Read NECEC's 2020 Annual Report
Last year, when we issued NECEC’s 2019 Annual Report, we wrote that 2020 would mark a new era of clean energy - one defined by growth, progress, and innovation. Today, we know that 2020 was in part a climate crisis milestone, and anything but a normal year.
It was a year defined by several global crises: The COVID-19 pandemic upended every part of our lives, the ensuing economic crisis transformed how we work and do business, and our nation’s reckoning with racial injustice is changing, for the better, how we value and attend to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our world.
But, despite all of these challenges, 2020 was an important moment for those of us engaged in climate action.
For the first time in more than a decade, climate change and clean energy have the public and media attention they deserve. The majority of Americans now believe governments should do more to reduce the threats of climate change, and 2020 ushered in a new presidential era of climate action and progress. Here in the Northeast, states continued to lead the way with aggressive clean energy targets for the next decade and beyond, including Maine’s 80 percent renewable energy standard target, New York’s target of 100 percent zero emission electricity by 2040, Massachusetts’ 2030 midpoint and 2050 net zero goals, and Rhode Island’s pledge for 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. We also saw the clean energy community embrace the idea that climate change and racial injustice are entwined, and prioritize climate investments in low-income communities and communities of color that have far too often borne the brunt of the adverse health and economic challenges of traditional energy projects.
This renewed climate and clean energy activity is arriving not a moment too soon. The wildfires, hurricanes, tropical storms, and record high global temperatures of 2020 serve as a reminder that the time to act on climate change is now. Looking towards the decade ahead, there is much to be hopeful about - and much work to be done.
At NECEC, we plan to make the 2020s a Decade of Action by taking meaningful steps to scale our impact, advocating for policies and innovations to help the Northeast reach aggressive climate targets, driving initiatives that accelerate key sectors, demonstrating which clean economy business models and market structures work, engaging Environmental Justice communities to ensure everyone benefits from the clean energy transition, and working with our members and partners to engage with deeper, global networks for climate solutions scale-up. We know there is hard work ahead for all of us, but together, we can achieve a more resilient, more inclusive, clean energy future.