Letters sent to leadership in support of carbon pricing and solar power
BOSTON—After the hottest month on record, Representative Sánchez (D-Jamaica Plain) called on his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to support measures that would incentivize solar power and reduce carbon emissions in an effort to combat climate change.
“Boston is blessed by its location. But as we look to the future, we need to consider how climate change and rising sea levels could potentially harm our growth and viability,” said Sánchez. “We need to prepare for those consequences.”
Representative Sánchez urged action on H3854, An Act providing for the establishment of a comprehensive adaptation management plan in response to climate change, which would raise the caps on solar net metering credits. The bill has been in conference committee since November. The credits, which provide reimbursement to solar owners who sell excess energy back to the grid, have reached their limit in many parts of the state, causing solar projects to stall or be cancelled altogether. This bill was passed to lift the caps so projects can move forward, while a more comprehensive plan is being considered to encourage solar power in the Commonwealth.
The reason for the delay is that the bill contains controversial provisions that risk the viability of solar projects. The letter acknowledges some provisions, such as the need to protect ratepayers who do not have solar power, but also highlights how solar net metering credits make solar projects in low-income housing feasible. It also emphasizes the need for net metering to encourage community shared solar, which brings solar power to households that otherwise couldn’t support solar panels.
“Years ago, solar power was out of reach for most people. But now that projects are more affordable, we can, and should, expand solar power’s benefits to all corners of the Commonwealth. We need to make sure that sustainable energy is accessible and affordable for everyone – from those in public housing to those with roofs facing the sun.”
Additionally, Representative Sánchez wrote to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy urging favorable action on S1747, An Act combatting climate change, which would impose a price on carbon emissions.
Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are the primary drivers of climate change. A carbon fee would help capture the full cost of carbon emissions, which cause extensive health and environmental problems. Putting a price on carbon encourages Massachusetts to reduce fossil fuel dependence and to shift to a more sustainable economy.
“The main issue with implementing a carbon fee is that it would hurt low-income individuals who can’t always afford energy-efficient equipment,” Sánchez said. “However, this bill imposes a revenue-neutral fee that is then refunded in full to households.” As a result, fossil fuel emissions will decrease, while simultaneously increasing disposable income.
“Moving these pieces of legislation will help Massachusetts power forward as the leader in sustainable energy. It is important that we do everything we can to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of climate change.”
The letters were sent as the House of Representatives prepares to take on a major energy reform bill that will focus on investing in hydro, solar, and offshore wind power.
The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 requires a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from 1990 levels by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. Representative Sánchez remains dedicated to these goals and will continue to advocate for measures that promote sustainability for all neighborhoods.