Electricity providers will need to cut half a million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and gas providers will need to trim more than 340,000 tons between 2022 and 2024 to comply with the first specific targets placed on utilities under the state’s new climate policy law.
In a letter to Mass Save program administrators, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides outlined a statewide goal of cutting 504,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from electric companies and 341,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from gas companies in the three-year period from 2022 to 2024.
The law Gov. Charlie Baker signed in March, which commits the state to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, requires the secretary to set targets every three years for Mass Save Energy Efficiency Plans.
As part of their bills, Massachusetts utility customers pay into a fund that Mass Save will use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by steps such as electrifying buildings and reducing incentives for fossil fuel heating.
“Our Mass Save programs will be a key policy driver to meeting our GHG emissions reduction requirements and the programs must reflect this imperative,” Theoharides wrote in her July 15 letter, sent on the statutory deadline for her to set the targets.
The climate law also requires economy-wide and sector-specific emissions limits to be set starting for 2025 and then again for 2030. For 2025, Theoharides recommended energy efficiency plans target annual carbon dioxide equivalent emissions reductions of 392,000 metric tons from residential electric energy, 252,000 metric tons from residential gas, 296,000 metric tons from commercial electricity, and 156,000 metric tons from commercial gas. The Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, which includes state, utility and public interest representatives, must vote on the 2022-2024 plans and submit them to the Department of Public Utilities by Oct. 31.