This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 13, 2002

Massachusetts Moves Ahead on Renewable Energy Requirement

The Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources (DOER) released last week its final renewable energy portfolio regulation, which sets a minimum requirement for generating electricity from new renewable energy sources. The regulation requires all retail electricity providers in the state to draw on new renewable energy sources for at least one percent of their power supply in 2003, increasing to four percent by 2009. The state mandated the renewable energy regulation in its Electric Utility Industry Restructuring Act, enacted in 1997.

The DOER regulation allows the use of solar, wind, and ocean energy, as well as landfill methane gas, anaerobic digester gas, and low-emission biomass power (but not from municipal waste), to meet the requirement. In general, only facilities that started commercial operation in 1998 or later will qualify. Biomass can also be co-fired with other fuels for partial credit if the facility meets certain criteria. Electricity providers that fall short of the requirements can opt to pay 5 cents per kilowatt-hour to the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation (MTPC), which administers the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust. The MTPC, in turn, will use the funds to maximize the commercial development of new renewable generation facilities in the state. See the DOER press release, with a link to the full regulation.

The State of New York is also pressing ahead with plans to encourage renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency. The state's draft energy plan, now being reviewed in public hearings, includes plans to solicit long-term contracts for electricity from renewable energy sources, examine the feasibility of a requirement similar to Massachusetts' new regulation, help create a biofuels industry in the state, and encourage the use of distributed generation and combined heat and power technologies. The plan also proposes a statewide energy efficiency standard, voluntary energy- efficiency agreements with businesses, efforts to encourage alternative modes of transportation, and programs to promote energy efficiency in buildings. The plan specifically suggests a coordinated effort to include energy efficiency and other green building principles in rebuilding efforts in New York City. See the draft energy plan on the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Web site.