The Clean the Grid agenda is part of the newly launched, two-year 350 Mass campaign, Bringing the Green New Deal Home. There are three parts to the campaign – Housing, Transportation, and Electric Power. We know that in order to meet carbon emission reductions sufficient to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, we will need to replace existing fossil fuel energy generation with non-emitting generation for all needs. This will require at least doubling current renewable capacity. With this in mind, members of the Clean the Grid working group have decided to narrow our goals, with a focus on solar energy. We have two missions: the first will be increasing the use of solar power in Massachusetts – especially for residences and community or municipal micro-grids; the second will be to do research and advocacy work to reform ISO-NE so that the governance structure is responsive to the climate values of community/environmental groups and state governments.
Major utilities like Eversource and National Grid do not like to have large numbers of people join the electric power grid by installing solar panels on their roofs. They also oppose the creation of community or municipal micro-grids with a linked group of solar panels. Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities allows utilities to discourage solar panels on roofs and the creation of micro-grids by charging heavy fees for people to install panels and hook-up to the grid.
The Clean the Grid Working Group will lobby legislators, pressure government bureaucrats and utilities, and inform the public about this problem. We believe in fighting climate change with a decentralized electric power grid using as many solar arrays as possible.
ISO New England manages the entire New England electric power grid. It is heavily influenced by the companies that produce electric power and the utilities that transmit that power. As a result, ISO-NE prioritizes acquiring fossil fuel energy at stable prices. Mitigating climate change and environmental impact for frontline communities is not a part of their mission. Frustration with ISO-NE has prompted the five New England governors to demand that ISO revise its mission and governance structure.
There will be public hearings, webinars, and other events around the region in 2021 about how ISO should be changed. The 350 Mass Clean the Grid Working Group will facilitate participation by 350 members in the "Fix the Grid" pressure campaign being led by Community Action Works, the Sierra Club, and the Acadia Center.
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