Other than renewables and nuclear power, Massachusetts does not produce any energy resources and must import other fuels, such as natural gas and petroleum products, via pipeline, ship, rail, and truck from other parts of the U.S., Canada and internationally. Due to these lack of fossil fuel and coal resources Massachusetts ranks 45th in total energy production (125 Trillion BTU) for 2014 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). As of March 2017, Mass. ranked 34th in Net Electricity Generation at 3,182 thousand MWh.
To supplement its natural gas supplies, Massachusetts hosts three liquefied natural gas import terminals, 2 offshore and one just outside Boston in Everett. Only the Everett facility has received imports since 2010 due to high prices overseas drawing shipments away; and it typically supplies about 20% of New England’s demand for natural gas; all other natural gas comes by pipeline. In 2015, imports supplied about 12% of Massachusetts' demand for natural gas, down from a high of 42% in 2004 but up from the low of 6.8% in 2014.
.Massachusetts also hosts one of the nation’s two Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserves storage sites, which are intended to cushion the effects of disruptions in the supply of home heating oil, and is located in Revere. Most petroleum products come via ship or rail with limited pipeline capacity.
On the renewable side, Massachusetts is working to open offshore areas for wind as well as on shore areas that are deemed suitable for wind power such as areas in Western Massachusetts like Mount Tom. Solar is also expanding but tends to be more of an individual installation for a residence or business then a mass production model though that is changing, with several solar farms across the state. According to U.S. EIA, in 2016, solar photovoltaic facilities, including the state's largest community solar project, comprised 88% of the new utility-scale generating capacity installed in Massachusetts. Visit DOER’s renewable section to learn more.
The U.S. EIA publishes an interactive map (pictured U.S. EIA Massachusetts Energy Infrastructure Map) showing all Mass. energy infrastructure with its Mass Energy Profile.
As of 2014 (most recent available data), Massachusetts ranked 44th in energy consumption(per capitia) in the United States (U.S. EIA), down from 43rd in 2013, reflecting Massachusetts lower than average energy consumption. U.S. EIA credits Massachusetts’ lower consumption to its aggressive state efficiency programs and its economy's reliance on less energy-intensive industries such as financial services, information technology, healthcare, and clean energy technologies. Industrial consumption of energy is typically in the lower one-third nationally. In 2015 the transportation (30.9%) and residential (30.0%) sectors led state energy consumption.
On the fuel consumption side in 2015, natural gas was the most consumed fuel at 457.4 trillion Btu (British thermal unit). Motor gasoline (311.9 trillion Btu) and distillate fuel oil (172.7 trillion Btu) were the second and third most consumed fuels respectively. The net interstate flow of electricity accounted for 263.4 trillion Btu of consumption.
As of the most recent available data from U.S. EIA (2014), Massachusetts ranked 35th in the U.S. in total energy expenditures (per capita) at $4082 per person . Mass ranked 16th in total expenditures for 2014 at $27.574 million. This was down from 2013 total energy expenditures of $27,837 million. In addition, Mass. ranked 48th in energy expenditures as percent of current dollar GDP at 6.1%.
The Transportation sector accounts for the largest expenditures at 46%, followed by the residential(27%), commercial (15%), and industrial (12%)
Looking at expenditures by fuel type, fossil fuels, led by petroleum products, dominated at $15,421 million. Electricity and natural gas were the next two highest fuels by expenditure at $8,364 million and $3,701 million respectively.
Source Data: U.S EIA State Energy Data System
For 2014*, Massachusetts energy prices ranked 5th in the US at an average $26.36/MMBtu. This is a minor increase from $26.35 MMBtu in 2013. Retail electricity had the highest price of any sector ($45.00 MMBtu) followed by transportation and residential. As of March 2017, Massachusetts ranked 8th in residential natural gas prices ($13.00/thousand cu ft) and 4rd in residential electricity prices (19.84 cents/kWh).
Combined with energy expenditures and consumption data for 2014, Massachusetts ranked 35th in the average energy expenditure per person at $4,082. So despite Massachusetts’ higher energy prices, its lower consumption levels lead to lower prices for total energy expenditures per person.
In comparison with other New England states’ total energy prices (2014), New Hampshire ranked 2nd in the U.S. at $27.86 MMBTU, Connecticut 3rd ($27.84MMBtu), Vermont 4th ($27.60MMBtu), Rhode Island 6th($26.34MMbtu) and Maine is the only New England state to rank outside the top ten in U.S. at 19th ($22.62MMBtu). For a complete list of all the states, visit U.S. EIA.
*most recent data available
To find current Massachusetts energy prices visit our Energy Markets Section.
Traditionally, Massachusetts electricity prices are higher than the U.S. average. As of March 2017, Mass. Residential Electric Prices ranked 4th in the nation at $19.84 cents/kWh (includes all bill costs). Massachusetts’ higher electricity prices are largely due to having to import fossil fuels to use as generation for electricity. In 2016, Massachusetts generated 66% of its electricity from natural gas and 5.8% from coal. As of March 2017, Mass. ranked 34th in Net Electricity Generation at 3,182 thousand MWh.
Per capita residential electricity use is lower in Massachusetts than the national average-U.S. EIA. Fewer households use electricity as their primary energy source for home heating and although 9 in 10 homes have air conditioning, only 3 in 4 use it during the mild summer months.
Massachusetts is one of a few states that opened its electricity markets to competitive suppliers starting in 1998. Consumers and businesses can buy their generation service from competitive suppliers while utility (distribution) companies handle the transmission and distribution of the supply. As of December 2016, 66% of the total electricity load is on competitive supply, mostly large commercial and industrial customers. Over the course of 2015, an average of 57% of the total electric load was on competitive supply.
Wholesale electricity markets prices are managed by the Independent System Operator-New England (ISO-NE).
Massachusetts has been part of the Independent System Operator-New England (ISO-NE) regional electricity market since 1999. In 2015, most of the electricity generated by Massachusetts power plants was from natural gas (64%).Additionally, in 2015, 9.4% of net electricity generation in Massachusetts came from renewable energy resources, almost two-thirds from solar, wind, and biomass and more than one-third from hydroelectricity.
The ISO-NE run electric grid currently has an operating capacity of 31,000 Mega-Watts (MW) generating capacity with 8,000 MW proposed and 3400MW retiring over the next five years. New England’s overall electricity demand is forecasted to grow 1.0% annually. To offset these retiring resources and projected growth, regional energy efficiency programs such as those in Massachusetts will cause regional energy usage to remain flat. When forecasted energy-efficiency (EE) measures are factored in, New England has essentially no net long-run growth in electricity use (demand). The ISO’s EE forecast, the nation’s first multistate long-term EE forecast, projects a regional annual average energy savings of 1,608 gigawatt-hours (GWh); shaving about 1,284 MW off peak demand with an average annual peak reduction of about 214MW in the period of 2020 to 2025.
ISO also publishes annual profiles: ISO-NE’s New England Power Grid Profile for 2016-17 and New England Power Grid State Profiles 2016-17, as well as an app: ISO to GO available for IOS and Android.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) released a map that lets residents track power outages in their area.
According to the U.S. EIA, Massachusetts ranks 32nd in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions for 2014 (same as 2013) with 64 million metric tons accounting for 1.2% of total U.S. emissions. In an effort to reduce emissions, Mass. participates in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program, has a robust Renewable Portfolio Standard/Alternative Portfolio Standard, as well as aggressive energy efficiency and alternative fuel programs.
The Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act Dashboard highlights additional programs and activities the Commonwealth is doing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Massachusetts households spend 22 percent more on energy than the U.S. average, paying about $2500/yr., which is slightly less than the six state New England regional averages. Additionally in contrast to much of the rest of the country, Massachusetts’ cooler weather makes space heating the largest portion of household energy use (59%), while air conditioning makes up one percent of usage.
Additionally, EIA estimates 31% of residents use fuel oil as their primary heating source, five times the nationwide average of 6%. Natural gas is the most used residential heating fuel in Mass. at 49% with electricity (14%), propane (2.8%) and wood (1.7%) rounding out the top five heating fuels.Visit the Mass Home Heating Profile for more information.
DOER publishes weekly heating oil and propane surveys as well as quarterly wood pellet prices during the winter heating season. Visit the Home and Auto Prices section for updated information.
According to the most recent data from U.S.EIA (2014), the transportation sector in Massachusetts has the highest portion of energy consumption, 30.1%, expenditures, 42%, and CO2 emissions (2013) of all the sectors. Additionally, the transportation sector has the second highest price per MMBtu ($27.53), trailing only the electricity sector.
Most of the fuels used in transportation are petroleum based fossil fuels such as motor gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and some ethanol. To alleviate the use of these fuels and their impact on the environment, Massachusetts has strived to increase the use of alternative fuels such as electricity, E85 (85% ethanol), compressed natural gas (cng), and liquefied petroleum gas (lpg) through theMassachusetts Clean Cities Programthat works to expand the use of alternative transportation and infrastructure.