Session Law

2014

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Chapter 251 AN ACT RELATIVE TO CREDIT FOR THERMAL ENERGY GENERATED WITH RENEWABLE FUELS

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Section 3 of chapter 25A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “State Agency” the following definition:-
     “Useful thermal energy”, energy in the form of direct heat, steam, hot water or other thermal form that is used in production and beneficial measures for heating, cooling, humidity control, process use or other valid thermal end use energy requirements and for which fuel or electricity would otherwise be consumed.
     SECTION 2.  Section 11F½ of said chapter 25A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsections (a) and (b) and inserting in place thereof the following 2 subsections:-
     (a)  The department shall establish an alternative energy portfolio standard for all retail electricity suppliers selling electricity to end-use customers in the commonwealth. Every retail electric supplier providing service under contracts executed or extended on or after January 1, 2009 shall provide a minimum percentage of kilowatt-hour sales, as determined by the department, to end-use customers in the commonwealth from alternative energy generating sources and the department shall annually thereafter determine the minimum percentage of kilowatt-hour sales to end-use customers in the commonwealth which shall be derived from alternative energy generating sources. For the purposes of this section, “alternative energy generating source” shall mean a source which generates energy using any of the following: (i) combined heat and power; (ii) flywheel energy storage; (iii) energy efficient steam technology; (iv) any facility that generates useful thermal energy using sunlight, biomass, biogas, liquid biofuel or naturally occurring temperature differences in ground, air or water, whereby 1 megawatt-hour of alternative energy credit shall be earned for every 3,412,000 British thermal units of net useful thermal energy produced and verified through an on-site utility grade meter or other means satisfactory to the department; provided, however, that facilities using biomass fuel shall be low emission, use efficient energy conversion technologies and fuel that is produced by means of sustainable forestry practices; or (v) any other alternative energy technology approved by the department under an administrative proceeding conducted under chapter 30A.  The following technologies and fuels shall not be considered alternative energy supplies: (A) coal; (B) petroleum coke; (C) oil; (D) natural gas, except when used in combined heat and power or as a biogas generating useful thermal energy; (E) construction and demolition debris including, but not limited to, chemically-treated wood and (F) nuclear power.
     (b)  The department, in consultation with the department of environmental protection, shall set: (i) emission performance standards that are protective of public health, including standards for eligible biomass, biogas and liquid biofuel technologies that limit eligibility only to best-in-class commercially-feasible technologies, inclusive of energy conversion and emissions controls, with regard to reducing emissions of particulate matter sized 2.5 microns or less and carbon monoxide and other air pollutants; (ii) for eligible biomass, biogas and liquid biofuel technologies, a requirement of 50 per cent reduction in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to a high efficiency unit utilizing the fuel that is being displaced or, for a new load, a high-efficiency natural gas unit, if natural gas is available at reasonable cost to the site or otherwise the fuel that is most likely to be utilized; (iii) for eligible biomass, biogas and liquid biofuel technologies, requirements for thermal storage or other means to minimize any significant deterioration of efficiency or emissions due to boiler cycling, if feasible; (iv) for eligible biomass, biogas and liquid biofuel technologies, fuel conversion efficiency performance standards achievable by best-in-class commercially-feasible technologies; and (v) in consultation with the department of conservation and recreation, for forest-derived biomass, requirements that fuel shall be provided by means of sustainable forestry practices; provided, however, that the department shall adopt any existing or new biomass fuel sustainability standards if deemed appropriate by the department after a public comment process.
     SECTION 3.  Said section 11F½ of said chapter 25A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following subsection:-
     (e)  Notwithstanding the determination that 1 alternative energy credit is to be earned per 3,412,000 British thermal units in subsection (a), the department may provide that for certain nonemitting renewable thermal technologies, an alternative energy credit shall be earned for less than 3,412,000 British thermal units of net useful thermal energy so as to stimulate the development of new on-site renewable thermal energy generating sources.
     SECTION 4.  Section 1A of chapter 164 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 196, the figure “2015” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 2016.
     SECTION 5.  Section 139 of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 68, the figure “3” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 4.
     SECTION 6.  Said section 139 of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 70, the figure “3” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 5.
     SECTION 7.  (a) There shall be a net metering task force established to review the long-term viability of net metering and develop recommendations on incentives and programs to support the deployment of 1600 MW of solar generation facilities in the commonwealth. The task force shall report on its findings and make recommendations to the general court to encourage the continued expansion of solar generation in the commonwealth.
     The task force shall consist of 17 members or their designees: 1 of whom shall be the chair of public utilities, who shall serve as co-chair; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of energy resources, who shall serve as co-chair; 1 of whom shall be the attorney general in the role of the commonwealth’s ratepayer advocate; 2 of whom shall be the co-chairs of the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the senate minority leader; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the house minority leader; 4 of whom shall be appointed by the governor from a list of persons submitted by the following organizations and associations, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the National Consumer Law Center and the New England Clean Energy Council; and 6 persons to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a representative from a solar energy business association serving members actively doing business across a broad cross-section of the commonwealth’s solar market, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a Massachusetts renewable energy business association encompassing multiple renewable portfolio standard eligible technologies, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a solar business primarily serving residential customers in urban areas, 1 of whom shall be a representative of large electric users and 2 of whom shall be representatives of Massachusetts investor owned utilities. A vacancy on the task force shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.   Members of the task force shall receive no compensation for their services.  The task force may request from all state agencies such information and assistance as the task force may require.
     (b)  The task force shall assess and report to the legislature on the costs and benefits of the existing net metering framework from the perspectives of the customer-generator, non-participating ratepayers and the citizens of the commonwealth at large.  The task force shall review incentive programs offered in other states, including standard offer, declining block incentives and competitive procurements and shall also include in its findings an analysis on the impact of a minimum bill, paid by all ratepayers in all rate classes, as a mechanism to support a reliable electric distribution system. The task force shall meet periodically and shall consult with additional electric distribution companies, consumer organizations, renewable energy businesses residing in the commonwealth and other interested parties as required and shall provide for at least 2 opportunities for public comment in different geographical areas of the commonwealth.
     (c)  The task force shall convene its first meeting on or before October 1, 2014 and shall submit its final report, along with any recommendations for legislative or regulatory reforms on or before March 31, 2015, with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward a copy of the report to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy.
     (d)  The task force shall be dissolved within 180 days after the submission of the final commission report pursuant to subsection (c).
     SECTION 8.  The department of public utilities, in consultation with the Bay State Hydropower Association, shall study the feasibility, impacts and benefits of allowing electric distribution company customers to net meter electricity generated by small hydroelectric facilities.  After completing its analysis, the department shall develop a report for net metering by such hydroelectric facilities or any subset thereof. The department shall submit a copy of its report and a draft of legislation to implement its recommendations not later than July 1, 2015, to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward a copy of the report to the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy.
     SECTION 9.  Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, shall take effect on January 1, 2015.

Approved, August 6, 2014.