what is it not?
Community Empowerment is not:
Community Choice Aggregation or Municipal Aggregation
Community or Group Net-metering (e.g. “solar gardens”)
Municipal governments purchasing renewable energy
Municipal utilities or light departments
Green Energy choice (e.g. “GreenStart”)
All of these policies have various advantages, and Community Empowerment has similarities to each.
rationale and reasoning
We need more renewable energy projects to address climate change, energy security, and reliability
The main barriers to more projects are: financing; projects need long-term contracts with credit-worthy buyers; Federal and State level policies alone probably not sufficient to deliver; residents of MA are supportive of renewable energy, especially where there is a local benefit.
Given the above, we should also look to local initiative and capabilities as a basis for new policies to finance renewable energy projects.
Combined Heat-Power at town / school buildings or area neighborhoods
PV on town or school property combined with storage for emergency operations
Anaerobic digestion as part of local waste solution
Ensure wind projects really do benefit host communities
Projects that create local jobs
Additional back-up energy storage (i.e. batteries) for municipalities
advantages and features
Additional to, and compatible with, current clean energy policies
Builds on the Massachusetts' Green Communities Act and existing municipal aggregation law
Compatible with existing electricity markets
No national legislation necessary
New projects do not count towards net-metering caps (i.e. solar).
State legislation is enabling only
Can be deployed anywhere nationally, in any regulatory setting