The State of Massachusetts (MA) in the US is a proven leader in setting effective public policy to drive green energy. Using a two-pronged approach of focusing on both energy efficiency and renewable energy, MA has reduced overall energy use, reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and created green jobs in the private sector.
The green energy public policy Success Story of MA is described below. MA’s road to success has not been completely smooth; we will give a brief overview of the strategies, benefits, as well as the obstacles and Lessons Learned, in implementing an ambitious green energy public policy in MA.
Benefits: Decreased electric demand results in avoided costs for utilities since there is no need to build larger power plants and upgraded power lines; therefore, electric rates are not increased. Air quality and GHG emissions are improved.
Lessons Learned: It took several attempts to develop a public policy to bring in profit-driven private utilities as an effective partner in reducing electric demand. In the past, MA had a policy of rebates. The problem with rebates is that the consumer pays a high initial cost first, and then receives a rebate later. The new policy of subsidizing the dealer has eliminated the barrier of high initial cost—consumers are motivated to pay the upfront lower cost of efficient equipment.
Success Story: In 2019, for the ninth year in a row, the State of MA was declared the most energy efficient state in the US by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
Benefits: Homeowners and businesses with PV have predictable long-term electric rates. GHG and other polluting emissions are decreased.
Lessons Learned: For net metering, interconnection approvals by utilities are necessary to provide grid stability. The approval process is streamlined by allowing only experienced PV installation contractors to interact with the utility.
Success Story: To date, MA has 2,600 MW of PV and 110 MW of wind power.
Electric Vehicles (EV):
Benefits: No on-going fueling costs for EV drivers. GHG and other polluting emissions are decreased since gasoline is not being burned.
Lessons Learned: To achieve benefits, EVs must be charged by renewable energy. Planning for state-wide charging stations and EV dealerships must occur simultaneously.
Success Story: MA has over 18,000 EVs on the road; MA population is 6.9 m.
2. Support green technology “incubators” for start-up clean technology companies. Connect companies with private investors.
Benefits: Diversified economy and increased employment.
Lessons Learned: Several green energy start-ups which were supported by the State of MA went bankrupt. Strict due diligence and accountability is required so government funds are not wasted on ventures in the private sector.
Success Story: Aggressive public policy has diversified the economy and helped create demand for green energy products and services. MA has over 120,000 jobs statewide in renewables, clean vehicles manufacturing, and energy efficiency. Private companies which produce state-of-the art clean energy technology partner with local universities for R&D.
Note: In MA, power generation and transmission & distribution systems are owned by private businesses. This paper focuses on strategies which could directly be applied in Kuwait. Not discussed are the complex financial incentives and governance of utilities in MA.
Further reading on energy programs in MA:
Regional GHG Initiative https://www.rggi.org/
Renewable Energy https://www.mass.gov/renewable-energy-portfolio-standard
Energy efficiency https://www.masssave.com/
Example of how building owners can quickly assess their buildings for PV potential: https://mapdwell.com/en/solar/cambridge