Massachusetts Climate Report Card - Power Decarbonization

The Power sector is on track for 2025. Supply chain, inflationary and commercial obstacles in particular in the offshore wind industry are delaying deployment of renewable energy, and significant interventions are needed to remain on track by 2030.

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Roughly half our electric load is met with clean generation today, reflecting significant progress to date in building renewable energy within Massachusetts and working with regional partners to source clean energy. While Massachusetts is on track to meet our power sector sublimit for 2025, we will face significant challenges deploying clean energy at the scale and pace necessary to meet our power sector sublimits for 2030 and beyond. States across the region face similar challenges. Cleaning the power sector is the linchpin of all other GHG reduction strategies: without substantial additions of clean energy, the transition to electric vehicles and building heating and cooling will not result in adequate GHG reductions. In addition to finding ways to improve and expedite the siting, permitting, and interconnection of new clean energy generation, distribution and transmission, optimally managing and mitigating new electric loads will be essential to efficiently integrate new sources of electric infrastructure and avoid building some entirely.




Percent of state electricity consumption met with clean power 

48.2% of the state’s electricity consumption was met with in-state and out-of-state clean sources in 2021. This is documented via the retirement of clean energy attributes in Massachusetts, direct contracts with municipal light plants, and an estimate of Massachusetts’ share of imported energy from neighboring regions. 

Massachusetts has multiple standards that require a certain percentage of electricity served to customers come from clean resources in the regional market. In 2021, the combined standards required that more than 49% of all electric load in Eversource’s, National Grid’s and Unitil’s service territories be sourced from qualified clean and renewable energy resources. The standards do not apply to the electricity served by municipal light plants (MLPs) or wholesale purchases of electricity (e.g., most of the electricity consumed by the MBTA) that account for over 14% of total electricity consumption statewide. The MLPs comply with a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standard (GGES), but this standard is not as stringent and only applies in the years 2030, 2040, and 2050. Because the electric load served by MLPs was on average slightly less clean than that in investor-owned utility territories, a value of 48.2% for statewide clean electricity in 2021 indicates the standards were largely or entirely achieved in investor-owned utility service territories.

In-state renewable electric capacity

There were 113 MW of in-state wind capacity in 2022.  

There were 3,325 MW AC of in-state solar capacity in 2022.

The 2025/2030 CECP modeling estimates

180 MW of wind capacity (all onshore) in 2025 and 3,650 MW of wind capacity (onshore and offshore combined) in 2030.

The 2025/2030 CECP modeling estimates 4,470 MW alternating current (AC) of solar capacity by 2025 and 8,360 MW AC of solar capacity by 2030.

This metric measures clean energy capacity in Massachusetts, but Massachusetts is part of a regional electric grid operated by ISO-NE that is supplied by power generation facilities located throughout New England and in neighboring regions. Accordingly, the amount of clean energy generated within the state, while a useful indicator of progress towards meeting power sector emissions limits, is less important than the amount of clean energy generated in or delivered to ISO-NE that Massachusetts can claim was consumed in state, regardless of where it was generated. 


  • Macroeconomic forces, such as high inflation, rising interest rates, and ongoing supply-chain delays, are increasing project costs, causing several offshore wind projects on the east coast to terminate existing power purchase agreements. 

  • Revenues that can be earned through existing energy market structures are not certain enough to facilitate long-term financing of new generation outside of state-run procurements for clean energy. 

  • Insufficient grid capacity is preventing large volumes of clean energy projects from coming online and new grid infrastructure can take up to ten years to develop.  

  • Uncertainties around cost allocation, or the amount each party pays for new grid infrastructure, is delaying interconnection and negatively impacting project finance.  

  • Restrictions on project siting and lengthy permitting battles are slowing project completion. 

  • Transmission constraints make it challenging to bring new generation capacity online, particularly for onshore and offshore wind. 

  • Utilities are incentivized to build new infrastructure as opposed to optimizing use of the existing electric grid, managing demand, or encouraging distributed resources. 

  • Electrifying the transportation and buildings sectors will increase electric load, possibly by as much as 50% by 2035 and by more than 100% by 2050. 

How we are meeting this moment

  • The Department of Energy Resources in May issued New England’s largest offshore wind solicitation, inviting enough submittals for generation that would power 25 percent of the state’s annual electricity demand. The state also entered into an agreement with Rhode Island and Connecticut to create a pathway for the nation’s first multistate offshore wind procurement.  

  • Governor Healey issued an Executive Order establishing the Commission on Clean Energy Infrastructure Siting and Permitting, charging it with accelerating the responsible deployment of clean energy infrastructure, facilitating community input into its siting and permitting, and ensuring that the benefits of the clean energy transition are shared equitably.  

  • The Department of Public Utilities is reviewing ten Capital Investment Project proposals submitted by Eversource and National Grid that, if approved, could allow for hundreds of additional MW of solar and storage to be interconnected to the electric distribution system.  

  • DOER substantially revised the stretch energy code and developed a new specialized code that reduces the amount of energy needed for heating so that electrifying space heating in new construction does not significantly increase peak electric loads.  

  • The newly created Office of Federal and Regional Energy Affairs is working with state, regional, and federal partners on a series of concrete steps to develop transmission infrastructure needed to integrate substantial clean energy resources over the coming decades, including: (i) developing a regional mechanism to give states the ability to translate longer-term transmission planning analysis into project solicitations through an ISO New England-administered competitive process as early as 2024, (ii) partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the New England states, New York, New Jersey, and Mid-Atlantic states to explore enhanced terrestrial and offshore transmission ties between regions, and (iii) pursuing project funding for new transmission through DOE’s Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships program. 

  • DOER released its Massachusetts Technical Potential of Solar study, equipping stakeholders with insight into their location’s suitability for solar.  

  • As the first step in a comprehensive review of the Commonwealth’s solar incentive programs, DOER has engaged a consultant to review solar project costs and economics.  

  • DOER is working with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance to develop a solar grant and procurement program to build and own solar on state properties. 

  • The Grid Modernization Advisory Council, chaired by DOER, convened stakeholders to assess and provide recommendations on the electric-sector modernization plans submitted by electric distribution companies, first in September 2023, with review of plans every five years thereafter. 

  • The Commonwealth is examining ways to expand and improve its existing active demand response programs to use existing grid infrastructure as efficiently as possible and reduce the total amount of generation capacity needed to meet demand. 

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