Brookline Green Electricity (BGE) is committed to supporting the growth of new renewable energy resources in our region. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has policies that require everyone to use more renewable energy over time, however, the pace of change needs to be faster to mitigate the effects of climate change. Brookline Green Electricity is leveraging the buying power of our community to bring more clean electricity to our residents and businesses.
Brookline’s standard option, Brookline Green, has 30% extra renewable energy, above and beyond state requirements.
Participating in Brookline Green makes you a climate leader. We also offer electricity options that add 65% and 100% renewable energy to let you take an even bigger step in the fight against climate change.
All of the extra renewable electricity in the BGE program qualifies as MA Class I, and is provided through the local non-profit, Green Energy Consumers Alliance. Purchasing through Green Energy Consumers Alliance provides two important benefits for our renewable energy.
From New England
MA Class I renewable energy can come from New England or adjacent parts of Canada and New York. BGE sources its extra renewable energy exclusively from within New England. We’re helping to keep our energy impact local, supporting New England’s clean energy economy.
Zero-Emission or Methane-Destroying Sources
BGE’s extra renewable electricity only comes from zero-emission sources, such as solar, wind, low-impact hydropower1, and sources that destroy methane, such as anaerobic digestion. Methane has a global warming potential (GWP) 28-36 times greater than CO2 over a 100 year period2. Combustion destroys methane and releases some CO2, resulting in a net reduction in GWP. Other forms of biomass are explicitly not purchased, due to their positive emissions of CO2 during their life cycles.
Helping to Build Clean Energy
Massachusetts requires all energy suppliers to include a minimum amount of MA Class I renewable energy that increases annually. If the supplier does not meet these requirements, the supplier is required to pay a penalty. This policy, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), provides growing demand for renewable energy which incentivizes new renewable generation facilities to be built. By purchasing a significant quantity of extra MA Class I renewable energy, Brookline is incentivizing even more renewable energy generation development in New England.
How big is our impact?
In 2020, Brookline Green Electricity bought 40,618 MWh of extra MA Class I renewable energy, above and beyond state requirements. These voluntary purchases are equivalent to the annual production of nine typical wind turbines (1.5 MW each).
Many other cities and towns are joining with Brookline to implement the same type of electricity aggregation program, amplifying the impact on the renewable electricity market. In fact, recent estimates suggest that fully 10% of the entire MA Class I markets will soon be voluntarily purchased by municipal aggregations like BGE, going above and beyond state requirements.
Community Shared Solar (CSS)
There has been a lot of interest in the community in the shared solar projects that are being marketed around Brookline and in Massachusetts in general. We’ve put together a flyer explaining the nuances of the interaction between Community Shared Solar programs and Brookline Green Electricity.
CSS, in most instances, is approved under the Massachusetts’ SMART program, which provides incentives for solar development in the State. As of November 21, 2020, the state of Massachusetts reports that the following companies have a Community Shared Solar or Low-Income Community Shared Solar project in operation under the SMART program. Updates and additional detail can be found at www.mass.gov/doc/smart-solar-tariff-generation-units.
Aquantum Solutions, BlueWave, Citizens Energy Corporation, Clearway Energy Group, Consolidated Edison Development, Ecogy MA, Fitchburg Renewables, Green Earth Energy PhotoVoltaic Corporation, Helio Energy, Independence Solar, Key Solar, Lodestar Energy, Madison Energy Investments, MassAmerican Energy, My Generation Energy, Nexamp, NextGrid, Resonant Energy, SunRaise Investments, Sunwealth, Syncarpha, Team Solar, Wales Solar
This partial list was extracted from the worksheet compiled by the SMART program.
1Hydro projects that do not exceed 30 MW built after 1997, or have capacity additions or efficiency improvements made after 1997 (MA Class I eligible), and Low-Impact Hydro Institute (LIHI) certified.
2Environmental Protection Agency. Understanding Global Warming Potentials. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials