Massachusetts Moves Toward Decarbonization

The state developed a framework for planning to phase out natural gas, denying industry calls to allow hydrogen and renewable natural gas.

1 minute read

December 12, 2023, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up of multiple lines of blue natural gas flames inside a boiler.

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities released a “framework for reducing the use of gas for heating as part of a larger strategy to address climate change.” According to an article by Dan Gearino in Inside Climate News, “Massachusetts is the first state to take such a clear step to phase out natural gas, but it likely won’t be the last.” Natural gas powers 51 percent of Massachusetts households, giving the change the potential to make a significant impact.

The ruling acknowledges the disproportionate impact that the cost of shifting away from natural gas will have on lower-income consumers and homeowners, but said only that the department will “monitor and reduce the energy cost burden.” Jenifer Bosco of the National Consumer Law Center told Inside Climate News, “Without a focus on affordability, low-income consumers could be left stranded on an increasingly unaffordable gas system, bearing more than their share of the cost to keep the system operating.” 

Energy companies have been lobbying to allow the use of other alternative fuels such as hydrogen and renewable natural gas. “The department rejected most of the utilities’ suggestions, with some of the only agreement coming on the idea that the companies should explore greater use of geothermal energy.”

Thursday, December 7, 2023 in Inside Climate News

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