Massachusetts Lawmakers Propose Goal of 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2050

Rooftop solar panels in Woburn, Mass.

Rooftop solar panels in Woburn, Mass. Cummings Properties/Flickr

Massachusetts legislators have proposed a bill that would require the state to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Known as the 100 Percent Renewable Energy Act, the bill already has 53 co-sponsors and bipartisan support from more than a quarter of state lawmakers.

“With officials in Washington, D.C. threatening to roll back clean energy and climate policies, it’s time for states to step up,” said Ben Hellerstein, state director of Environment Massachusetts, a green group helping to push the bill’s passage.

The legislation calls for the transition to happen in two stages: Massachusetts must get all of its electricity from renewables such as wind and solar by 2035. It then must eliminate the use of fossil fuels for heating, transportation, and other sectors by 2050. It would also set aside funds for job training and education for Massachusetts residents interested in working in the clean energy industry.

If passed, the legislation would bolster Massachusetts’ existing policies to fight climate change. In 2008, the state committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 through its Global Warming Solutions Act. Massachusetts is also a member of the United States’ first cap-and-trade program, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).