March Policy Tracker: The Puzzle Pieces to Decarbonize our Economy

We have figured out the puzzle pieces that need to come together to decarbonize our economy and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Renewable energy + deep energy efficiency + strategic electrification = the pathways to zero carbon.

By integrating energy efficiency, renewable energy, and strategic electrification, states can achieve carbon reduction goals across sectors by powering end-uses with electricity instead of fossil fuels in a way that increases efficiency and reduces pollution, while minimizing costs to customers and society. Acknowledging this pathway, states are introducing an increased wave of legislation that will put the puzzle together.

The table below highlights just some of the introduced bills across the region that relate to this decarbonization pathway. They range from carbon pricing to powering all sectors of the economy with renewable energy. All of these bills highlight the leadership of states in the Northeast and their commitment to aggressive energy goals to facilitate climate stabilization.

Massachusetts bill H2836 mandates that the entire economy - including heating and cooling, transportation, and agriculture   are powered with renewable energy resources by 2045. For the building sector, this means transitioning from fossil fuel space and water heating to renewable thermal technologies. The bill also requires electricity to be powered with 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. This will improve emissions efficiency as we electrify end-uses. In making this transition, it is important to ensure we are strategically planning and using buildings as grid assets to maximize current utility infrastructure capacity. Equally important, is ensuring this transition is equitable and accessible to all communities.

There are three bills in Massachusetts directly related to building electrification that support the transition to a zero carbon economy. Collectively, these bills will set targets for heat pump deployment, establish a training program to increase market awareness and workforce development for building electrification, and promote the adoption of renewable energy for heating, cooling and hot water under the zoning law. This puts the strategies in place for achieving Massachusetts’ overall goal of 100 percent renewable by 2045.

In addition to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New York, Maryland, and Vermont also have carbon pricing bills in the legislature this session. Carbon pricing is one mechanism that can be used to incentivize the transition away from fossil fuels. In addition to putting a price on carbon, a Vermont bill is looking to prohibit future fossil fuel infrastructure. It is clear that this legislative session has a lot in store and we will start to see the puzzle pieces come together has these bills make their way through the legislative process. To keep up to date on these bills and a whole lot more, keep tabs on our policy tracker, which provides updates and a regional look at policies related to decarbonization and energy efficiency.




Issue Area

Bill Title




Carbon pricing

An Act Establishing A Carbon Price For Fossil Fuels Sold In Connecticut.

Amends the general statute to create a carbon pricing structure in conjunction with other New England and Mid-Atlantic states



Building codes

An Act Adding Requirements For Electric Vehicle Charging Parking Spaces To The State Building Code.

To update the State Building Code to require new construction and buildings undergoing substantial rehabilitation of parking areas or electrical systems to have electric vehicle ready parking spaces and electric vehicle capable parking spaces.




An Act Concerning The C&LM Plan And The Installation Of Heat Pumps.

To add installation of heat pumps to the programs included in the Conservation and Load Management Plan.



Carbon pricing

An Act to Price Carbon Pollution in Maine

The tax is collected on a monthly basis by the commission from fuel distributors. $5 per metric ton of carbon content during fiscal year 2020-21 and increases by $5 per metric ton each fiscal year until it reaches $40 per metric ton


H2930 / S1803


Sparking the modernization of state heat systems

Creates a MassCEC Heat Pump market development program to fund and offer training programs to expand markets for space and water heat pump technology. Also requires full decoupling in base rate proceedings for electric and gas companies



100 percent renewable

Re-powering Massachusetts with 100 percent renewable energy

100% of MA energy needs met with renewable energy by 2045, including the energy consumed for electricity, heating and cooling, transportation, agricultural uses, industrial uses, and all other uses. 100% renewable electricity by 2035.



Carbon Pricing

Relative to Carbon Pricing

Sets a price on carbon to be collected on a quarterly basis at the first point of sale within MA for all fossil fuels. Utilities will pay on a quarterly basis based on the weighted average of the natural gas, coal, and oil portions of the fuels used to generate the electricity. The carbon price rate will be $15 per metric ton from January 2020 through June 2021, and increase by $10 every fiscal year.




An Act to Encourage the Deployment of Heat Pumps

Requires DOER to publish statewide data on heat pump utilization and adopt targets to be achieved by Dec 2030 for statewide increases in the use of heat pump technology




Establishing a study of energy efficient options for low income households

Commissions a yearlong study on existing incentives for low-income and renters to reduce energy consumption and GHG. Following the study, a pilot of at least 150 low income households and renters in at least 3 gateway communities will retrofit existing single-family and multi-family housing to be net zero energy buildings




Promoting the adoption of renewable energy for heating, cooling and hot water

Relative to promoting the adoption of renewable energy for heating, cooling and hot water under the zoning law.



Carbon pricing

Healthy Climate Initiative

Establishing a Healthy Climate Initiative to administer GHG pollution charges on all fossil fuels and other GHG emitting priorities. The fee starts at $20 in 2019 and increases by $5 each year until net emissions from fossil fuels and other GHG emitting priorities are zero. The bill requires the state to achieve 25% GHG reduction by 2020 from 2006 levels and 90% by 2050.



Carbon pricing

AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to establishing a tax on carbon-based fuels to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions causing
anthropogenic climate change

Establishes a carbon tax on the distribution or sale of carbon-based fuels of at least $35 per ton of CO2e annually to a maximum of $185 per ton.  Establishes a CO2 emissions fund and states that the funds cannot be used for gov't operations of the state. 60% of all charge proceeds will be returned to very low to moderate income residents and the remaining 40%  will support the transition to 100 percent clean energy in the state, climate adaptation, and mass transit


HB193/ SB232

Utility restructuring

An Act amending Title 66 of the PA Consolidated Statutes, further providing for energy efficiency and conservation program.

Removes the cap on utility energy efficiency investment, realign utilities' incentives to encourage energy efficiency investment, and support energy efficiency measures with comprehensive benefits.




An Act Relating to State Affairs and Government- RI Global Warming Solutions Act

Establishes the RI global warming solutions act to reduce carbon emissions across sectors of the economy. 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, 45% by 2035 and 80% by 2050. Requires a regularly updated beneficial electrification plan.




An act relating to a zero-waste economy

This bill proposes to create a study committee that shall issue an RFP to develop a plan for Vermont to transition to a zero-waste economy including: preventing waste from being generated, sustainable materials management, reducing energy consumption, GHG, and other environ impacts



Fossil Fuels

An act relating to fossil fuel infrastructure

Prohibits new fossil fuel infrastructure. The prohibition would not apply to gas stations, fuel trucks or repairs to existing pipelines. The purpose is to help the state reach its GHG reduction goals and encourage more ccASHP or renewable sources of energy


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