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Jen Benson MAS2019

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Presentation for the 2019 Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conference on March 29, 2019 in Cambridge.

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Jen Benson MAS2019

  1. 1. AN ACT PROMOTING LOCAL ENERGY INVESTMENT & INFRASTRUCTURE MODERNIZATION MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON SPONSOR OF: AN ACT TO PROMOTE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE & REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS
  2. 2. The Problem: Massachusetts has an old electrical grid that was built for centralized generation. This presents challenges for distributed generation from solar and wind, net metering, battery storage, and other modern technologies. The grid modernization policies of DPU and ISO New England are not moving fast enough, and our grid is becoming more antiquated every year compared to new technologies. GRID MODERNIZATION: THE PROBLEM MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  3. 3. Insufficient progress on grid modernization will slow the growth of renewable energy generation in Massachusetts. Currently, about 18% of the electricity Massachusetts generates comes from renewables and hydro, while over 65% comes from burning imported fossil fuels (mostly natural gas). Today’s grid cannot support the technologies we need to be using to get to 100% renewable. GRID MODERNIZATION: THE PROBLEM MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  4. 4. The Solution: An Act Promoting Local Energy Investment & Infrastructure Modernization (H.2808) H.2808 creates a new approach to grid planning that prioritizes local energy production. The bill establishes a Grid Modernization Consumer Board to hold utilities accountable and make sure they are meeting DPU guidelines and working toward transmission, reliability, and distributed generation goals. Utilities will be required to submit Grid Modernization Plans every three years, and stick to those plans. GRID MODERNIZATION: LEGISLATION MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  5. 5. Carbon pricing is a method of addressing climate change by assigning a monetary cost to a unit of carbon emissions. CARBON PRICING: A DEFINITION MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  6. 6. Carbon pricing is a policy instrument that captures the external costs of carbon emissions and ties them to their sources in the form of a price per unit on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. External costs: Climate change, air pollution, health care costs Carbon pricing disincentivizes the use of fossil fuels and incentivizes the generation of more renewable energy. There are a few different types of carbon pricing, including cap-and-trade and a carbon fee. CARBON PRICING: HOW IT WORKS MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  7. 7. An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure & Reduce Carbon Emissions (H.2810) The bill puts an initial fee of $20/ton on carbon dioxide, and raises it to $40/ton over 4 years. If Massachusetts doesn’t meet our emissions targets, the fee continues to rise by $5/ton per year. 70% of the fees collected go back to consumers and employers, with built-in protections for low and moderate income households. CARBON PRICING: LEGISLATION MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  8. 8. H.2810 rebates 70% of fees back to consumers and employers. Low and moderate income households receive higher rebates, as do rural residents more dependent on cars. Employer rebates are be based on their number of employees, and businesses that face strong competitive pressures from outside the state could receive higher rebates. Consumers and employers can spend the rebate on anything, but we hope they will spend some of it on things like rooftop solar or electric vehicles. CARBON PRICING: REBATES MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  9. 9. H.2810 uses 30% of the revenue collected for a Green Infrastructure Fund, and would raise about $300 million in its first year. The Fund would be spent on green infrastructure and renewable energy projects, including:  Transportation infrastructure  Climate change resiliency  Large-scale solar and wind projects Communities with median incomes in the bottom 33% would receive at least 40% of the funds. CARBON PRICING: GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE FUND MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  10. 10. Carbon pricing has been in practice all over the world for decades, and the data shows that it reduces emissions and has economic benefits. Finland was the first country to establish a carbon fee in 1990, and since then about two dozen countries have followed. Denmark has cut their emissions by more than one-third since 1992, with similar GDP growth to the United States. A Harvard University study estimates a carbon fee in MA would save hundreds of lives and $2.9 billion in health care costs by 2040.1 CARBON PRICING: EVIDENCE 1.Air Quality and Health Co-Benefits of a Carbon Fee-and-Rebate Bill. Harvard University, 2017. MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER BENSON
  11. 11. H.2808 AN ACT PROMOTING LOCAL ENERGY INVESTMENT & INFRASTRUCTURE MODERNIZATION H.2810 AN ACT TO PROMOTE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE & REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS Massachusetts State Representative Jennifer Benson Jennifer.Benson@MAHouse.gov JenBenson.org MALegislature.gov

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