Massachusetts climate advocates say a clean heat standard proposed by state officials could fail to create meaningful progress toward decarbonization if it overvalues alternative fuels and doesn’t prioritize equity.
“The devil is in the details,” said Amy Boyd, vice president of climate and clean energy policy at the nonprofit Acadia Center, one of several environmental groups closely following the developing state policy.
In January 2022, then-Gov. Charlie Baker convened a Clean Heat Commission to develop strategies for decarbonizing the state’s building sector, which accounts for about 40% of its total emissions. Among its final recommendations released in November was the adoption of a clean heat performance standard.
The policy would create a system similar to a renewable portfolio standard but for heat instead of electricity. Heating fuel suppliers would be required to contribute to clean heat projects, likely by buying credits generated from activities such as heat pump installations and weatherization improvements. Over time, the amount of clean heat credits required would increase.
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