Assistant Secretary for Policy, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Building the clean energy sector means all kinds of new jobs, from R&D scientists, to electricians, to plumbers, to managers, to manufacturing positions. With over 50 percent of homes in the Berkshires more than 50 years old, homeowners are ripe for weatherization that can cut their energy use, save them money and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). Pittsfield is about to install one of the largest solar photovoltaic arrays in New England at its wastewater treatment facility and was just crowned a Green Community by the MA Department of Energy Resources (see DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice’s 5/25/10 entry below). Students at UMass/Amherst are an untapped resource in the fight against climate change and are poised to be at the forefront of teaching others that clean energy means jobs and environmental sustainability.
These are just a few of the comments that we heard at the first of eight public hearings on implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act. Signed by Governor Patrick in 2008, the nation-leading law is designed to address climate change while seizing economic opportunities in clean energy. A team from EEA and MassDEP went to the Berkshire Athenaeum (the public library) in Pittsfield to gather input to help Secretary Ian Bowles make two important decisions by the end of the year: to set a 2020 GHG reduction target (between 10% and 25%); and to create an implementation plan to reach that target, and hit the 80% GHG reduction target below 1990 levels by 2050.
The input from this hearing and the seven others will be reviewed by teams in state agencies, and also by EEA’s Climate Protection and Green Economy Advisory Committee- a board of experts from business, academia, NGOs, and local and regional governments.
In 2008, Governor Patrick said in a speech before the Boston Chamber of Commerce, “Massachusetts has what it takes to lead a clean energy economy — because in the age of clean power, power will be not from fossil fuels, but from technology, innovation and skill. Those are resources we have in abundance – here in Massachusetts and they are infinitely renewable.” It is clear from this first hearing that ideas and creativity and innovation are abundant in Massachusetts, and we are looking forward to tapping into this resource during the remainder of the hearings and from written comments as well.