Cover image of Green Ribbon Commission report

New Reports Offer Primer for Clean Energy Future

Amy Longsworth, director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, introduces a new series of reports to inform critical debates about the path to a cleaner, more reliable, more affordable energy future for our region.

Like other leading cities and states committed to addressing climate change, Boston and Massachusetts have pledged to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. We know that, to reach that ambitious goal, future energy needs must be met almost entirely by clean, renewable sources—hydro, wind, and solar—not fossil fuels. But what is the path to get there? And what is our starting point?

To help understand and address these questions, on September 14, the Boston Green Ribbon Commission released four new reports providing a detailed look at how our region generates, transmits, purchases, and uses (and tries to use less) energy. The reports, authors, and topics are:

  1. New England Overview: A Guide to Large-Scale Energy Infrastructure Issues in 2015, by Raab Associates and Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., outlines how regional electricity and natural gas infrastructure decisions are made and examines the current proposals to expand electricity transmission lines and natural gas pipelines into New England.

  2. A Guide to Electricity Markets, Systems, and Policy in Massachusetts, by the Conservation Law Foundation, explains the basics of the electricity marketplace, including what a utility does, how pricing works, what Renewable Portfolio Standard means, the role of the ISO-NE, and the interplay between electricity and natural gas on energy prices and on carbon emissions.

  3. An Introduction to Institutional Renewable Energy Procurement Options in Massachusetts, by Meister Consultants Group, addresses the conundrum that, although the price of renewable energy has dropped, the cost of completing a transaction for wind or solar energy remains high, and offers strategies to guide institutional purchasers.

  4. Public Sector Climate Sector Leadership in Boston, by Meister Consultants Group, discusses the important role the public sector is playing in achieving Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, highlighting four public-agency projects in Boston that are pursuing energy innovation on a portfolio-wide basis.

The Boston Green Ribbon Commission is a group of public- and private-sector leaders that helps the City of Boston implement its Climate Action Plan. The Barr Foundation has supported the Commission since its inception in 2010, and contributed to these reports as part of its Climate program and efforts to advance clean energy in the region.

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