuation in the price of fossil fuels.
6. Reform the SREC** program to lower ratepayer costs
Rationale: The SREC program accounts for the majority of solar costs to utilities and can be
reduced without tinkering with the proven worth of net metering reimbursement. Adjusting the
SREC program would be more equitable for low-income communities that are not eligible for
SRECs but depend on net metering reimbursement, and for other solar users who do not own
their arrays. The Dep’t of Energy Resources (DOER) can examine and adjust the SREC
program.
_______________________________________________________________
*Solar net metering refers to the program that reimburses solar customers for the excess power
they generate and provide to the grid.
**Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) provide cash benefits to solar owners who sell
credits from their arrays on the market administered by the Department of Energy

Example FERC Comment

Comments are due to FERC Aug 15, 2015.

As always, www.nofrackedgasinmass.org has a wealth of detailed information about the pipeline fight.

link to FERC permit info

link to FERC Scoping announcement

Example FERC comment from Rachel Branch:

July 14, 2015, 11:00 a.m.
Docket No. PF14-22-000
COMMENT ON SCOPING MEETINGS

I am Rachel I. Branch, a Citizen of the United States of America, a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and therefore claim standing to oppose the issuance of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permit for the Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., and its Northeast Energy Direct Project.

Prior to my questions for the Scoping meetings, I expressly and respectfully request that these meetings be postponed until all the Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas resource information is supplied to FERC.  It is essential for postponement so that those of us opposing this project have all the information available to pursue specific, fact-based, pertinent questions for the Scoping meetings.  I further strongly respectfully request that these meetings be held in the cities and towns directly impacted by the proposed pipeline and compressor stations.

Questions:

1.  Will Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas (KM/TG) assure FERC and all Americans, with no equivocation, that public health and public safety will be paramount and protected BEFORE pursuing this project?

2.  Will KM/TG be required to supply all environmental studies and those entities that performed these studies to FERC for the public’s perusal?

3.  Will KM/TG be required to supply the amounts paid, and to whom, for those studies?

4.  Will KM/TG be required to provide all public health and public safety assurances, backed up by factual specificity, BEFORE any proposed pipeline construction is begun?

5.  Will KM/TG be required to provide all public health and public safety assurances, backed up by factual specificity, BEFORE any proposed compressor station construction is begun?

6.  Will KM/TG be required to prove the necessity of this proposed pipeline with studies verifying the actual need, and, once again, supply information pertinent to how much was paid and who compiled such studies or information?

7.  Will KM/TG be required to provide answers to all questions without being allowed to respond with “TBD,” as its use allows omission of information FERC and the public need?

8.  Will KM/TG be required to state, unequivocally, the actual cost of the proposed pipeline and be specific in regard to environmental protections for human beings, the ecosystem, the air, the water, the soil, the wetlands, the extraordinary biodiversity that sustains the beings that cannot speak for themselves in our woods, our hills, our mountains, our lakes, ponds and streams, and the extraordinary biodiversity that sustains life and our earth?

This matter before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is so crucially vital that every avenue available to the Commission must be given the highest priority for the good of the American people, your sworn obligation to protect the public health and public safety, and the understanding that the Commission’s integrity must not be compromised and is sacrosanct and inviolate.  Anything other than thorough transparency is not acceptable, unconscionable, and does not protect our Constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Respectfully submitted,

Rachel I. Branch
999 Massachusetts Avenue
North Adams, MA 01247-2231
Telephone:  413-664-0134