5.2 Reduce energy costs while creating a diversified energy portfolio that balances competitive pricing with sustainability (three action items)

5.2.1 Develop Holyoke and other well-suited locations as test beds for cost competitive renewable energy and energy efficient technologies

Contact: Eric Nakajima

CY2012 Progress:

  • Holyoke Gas & Electric, in partnership with ISO New England, the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, UMass Amherst, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is engaged in test bed development activities in the areas of: unconventional hydroelectric power, battery storage, data and systems analysis, and fiber-to-the-curb.
  • HG&E completed preliminary analysis of canal flow-rates to enable deployment of low-flow hydropower technology.
  • HG&E issued RFI to assess potential test-bed partnerships.

5.2.2 Keep energy supply costs competitive based on market conditions in the region

Contact: Bobbi Kates-Garnick

CY2012 Progress:

  • By the end of 2012, the 3-year (2010-2012) Massachusetts energy efficiency programs will result in $2.1 billion in total investment by programs and participants with a $6 billion total lifetime benefits for citizens and businesses.  Electric savings of over 2,600 GWh over three years, with 2012 savings representing 2.4 percent of annual retail energy sales.  Lifetime electric savings from the three-year plan are projected to exceed 30,000 GWh. Natural gas savings of nearly 60 million therms over three years, with 2012 savings representing 1.15 percent of annual retail gas sales.  Lifetime gas savings from the three-year plan are projected to reach nearly 900 million therms.  Greenhouse gas reductions of nearly 1.6 million metric tons over three years.  Lifetime greenhouse gas reductions from the three-year plan are nearly 20 million metric tons. 
  • Provided information on resources available for a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system.  A CHPcan effectively and reliably generate useful heat and electric power using less fuel than a typical system that generates power only.  A CHP systems offer tremendous opportunities for customers with predictable and consistent heat and power needs (particularly large commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities), providing potential for significant economic savings and reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Helped cities and towns maximize energy efficiency in public buildings.  The MA Department of Energy Resources, through its Green Communities Division, is working to guide all 351 cities and towns along a path of enhanced energy efficiency and renewable energy toward zero net energy.  The goal is to help cities and towns manage rising energy costs by maximizing energy efficiency in public buildings, including schools, city halls, and public works and public safety buildings and generate clean energy from renewable sources.  To achieve these goals, the Division is becoming the energy hub for cities and towns, by providing the following:
    • Education about the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy
    • Guidance and technical assistance through the energy management process
    • Facilitation of informed decisions and actions
    • Collaboration through shared best practices among cities and towns
    • Local support from regional Green Communities coordinators
    • Opportunities to fund energy improvements
  • Over 100 cities and towns are named Green Communities –criteria listed below:
    • Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows “as-of-right siting” – allowing a project to proceed without requiring a special permit or any time of discretionary approval – for renewable and/or alternative energy research and development facilities, manufacturing facilities or generation units;
    • Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
    • Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and a program to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
    • Purchasing only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and
    • Requiring all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce lifecycle energy costs (i.e. adoption of an energy-saving building “stretch code”).
  • Approved new, three year Energy Efficiency Plans.
  • Announced Accelerated Energy Program – reduces energy consumption at 700 state sites, save Massachusetts $43 million annually, and create up to 4,000 jobs.

5.2.3 Pursue large scale hydro with other cost-competitive low carbon alternatives along with renewable generation under the Commonwealth’s renewable portfolio standards

Contact: Bobbi Kates-Garnick

CY2012 Progress:

  • Established Clear Goals and Benchmarks
    • The Commonwealth's goal is to achieve 250 MW of solar power installations by 2017. 
    • The Commonwealth's goal is to install 2000 megawatts of wind energy by 2020. 
  • The Massachusetts Clean Cities Coalition is part of a nationwide program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that works to encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles with the help of local businesses, organizations, and state and federal agencies.  Click here for more information regarding the different kinds of renewable energy, funding programs and incentives, installation assistance available.
  • As directed by the Green Communities Act, it is the state’s goal to have clean energy generation serve 20% of customer load by 2020.  Because much of that energy will be on-site electricity or distributed generation (like solar PV, wind, and combined heat and power), we are working to ensure that the interconnection process is as streamlined, uniform, and transparent as possible.  The MA Department of Energy Resources in collaboration with the investor-owned electric utilities has created a website to focus on the utility interconnection process.