Baker Establishes First-in-the-Nation Commission on Clean Heat
Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order establishing a commission on clean heat to advise the administration on strategies and policies to achieve emissions reductions from the use of heating fuels in the commonwealth. The commission, the first-of-its-kind in the U.S., will establish a framework for a long-term decline in emissions from heating fuels. It will also help the commonwealth meet the emissions reduction targets signed into law by Gov. Baker in March 2021.
The commission will be chaired by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, or a designee appointed by the secretary, and shall include up to 22 additional members recommended by the secretary and appointed by the governor. The commission will reflect a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds from outside stakeholders, including representatives from the fields of affordable housing, energy efficient building design and construction, healthcare, heating system design and technology, real estate, and heating fuel distribution.
Once appointed, the commission will meet regularly, advise the governor on a framework for long-term greenhouse gas emission reductions from heating fuels, and provide policy recommendations to help the commonwealth meet the requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act. In March 2021, Baker signed nation-leading climate legislation that commits the commonwealth to reducing emissions below 1990 levels by 50% by 2030, 75% by 2040, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The commission will develop policy recommendations to accelerate the deployment of energy efficiency programs and clean heating systems in new and existing buildings and transition existing distribution systems to clean energy. The commission’s focus will include financing mechanisms, incentives, and other regulatory options including a framework for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from heating fuels.
The commission will also provide Baker with a set of policy recommendations by Nov. 30, 2022, that will sustainably reduce the use of heating fuels and minimize emissions from the building sector while ensuring costs and opportunities arising from such reductions are distributed equitably.
In alignment with Climate Week, the administration also highlighted the demand for funding to support climate resiliency in Mass. The Administration’s plan would commit $900 million to key energy and environmental initiatives, including $400 million to modernize critical water infrastructure and $300 million to support local climate resilience projects.