Last week, CLF co-sponsored the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Roundtable with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Clean Cities. The invitation-only event resulted in 90+ RSVPs from government officials, business and utility representatives, advocates, and others, and was very well attended despite the ever-worsening weather forecast. Opening remarks from Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan and CLF President John Kassell set the tone for a productive day, and clearly established the Patrick Administration’s commitment to promote Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Massachusetts. You can watch their opening remarks here. We were also joined by several environmental and energy agency commissioners: Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Ken Kimmell, Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia, and Department of Public Utilities Commissioners Dave Cash and Jolette Westbrook. Key staff from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation also attended.
Going into this event, we knew that the stage has been set through strong state clean energy and climate policies, and that the time is right for Massachusetts to affirmatively promote a robust market for EVs. We have only 900 or so EVs registered in our state, so we have a long way to go to catch up to current leaders in this arena, such as California. In fact, Vermont has at least twice as many EVs as MA per capita. It’s not hard to understand why this is the case – while MA is usually a leader in environmental and energy policy initiatives, states like Florida, Georgia, and both Carolinas (and many others!) currently have more incentives for potential EV consumers than we have in Massachusetts. These types of incentives are critical to the success of new energy technologies such as EVs.
Given that electric vehicle deployment will be an important means of achieving our mandatory climate reduction goals in Massachusetts (25% below 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2020, a third of which should come from the transportation sector, and 80% by 2050), we cannot afford to wait to do more. Throughout the Roundtable, CLF and other presenters articulated the many policy opportunities, and opportunities for industry and utility stakeholders, to make EVs viable in Massachusetts – from purchasing incentives, to convenience benefits like access to HOV lanes, to time-of-use charging to reduce impacts to the electric grid from increased EV deployment (and reduce charging costs even more).
Overall, the day was very energizing and inspiring, and we expect real outcomes in the near future. We regret that we couldn’t open up the event to the public, but in addition to watching the opening remarks here and below, you can review the agenda and powerpoint presentations from the Roundtable. We look forward to exciting developments coming out of this energizing day, and promise to report back here on our progress.