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Boston aims high with renewable energy

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City Council

This week the Council voted to adopt a resolution in support of an Act for Utility Transition to Using Renewable Energy (FUTURE Act), which would improve coordination for gas leak repair, and allow individuals and municipalities to claim property damage from gas leaks, including trees.

Gas leaks contain 95% methane, a greenhouse gas that is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. In December 2016, the City Council passed “An Ordinance Regarding the Elimination of Gas Leaks in the City of Boston” to safely repair gas leaks. The ordinance was never implemented because the National Grid sued to block it as preempted by State regulations, and most of the provisions in the ordinance are included in the Future Act.

The Future Act will incentivize our utilities to transition away from using fossil fuel as an energy source to clean, renewable thermal energy sources including solar and geothermal.

The Council also voted to adopt a resolution in support of a state bill that would allow all independent public retirement systems subject to oversight by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) to divest their holdings in full or in part from the fossil fuel industry.

Several communities throughout Massachusetts, including Brookline, Cambridge, Newton and others, have passed resolutions in support of fossil fuel divestment.

Boston has a proud history of divestment and the Council has held hearings to investigate the City’s holdings in reference to fossil fuels.