Newsline / Standards & Legislation

Massachusetts Passes Thermal Energy Bill

Legislation will Promote the Use of Clean Renewable Fuels and Technologies

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a comprehensive renewable thermal energy bill that will promote the use of clean renewable fuels and technologies to heat and cool buildings. Passed unanimously by the Massachusetts Senate on June 19, the bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Deval Patrick and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

SB 2214 provides financial incentives for several thermal renewable energy heating and cooling alternatives. These include geothermal and air-source heat pumps; solar heating; and bio-fuels such as wood pellets, wood chips, renewable bio-oils, or renewable natural gas.

“Passage of SB 2214 is great news, and a huge victory for the geothermal heat pump industry in Massachusetts and across the country,” said GEO president and CEO Doug Dougherty. “We provided technical and financial assistance to the effort, and worked the bill at the grassroots level. In late July, we called each of our manufacturer members’ distributors and dealers in the state, prompting at least 15 to personally call the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means in support of the bill.”

According to coalition leaders: “While the bill provides for powerful new financial incentives, it does so without creating new spending. Instead, renewable heating and cooling technologies will now qualify for Alternative Energy Credits under the Commonwealth’s existing Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (APS).”

The Massachusetts APS was established in 2009 to reward businesses and homeowners for installing eligible alternative energy systems. Under the law, retail electricity suppliers must buy Alternative Energy Credits (AECs) to offset the energy they produce using non-renewable fuels, making electricity rates dependent in part on the number of credits available on the market. With more AECs available from renewable heating systems, prices will drop, followed by electricity rates.

Publication date: 8/18/2014

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