Massachusetts will consider certain biogas from anaerobic digesters and landfill gas facilities to be eligible for the state’s peak energy incentive program now that Gov. Charlie Baker has signed H 5060, a major climate bill meant to reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Starting in 2023, certain AD facilities will be able to claim energy credits under the state Clean Peak Standard program, which provides incentives for “clean energy technologies,” such as wind or solar, that can supply electricity or reduce demand during peak periods.
The new law only covers certain existing AD and landfill gas facilities operational prior to Nov. 7, 2018, as part of the program, but groups such as the National Waste & Recycling Association and Vanguard Renewables say the inclusion still helps benefit operations in the state. Vanguard is based in Massachusetts and is the state’s largest digester operator.
John Hanselman, chief strategy officer for Vanguard, said the bill helps recognize anaerobic digesters as an important source of renewable electricity. “We are pleased to see that anaerobic digesters will be eligible to participate in the Clean Peak Standard program, and look forward to working with the Department of Energy Resources on implementation,” he said in an emailed statement.
Vanguard said it is still reviewing the bill’s final details and had no further comment on specific implications for the company.
The bill underwent numerous changes before Baker signed it Aug. 11. NWRA’s Massachusetts chapter fought to keep AD components in the bill, said Lew Dubuque, vice president of chapter management, in a news release.
Massachusetts’ long-term climate plan requirements call for reducing carbon emissions by at least 33% by 2025 compared with 1990 levels, and at least 50% by 2030. Lawmakers and activists see reducing fossil fuel use and promoting renewable energy as a key way to meet the requirements.
The major climate bill also includes provisions removing new industrial-scale biomass plants from the state’s definition of renewable energy, requiring new vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles starting in 2035, beefing up offshore wind capabilities and allowing certain municipalities to ban fossil fuel infrastructure in new construction projects.