March 27. By Arnie Epstein. Third time’s the charm! After going back and forth between the Governor and the legislature, the state’s landmark climate bill (S.9) has finally been enacted into law. The final bill sets the state firmly on a course to net-zero emissions by 2050 and includes a number of key provisions.
- Emissions limits set every five years with a reduction of at least 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2040.
- Increases offshore wind by 2,400 megawatts.
- Codifies environmental justice, EJ, population and requires EJ participation and impact report for projects.
- Provisions to increase access to solar for low-income households.
- Creation of a Net Zero energy stretch code.
- Requires municipal light plants to achieve net zero by 2050.
While accepting a number of the Governor’s proposed amendments, the legislature did not budge on the key difference with the administration – the emissions reduction limit for 2030. The final bill sets a 50% emissions limit for 2030 rather than 45% as proposed by the administration. It is hoped there will be federal support under the new administration to achieve this target.
This bill sets the stage for a decade of change and the next few years are crucial. ECA is carefully reviewing the bills filed for the new legislative session to determine those that will have the most impact in achieving the goal.