By Mary C. Serreze
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It’s been a busy year for clean energy in the state and region, and the months ahead promise yet more challenges and opportunities.
A new solar incentive program will go into effect in 2018, providing tariff-based payments instead of production credits. Utilities will firm up contracts to procure massive amounts of clean energy from offshore wind, Canadian hydro and other sources. Greater commitments to reducing emissions from the transportation sector are expected, and innovative pilot programs are helping homes and businesses transform their energy profiles.
In 2017, Massachusetts saw major solar gains, with more than 10,000 projects installed, representing around 480 megawatts of new capacity. The clean energy sector contributed $11.4 billion to the state’s economy, providing jobs for more than 109,000 people at 6,900 establishments, according to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Statewide job growth in the clean energy sector has jumped 80 percent since 2010.
The 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act requires that all sectors of the Massachusetts economy reduce emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. In 2016, the state lost a landmark lawsuit filed by climate activists, and the state’s highest court ordered the Department of Environmental Protection to implement the law.