Today, clean energy supporters in Massachusetts announced legislation, backed by more than a quarter of the state legislature, committing Massachusetts to meeting 100 percent of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2035 and all of its energy needs, including heating and transportation, from renewable sources by 2050.
“The supporters of this bill have joined the growing number of stakeholders and leaders who recognize the need for a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy to tackle our environmental challenges,” said Rob Sargent, Energy Program Director for Environment America. “With a can-do attitude, powering Massachusetts entirely with clean, renewable energy is as feasible as it is necessary.”
The Massachusetts campaign is the latest action in a growing movement to transform the way we produce and consume energy to create healthier communities right now and a livable future for kids growing up today. In 2015, Hawaii committed to 100 percent renewables by 2045. That same year, California committed to achieving 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, and the author of that legislation, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, has recently spoken of the need for California to get to 100 percent renewable energy.
California cities are leading the way. San Diego has committed to achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Los Angeles is studying the best means for achieving 100 percent clean energy. And last week San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in his State of the City Address that he will work to make San Jose “the first major U.S. city to draw 100% of our electricity from renewable sources within the next decade.”
A combination of environmental concerns and declining costs for renewable energy have made it the “go-to” option for many communities and businesses, in part because it is pollution-free, but also because it requires no fuel costs. As a result, dozens of major corporations—ranging from Google to General Motors to Walmart—have already committed to a complete shift to renewable energy.
“The federal government is moving backwards on clean energy. So, the states must lead,” said S. David Freeman, a long-time utility executive for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the New York Power Authority and the Tennessee Valley Authority. “Massachusetts can show the way by enacting the hundred percent renewable bill and by so doing save consumers millions of dollars in the future with a free fuel energy supply.”
Given the considerable resistance renewables are likely to face in Congress and the Trump Administration, clean energy proponents are looking to state and local governments, businesses and institutions to ensure continued progress. In addition to the campaign in Massachusetts, Environment America and its partners are planning campaigns to get other states, including California, to go 100 percent renewable.
“Despite tremendous progress on renewable energy in the past decade, we’ve got much more to do and leaders in Washington who want to hold us back,” said Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment California. “That’s why we’re counting on local and state leaders, along with businesses, colleges and universities, and other leading institutions to lead the way to 100% renewable energy.”