Local MA Chambers Spring Update: Economic Development Opportunities in Clean Energy

Massachusetts local chambers and member businesses are increasingly leading the way in seizing the economic opportunities in clean energy.  Here are some highlights about new job growth, member business programs, investment opportunities, and more.

MA’s Clean Energy Jobs Topped 100,000 in 2016. Clean energy jobs grew from 60,274 jobs in 2010 to 105,212 jobs in 2016, with approximately 70 percent of workers earning more than $50,000 a year. More.

Newton Needham Chamber Members Received More than $1.7 Million In Energy Incentives. “As a chamber, it is our duty to help our members be their most profitable and reducing unnecessary energy use is an easy way to do just that,” said Chamber President Greg Reibman.

New Bedford Chamber Hosts Discussion on Growing Job Potential of Offshore Wind. “We are excited by the job and investment growth that offshore wind development could offer to our member businesses and community,” said Rick Kidder, President and CEO of the 1,000-member New Bedford Chamber. More.

Gov. Baker Seeks Federal Support for Renewables.  Gov. Baker joined a bi-partisan group of Governors asking President Trump to support wind and solar power for economic development. More.

New Solar Incentive Program Proposed by the Department of Energy Resources.  Expected to replace the expiring SREC incentive program and continue support of MA’s solar industry, while cutting the annual cost of solar installations to electricity ratepayers in half.  DOER expected to finalize program late this year with a roll out in early 2018. More.

The Massachusetts Legislature is Focused on Two Clean Energy Issues of Interest to Local Chambers:

  • Maintaining MA’s Competitive Edge: A clear commitment to clean energy has led to more than 105,000 jobs in clean energy and $11.8 billion in investments. One policy mechanism used by states to encourage this is the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires utilities to obtain an increasing amount of energy from renewable The Legislature is considering increasing Massachusetts’ RPS to make it once again competitive with neighboring states.
  • Growing More Solar Jobs and Investment: Many business owners that use solar panels generate more energy than they use, which allows them to save on energy costs and earn credits on their utility bill  from the excess energy they send back to the grid. Massachusetts currently places a limit on this (through a process known as net metering.) But the Legislature is considering increasing that limit, or removing it entirely, to incentivize more solar development and the job growth and investments that come with it.