Late last month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law H. 5060, An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, with ambitious fossil fuel restrictions and broad incentives for clean energy. The law provides incentives for offshore wind and solar, provides rebates for electric cars and EV chargers, requires all new public transit vehicles to be zero-emission by 2030, ends the sale of gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2035, and allows ten municipalities to ban fossil fuel heat in new buildings.
Several municipalities had enacted bylaws for fossil fuel bans but had been blocked from implementation by the Massachusetts Attorney General. Towns participating in the fossil fuel heat pilot will have to certify that at least 10% of their housing qualifies as affordable and will have to compile data that tracks how eliminating fossil fuels affects monthly energy bills and building emissions.
In addition, the law allows agricultural land to be used to site solar panels and directs a study on the deployment of sites for both solar and agriculture uses. It also requires large buildings to report their annual energy usage and requires an assessment of the state’s K-12 schools with an eye toward future energy efficiency and improved air quality.
Last year, the state had enacted a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 law that provided a foundation for this new measure, with this current law providing more specific direction on actions to take.