Next-Generation Roadmap Bill: What You Need to Know
On Friday, Governor Charlie Baker signed the historic “Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy.” This is the culmination of years of efforts by climate advocates, including MAPC, and will help Massachusetts stay at the forefront of US climate policy.
The road to this moment has been a little rocky and could be confusing. A brief summary:
- The Legislature first sent the Governor a version of the bill last December at the very end of its legislative session after a deliberative review by a conference committee, which negotiated differences between House and Senate proposals.
- Governor Baker vetoed this version of the bill in early January. Soon afterwards, Senate President Karen Spilka and Speaker Ron Mariano announced that they would bring the bill back, unchanged, in the new session.
- In the first weeks of this legislative session, both the House and Senate passed the bill again.
- This time, the Governor returned the legislation with amendments.
- Last week, the legislature made revisions to the Governor’s amended bill, voted on it again, and sent it back.
- On Friday, March 26, the Governor signed it into law!
MAPC believes the Next Generation Climate Roadmap bill is a big win. It will help shape a stronger climate future that can improve the lives of all Commonwealth residents and accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Below, we’re outlining the aspects of the bill that we’re especially excited about:
Net Zero Roadmap
- Codifies the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, revising the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act emissions targets to match what scientists say we need to do.
- Raises the target for emissions reductions by 2030 from 45% to 50%, and requires emissions limits set at five-year increments.
- Requires DOER to establish a new opt-in net zero stretch building code within 18 months. Net zero buildings maximize efficiency, electrification, and renewable energy, addressing a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts and making buildings healthier and more resilient. The new code will include net zero building performance standards and a definition for what a “net zero building” is.
- Makes DOER responsible for updating the existing stretch energy code, which has already been adopted by over 80% of Massachusetts communities.
- Adds DOER and energy experts to the board that implements building codes (the Board of Building Regulations and Standards) and sets term limits for board members.
- Requires that the cost of climate change on society (i.e. the social cost of carbon) be part of the Mass Save Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan cost-benefit analysis.
- Establishes appliance efficiency standards for 17 residential and commercial products, saving consumer costs on energy and water bills while cutting emissions
- For the first time, defines Environmental Justice populations in state statute. The definition of “environmental burden” for key permit reviews includes climate change for the first time.
- Ensures increased outreach to Environmental Justice populations and requires more engagement from state agencies as they carry out their duties.
Renewable Energy Access
- Increases the required percentage of Massachusetts electricity that comes from renewable sources. The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) will increase 3% annually from 2025 to 2029 to reach 40% by 2030.
- Requires an additional 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind, bringing the state’s total target to 5,600 MW.
- Improves access to solar through a low-income services solar program trust.
- Requires $12 million in annual funding be given to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to help Environmental Justice populations, minority-owned and women-owned businesses, and employees from the fossil fuel industry advance in the clean energy industry.
- Improves gas pipeline safety, including increased fines for safety violations.
- Establishes a pilot program to deploy geothermal heat pump microdistricts, an innovative clean energy technology.
- Reshapes the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) by amending its mission. The DPU will now need to balance equity and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with its existing priorities of system safety, system security, reliability, and affordability.
Renewable Energy Goals For Municipal Light Plants
- Requires municipal light plants, which serve specific cities or towns, to purchase 50% of their power from non-carbon sources by 2030 and get to net zero emissions by 2050.
- Before this, municipal light plants didn't have renewable energy requirements