As Massachusetts policymakers return to the Hill this fall, several important bills impacting our state’s energy future have been filed for consideration. In anticipation of these impending energy debates a new clean energy coalition has formed. The coalition, Mass Power Forward, officially launched at the beginning of the month with simultaneous events throughout the state in Weymouth, Boston, Holyoke, Pittsfield, Peabody, and Fall River.
The Boston launch was held on the roof of the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), which is fittingly home to a 260kW solar array. The array is one of the largest in Boston and provides a great example of the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy. When discussing his decision to install the array David Noymer, CFO for the GBFB, said “We are proud of the steps we have taken to become energy-efficient. The technologies that we employ are not only forward-thinking, but allow us to save money and operate more efficiently and effectively, which directly helps advance our mission to End Hunger Here in eastern Massachusetts.” Noymer was joined by Eugenia Gibbons from Mass Energy, Emily Kirkland from Better Future Project, and Rev. Anne Bancroft from Theodore Parker Church in calling for a cleaner energy future.
This diverse coalition already has over 100 members, including Acadia Center, and is composed of environmentalists, public health advocates, community groups, clean energy companies, faith-based organizations, and social justice leaders. Together these advocates represent a united front calling for a transition from the current energy system to a low-carbon, consumer friendly, clean energy future. As more people learn about the importance of developing a clean energy future, the coalition will continue to grow.
On its website, Mass Power Forward calls for an energy policy that:
- “Advances Massachusetts toward a safer and healthier economy powered by local, clean, renewable sources, maximizing energy efficiency, responsibly sited solar, wind on and off-shore and energy storage; keeping us on track to reduce our climate change pollution by no less than 80% by 2050;
- Reduces our dependence on polluting energy sources such as coal, oil, gas and nuclear, and frees our power grid from imported fuels, volatile markets and dangerous power generation facilities;
- Prioritizes neighborhoods, families and our public lands over utility monopolies and the polluting energy industry; and prohibits public subsidies for gas pipelines or other new fossil fuel infrastructure;
- Modernizes our power grid and empowers everyday people to access locally generated power;
- Assists workers and communities with retiring power plants to participate in the benefits of the green economy and clean energy transition.”
After a successful launch, the Mass Power Forward coalition is looking ahead to a legislative hearing scheduled for September 29th where several important energy bills will be considered. Massachusetts sits at the crossroads of our energy future. It’s essential for us to choose the right path towards a low-carbon, consumer friendly, clean energy future.
Tyler Soleau is Acadia Center’s Energy and Climate Outreach Director working from the Boston office. He focuses on raising awareness, network building and advancing Acadia Center’s clean energy program goals in Massachusetts and the Northeast. Tyler came to Acadia Center from the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served most immediately as Staff Director and Counsel for the House Committee on Climate Change.