PATRICK ADMINISTRATION SUPPORTS U.S. EPA’S NEW RULES TO CUT CARBON POLLUTION FROM EXISTING POWER PLANTS
Massachusetts Leads Way on Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions, Cleantech Growth
BOSTON – Monday, June 2, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick and his Administration today praised the Obama Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the release of its draft rules that will reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30 percent by 2030 and greatly improve air quality across the nation.
“I applaud EPA’s new carbon rules, which will unleash clean energy innovation and reduce energy costs while protecting our environment and public health,” said Governor Patrick. “This is a critical step in moving the nation toward a clean energy future, one that we’ve already embraced in Massachusetts with great results. The Obama Administration is showing leadership in clean energy for American citizens today, and in the future.”
Over the past seven years, Massachusetts has implemented nation-leading policies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and address the impacts of climate change, while spurring economic growth across the Commonwealth. The Patrick Administration has supported a variety of strategies, including programs for GHG emission reductions, energy efficiency and renewable energy, which chart a path to a cleaner energy future and provide models for other states to follow. These strategies have yielded economic benefits as well, with 11.8 percent cleantech job growth in the last year; nearly 80,000 people are employed in the industry in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts was an early adopter of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Since 2005, the RGGI states have lowered carbon dioxide emissions by 41 percent in the electricity generation sector throughout the region and demonstrated that a market-based pollution-reduction approach works. State-wide emissions have dropped 16 percent since 1990. Massachusetts has pumped more than $252 million in RGGI proceeds back into the Commonwealth, which has been used primarily for energy efficiency programs.
As existing power plants across the nation are required to cut their emissions due to today’s EPA rule, the RGGI cap-and-trade program can be a model for other states because it is cost-effective, provides economic benefits, aligns with the regional nature of the electricity grid and provides a simple, transparent and verifiable system.
Massachusetts has also utilized RGGI proceeds and utility-based funding to triple the energy savings from efficiency initiatives that have been implemented in homes and businesses, as well as public buildings and housing complexes. These efforts have led Massachusetts to be named the most energy efficient state in the nation three years straight.
The Commonwealth has also successfully implemented renewable energy sources. There are currently 518 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity installed, enough electricity to power nearly 79,000 homes. Governor Patrick has set a goal of 1,600 MW installed by 2020, after reaching his previous goal of 250 MW four years early.
In 2007, Massachusetts had just three MW of wind capacity. Today, 103 MW of land-based wind has been installed and the state is poised to become the home to Cape Wind, the nation’s first offshore wind farm.