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ESS Regulatory Update: New and Proposed Amendments to MA Legislation

August 10, 2016

Winds of Change for MA: New Legislation on Comprehensive Energy Diversification


Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a comprehensive energy diversification bill on August 8. The new statute requires the Commonwealth to generate at least 1,600 MW of electricity from offshore wind farms over the next decade. Additionally, utilities will be required to competitively solicit for 1,200 MW of other renewable energy generation, such as hydropower, onshore wind, and solar power.

Approximately 20 percent of Massachusetts's energy load will come from renewable resources as a result of the statute, making it the largest procurement in the Commonwealth's history. The statute is also the largest state commitment to offshore wind in the U.S. to date, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Beginning on or before October 1, 2016 and continuing until September 20, 2018, electric distribution companies in Massachusetts will be required to solicit at least four requests for proposals from offshore wind developers to generate no less than 876,000 MWh of electricity (individual solicitations must be for at least 400 MW of the rated capacity). Additionally, the legislation establishes a commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which will allow commercial and industrial property owners to finance necessary renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades.

For more information, read the official press release or the bill (H. 4568).


MassDEP Proposes Amendment to CO2 Budget Trading Program

Pollution Landscape

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is proposing to amend its CO2 Budget Trading Program (310 CMR 7.70), which implements the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RIGGI is a nine-state regional cap and trade program that limits CO2 emissions from power plants rated at more than 25 MW.

The proposed amendments to the Budget Trading Program would allow any power plant that produces useful thermal energy - such as steam, hot water, or another thermal form - to deduct its compliance obligation of CO2 equal to the amount of CO2 emissions associated with useful net thermal energy.

The authorized account executive of a combined heat and power CO2 budget source will be responsible for reporting the total amount of useful net thermal energy output, the total volume of the steam output produced, the average pressure of the steam output produced, and the average temperature of the steam.

The public review period will last until September 22, 2016 at 5 p.m. For more information on the proposed amendment, visit MassDEP.


About ESS Group, Inc.
ESS Group, Inc. is a multi-disciplinary environmental consulting and engineering firm with offices in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Our team is comprised of scientists, engineers, and environmental specialists who provide full life-cycle engineering and consulting services. For more information, contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or subscribe to receive ESS News and Regulatory Updates via email.