Businesses want stronger clean energy mandates

Corporations call on state to raise the renewable portfolio standard

FOR CENTURIES, MASSACHUSETTS has been a national hub for innovation. With cutting edge academic institutions, a superb health care sector, and a thriving real estate market, the commonwealth is an excellent place to do business.

Massachusetts is also home to a rapidly growing clean energy sector, which has allowed commercial real estate service providers like JLL to access renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions for our business and our clients.

As many companies across Massachusetts are embracing renewable energy as a business decision, it is essential that the state keep pace by strengthening policies that enhance access to clean energy.  The Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard lays the foundation for clean energy investments by requiring utility companies to provide a minimum percentage of their electricity sales from renewable sources—ensuring the commonwealth invests in cost-effective, competitive, and local energy. That’s why we are calling on lawmakers to increase the commonwealth’s portfolio standard.

We’re not alone. New Balance, Legal Sea Foods, Worthen Industries, IKEA and others joined us in supporting strong clean energy standards in Massachusetts.

A recent report from Ceres finds a growing number of companies in Massachusetts, both large and small, are seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in renewable energy. This is not only because protecting our environment is the right thing to do, but because our clients expect it of us and it makes economic sense. Clean energy helps businesses cut energy costs, reduce their exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices, and stay competitive.

As a global real estate company, we are always looking for ways to keep our business competitive and cut costs. With the built sector consuming nearly half of all energy produced in the US, efficient and cost-effective energy solutions are always an area of interest. A recent report from the Synapse and the Northeast Clean Energy Council found that strengthening the renewable portfolio standard will allow more businesses like ours to fully realize the benefits of clean energy, while lowering wholesale electricity prices through a more diverse energy supply.

Since its founding more than 250 years ago, JLL has helped its clients maximize the value of their commercial real estate holdings. Needless to say, energy is a significant part of those costs. Ensuring that our clients have access to renewable energy has allowed them to meet their own energy goals, saved them money, and cut carbon emissions.

As more businesses seek to realize the “bottom-line” benefits of clean energy, Massachusetts should double down on its commitment to supportive policies. Not only do today’s top professionals want to work for businesses that that are committed to clean air and water, but companies want to invest in cities and states that align with their own programs and commitments.

Meet the Author
For the benefit of our environment, businesses, and future, we encourage policymakers to support an increase in the state’s renewable portfolio standard and other clean energy policies that will ensure the Commonwealth remains at the forefront of economic prosperity.

Cynthia Curtis is Senior Vice President of Sustainability at JLL, a commercial real estate company and a member of Ceres’ Policy Network, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP).

  • Mike Hachey

    There is absolutely no way mandating increases in the state’s RPS will lower wholesale electricity prices. If the price of renewables was lower than other market supply, no mandate would be necessary – the renewables would simply compete on price alone. They can’t. Massachusetts already has the 2nd highest residential and industrial electric rates in the contiguous 48 states, and unrelenting mandates from the legislature and governor are key reasons. These electric cost increases contribute to raising health care costs, local taxes, and food costs. Most important, they drive manufacturers out of the state, along with the employment these manufacturers provide.

  • NortheasternEE

    The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for 20% renewable by 2020 has failed and will never reach its goal. In the meantime rates have increased by more that 20% and are headed higher. Notice that the companies cited in support of doubling down by doubling the RPS are retailers who benefit by importing cost competitive products from abroad. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) made up mostly of local industrial and manufacturing companies is cautious about increasing mandates for renewable energy:

    ““The 4,000 member employers of Associated Industries of Massachusetts are extremely disappointed with the Baker administration’s new electricity sector regulations. The administration openly admits that these rules will increase Massachusetts electric rates that are already among the highest in the nation.
    “The increases produced by the proposed rules, when combined with other pending cost increases, could raise the electric bills of Massachusetts employers some 10 percent in the next year alone.”

    Pushing for doubling the RPS may benefit JLL’s clients, but raising rates will hurt industry and manufacturing for a net job loss.

    The lesson from the ten year old RPS mandate is that it is premature. We should be cutting the RPS in half, not the doubling advocated in this piece.