BOSTON — Legislation introduced in January that would require Massachusetts to be 100 percent dependent on renewable energy sources by 2050 is gaining momentum with lawmakers in the state’s capitol.
The bills, filed by Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and Reps. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), call for 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035 and 100 percent renewable energy economy-wide — including electricity, heating, transportation and other sectors — by 2050, according to an article by the Worcester Business Journal Online (WBJ).
While the goal is ambitious, since the legislation has been introduced it has gained six cosponsors in the Senate and 47 in the House, according to the news source Environment Massachusetts.
“One of the biggest reasons why we are advocating for this piece of legislation is…that we need to set up a long-term framework and pathway to the transition. We know that we’re not going to achieve 100 percent renewable energy overnight, but we can make sure that every decision we’re making in the coming decades is going to make us that much closer to achieving that goal,” Environment Massachusetts State Director Ben Hellerstein told WBJ.
Massachusetts has strongly supported green initiatives in the past, and in August 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law directing utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind and about 1,200 megawatts of hydroelectric power. In addition, the Global Warming Solutions Act, passed by the Legislature and signed by former Gov. Deval Patrick in 2008, set economy-wide goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 1990 statewide levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
In addition to being completely dependent on renewable energy sources by 2050, the bills would also establish a Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund to support job training, placement assistance and education for Massachusetts residents hoping to work in the clean energy industry.