Distributed Energy Resources

Mass. House Speaker plans bill to boost clean energy technologies

Rep. Robert DeLeo, speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, on Feb. 22 announced an initiative to invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to help communities across the state adopt technologies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen infrastructure and reduce municipal costs.

DeLeo’s GreenWorks initiative would provide competitive grants for cities and towns to fund projects including, but not limited to, energy efficient buildings, solar power installations, microgrids, energy storage, electric vehicle charging stations, and resilient infrastructure. The funds would be administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The money to fund the program is likely to come from $1 billion in bonding authority that would be part of the enabling legislation; however, that legislation has not yet been introduced and the legislative language is not yet available, Seth Gitell, a spokesman for DeLeo’s office said. DeLeo hopes to introduce the legislation for consideration later this year.

“Not only will cities and towns have the ability to cut greenhouse gases and lower long-term energy and operating costs, but they will adopt Massachusetts-made innovative technologies and put people to work on clean tech infrastructure projects,” DeLeo said in a statement.

DeLeo’s plan would work in concert with wider initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. In 2008, the state passed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires the state to cut GHG emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

DeLeo’s plan appears to echo the Life Sciences Law, a $1 billion package of incentives aimed at fostering the growth of biotechnology companies, signed into law in 2008 by then-Gov. Deval Patrick. The law made available $500 million for capital improvements, $250 million in corporate tax incentives, and $250 million in grants.

Massachusetts lawmakers are now eager to encourage the development of clean energy companies in the state.

Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced $500,000 in funding for clean energy start-ups.