(b) Notwithstanding chapter 40A, section 13 of chapter 142 and chapter 164 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the department of energy resources shall establish a demonstration project in which cities and towns adopt and amend general or zoning by-laws that restrict or prohibit new building construction or major renovation projects that are not fossil fuel-free and enforce restrictions and prohibitions on new building construction and major renovation projects that are not fossil fuel-free, including through the withholding or conditioning of building permits.
The department shall approve not more than 10 applications under this section. The department shall approve an application into the program from any city or town that has submitted a home rule petition to the general court on the subject matter of this section on or before the effective date of this act.
The department shall issue the approvals under this section to not more than 10 communities in the order in which the communities submitted home rule petitions to the general court. If 10 or fewer communities qualify for participation by virtue of having submitted a home rule petition to the general court by the effective date of this section, the department shall consider the regional and demographic diversity of the communities applying for participation in approving the application. No city or town shall apply for acceptance into the demonstration project until it has received local approval. The department shall act upon an application from a city or town within 30 days after receiving its application.
The department shall collect data from cities and towns approved under this section to monitor impacts to emissions, building costs, operating costs and other criteria as set by the department in consultation with participating cities and towns. Electric and gas distribution companies shall collect and annually report to the department, in a form approved by the department, the anonymized monthly totals of electricity and gas consumed, and corresponding electricity and gas bill amount, for each consumer in: (i) each municipality participating in the demonstration; and (ii) comparable municipalities not participating in the demonstration as selected by the department. The department shall make the data available on its website in a machine-readable format and annually update the data for the duration of the demonstration.