Special Information & Resource Update:

Climate Bill Advances in Legislature

Summary of H.5060, An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind

A legislative conference committee reconciling differences between House and Senate versions of major climate legislation has released its compromise bill, H. 5060, An Act driving clean energy and offshore wind. This conference legislation will return to both the House and Senate for approval before advancing to the Governor for his signature or veto; the conference language is subject only to an up-or-down vote by both chambers, and cannot be further amended by either.

Click here to access the complete text of the legislation.

Key components of the legislation include:

Clean Energy Investment Fund

Establishes the Clean Energy Investment Fund to be administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC). The CEC shall make expenditures from the fund for the purpose of:

  • Advancing clean energy research and technology by assisting MA-based investors, entrepreneurs, and institutions involved in the clean energy industry
  • Deploying clean energy technologies to advance compliance with state greenhouse gas emissions limits
  • Providing clean energy industry-related workforce development and technical training programs for higher education and vocational schools
  • Developing a regional strategy for employment boards
  • Supporting infrastructure, including port and canal infrastructure development
  • Matching funds to secure federal funding to support the clean energy industry
  • Supporting research and development of the clean energy industry
  • Supporting long-term coexistence and sustainability of the fishing and clean energy industries

Massachusetts Offshore Wind Industry Investment Program

Establishes within the CEC a Massachusetts Offshore Wind Industry Investment Program to develop and expand offshore wind industry-related employment opportunities in MA and promote renewable energy-related economic development. Certified offshore wind companies are eligible for participation, which includes offshore wind tax incentive program and access to funds from the MA Offshore Wind Industry Investment Trust Fund.

  • Lays out a process for certifying offshore wind companies
  • Establishes the offshore wind tax incentive program, including incentives that do not exceed $35,000,000 annually
  • Includes refundable jobs credit in connection with the offshore wind tax incentive program. A taxpayer taking credit under this subsection shall commit to the creation of a minimum of 50 net new permanent full-time employees in the Commonwealth

Updates to Section 83C Offshore Wind Procurements

  • Price Cap: Updates the “price cap” language where:
  • Solicitations are deemed competitive if there are 3 or more bids from different companies, whether the levelized price per MW house, plus associated costs, of the project is equal to or less than the levelized price per MWh of the previous procurement;
  • If the process yields 2 more less bids the DPU shall deem the process competitive if the levelized price per MWh is equal to or less than the levelized price per MWh of the previous procurement;
  • If 2 or fewer bids are received and the levelized price per MWh is higher than the previous procurement the DPU shall deem the process competitive if it determines that the price per MWh would be equal to or lower than the levelized price of the previous procurement after any adjustments made for inflation and for direct and reasonably certain commitments made to capital investments in the manufacture, fabrication and assembly within the domestic supply chain components.
  • Proposals received are subject to review by DOER and EOHED in consultation with the independent evaluator and the EDCs.
  • As part of the evaluation process, DOER will produce a numeric score for each bid’s economic development commitments and plans for financial and technical assistance to support wildlife and habitat monitoring
  • DOER may condition the determination of any winning bid upon a bidder’s inclusion of regional or project-specific transmission costs, or the bidder’s agreement to utilize transmission procured in a separate solicitation

Offshore Wind Transmission Procurements

Allows the DOER to issue procurements for offshore wind energy transmission; allows offshore wind developers to submit proposals, and transmission service procured under this section shall be made available for use by more than 1 wind energy generation project. DOER shall take into consideration the total amount of transmission needed to maintain reliability and avoid unnecessary upgrade costs. 

Fossil Fuel Prohibition Pilot

Requires DOER to establish a pilot project where towns may adopt zoning ordinances or bylaws that restrict or prohibit new building construction or major renovations that are not fossil-free. Research laboratories and medical offices regulated by DPH as a health care facility are exempt from this requirement. DOER shall not approve more than 10 applications for participation in this demonstration program. Any city or town applying must have received local approval and submitted a home rule petition to the legislature. Also requires any participating city or town to have met the 10 percent housing affordability threshold set under Chapter 40B or has approved a least 1 district in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right.

Other Provisions

  • Removes biomass as an RPS-eligible resource.
  • Establishes an Electric Vehicle Adoption Incentive Trust Fund
  • Requires DPU to conduct a working group to develop recommendations for regulatory and legislative changes to align gas system enhancement plans with applicable greenhouse gas limits and MA’s emissions strategies.
  • Requires each EDC to develop and electric-sector modernization plan to upgrade the distribution and, where applicable, transmission systems. Establishes a Grid Modernization Advisory Council to review and provide recommendations on the electric-sector modernization plans to maximize net customer benefits and demonstrate cost-effective investments to the distribution grid.
  • Requires DOER to promulgate regulations to include solar incentive programs and additional incentives for pollinator-friendly solar installations
  • Requires MBTA to purchase zero-emissions vehicles after December 31, 2030.
  • Creates a commission to investigate and make recommendations to remove barriers to further development of agrivoltaic projects.
  • Establishes a Clean Energy Transmission Working Group to provide a comprehensive cost analysis of major transmission infrastructure upgrades that may be needed to deliver clean energy generation procured. 
  • Requires EDCs to filed with the DPU by October 2023 at least 1 electric rate tariff which addresses operational parameters, and apply to energy storage systems interconnected to their distribution network.
  • Requires DESE to develop a pilot program for the purpose of helping students acquire academic and technical skills to prepare them for high-demand jobs in the Commonwealth in the offshore wind industry. Includes a reimbursement for school districts.
  • Requires MBTA to provide each regional transit authority assistance with creating an electric bus rollout plan.
  • Creates a Commercial Fisheries Commission to develop and recommend strategies, methods and tools to promote sustainability of the Commonwealth’s fishing industry.
  • Requires DOER and CEC to study how to optimize cost-effective deployment and utilization of new and existing mid-duration and long-duration energy storage. If the study demonstrates a benefit to the Commonwealth, DOER is directed to issue a storage procurement.
  • Establishes an Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Deployment Plan, and establishes a Charging Infrastructure Deployment Fund.
  • Permits DOER to coordinate with one or more New England states undertaking competitive solicitations to consider projects for clean energy generation, transmission or capacity. 
  • Requires the Massachusetts School Building Authority to conduct an assessment of elementary and secondary school buildings relative to energy efficiency, building conditions, safety and public health. Following the assessment the Authority shall issue a report on methods, best practices and standards.
  • Requires EOEEA, DOER and DPU to investigate advantages and disadvantages of using or participating in regional competitive market-based mechanisms, structures, systems or competitive solicitations to facilitate the development of clean energy generation resources. 
  • Requires DESE to analyze the number of fossil-free and zero-emission school buses used in the Commonwealth, and the costs associated with replacement of said buses.
  • Updates the Board of the CEC to include 15 members, including the Secretary of EOEEA, Secretary of EOHED, Secretary of A&F, Secretary of EOLWD, the President of UMass, the Executive Director of the MA Workforce Alliance, the Commissioner of DOER, 2 members appointed by the Speaker of the House, 2 appointed by the Senate President, 4 appointed by the Governor (1 a venture capitalist or CEO of a MA-based clean energy corporation; 1 a President of a MA community college; 2 presidents of MA private colleges or universities).

Click here to access the complete text of H. 5060, An Act driving clean energy and offshore wind.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.
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