Massachusetts Reverses Rollback to Critical Clean Energy Policy

Biomass facilities to face stricter requirements under Renewable Portfolio Standard

Dirty energy sources contribute to dangerous air pollution

April 16, 2021 (BOSTON, MA) – Massachusetts officials are revising their proposed rollback to the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a policy designed to increase and support utilities’ use of clean electricity sources. Under the revised language, new biomass facilities must reach a 60% efficiency standard to qualify for an RPS subsidy and cannot qualify at all if they are built in or near an environmental justice population. This revision will prevent the worst polluting facilities from receiving subsidies, but still incentivizes biomass in certain circumstances. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.

“Dirty, industrial biomass pollutes our neighborhoods and has no place in our clean energy future,” said Kirstie Pecci, Interim Director of CLF’s Environmental Justice program. “Massachusetts residents deserve clean air and a livable future. The Commonwealth should not subsidize power plants or incinerators that will harm communities already bearing the brunt of local pollution and climate impacts.”

However, this change is another blow to Palmer Renewable Energy’s proposed biomass facility in Springfield. Earlier this month, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) revoked its air permit for lack of timely construction.

CLF experts are available for further comment.