Key Takeaways from NECEC's 2023 Legislative Roundup
Somerville, MA, August 24, 2023 -
Each summer when the dust settles after busy lawmaking sessions, NECEC hosts our Annual Legislative Roundup, during which NECEC’s Policy team and our state partners offer insights and reflections on the progress made over the past 12 months.
On Wednesday, August 9, NECEC’s policy team held its 2023 Legislative Roundup, summarizing the progress, concerns, and work that lies ahead in legislatures across the region. Together with our state affiliates—Clean Energy New Hampshire, Renewable Energy Vermont, Focus Government Affairs, and Wilby Public Affairs—the policy team described the progress achieved in the renewable energy sector this year. Over 70 members of NECEC’s Policy Committee gathered for the Roundup, which included special remarks from Dan Bosley, our recently retired Government Affairs Executive. Read Dan’s touching and insightful remarks in their entirety, here.
Tim Snyder, NECEC’s Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, helped frame the developments of the past year, before remarks and discussion on each of the states. Below are excerpts from Snyder’s remarks:
“Broadly speaking, this session has been a mixed bag,” said Snyder. “States across the region are grappling in earnest with what it will actually take to meet ambitious clean energy targets. The Northeast states recognize the existential threat of catastrophic climate change—and that a rapid transition that benefits everyone is the best way to meet that challenge. Passing the right policies that are needed on the state level to facilitate that transition, though, isn’t easy.”
“In 2023, we saw several good pieces of legislation make it across the finish line,” Snyder continued. “We also saw some very concerning bills come dangerously close to becoming law—and saw other good bills fail at the last minute. Looking ahead, we have plenty to do as we work to solidify our priorities moving into the next legislative session and the rest of the current session in Massachusetts.”
Snyder highlighted the areas that have been at the forefront of NECEC’s work, such as designing effective state-level procurement frameworks, passing more specific clean energy targets, and updating the structure of subsidies and incentive programs.
As Snyder explained, states are wrestling with how to:
- Pass more ambitious and more specific clean energy targets
- Design effective state-level procurement frameworks
- Update the structure of subsidies and incentive programs
- Invest strategically in workforce development
- Build out supply chains and critical infrastructure
- Establish new rules around siting and permitting of large-scale projects
- Expand and modernize electric distribution systems
- And more
“These policy areas also all require more than simple legislative fixes,” Snyder cautioned. “Legislatures play a key role in setting statutory frameworks and providing financial support in strategic ways. But these policies also require complex regulatory processes and substantial programmatic development and support from executive offices.”
“Legislatures—even ones that want to do the right thing—are struggling to find the right level of statutory muscle and general fund resources needed to compel—and support—the detailed, on the ground changes that are needed across the board,” said Snyder.
“As air and ocean temperatures rise, weather intensifies, and smoke fills the sky, people across the board are becoming more and more aware that we don’t have the luxury of time to slowly develop policies to gradually transition to a clean energy future. We have to move now. Legislators are paying attention but don’t yet know exactly what to do next. Together, we can show them what to do,” said Snyder.
Looking towards the future, Snyder highlighted the role NECEC and its members can play in the efforts to minimize the impacts of climate change.
“As the voices of the industry, NECEC, our members, and our partners play a key role in giving legislators the input that they need. On behalf of the industry as a whole, NECEC will push for bold, meaningful legislation and funding support—and we look forward to engaging with all of you to solidify our priorities and strategies,” Snyder concluded.
For the main event of the Roundup, NECEC’S state affiliates summarized action on the most important clean energy bills in each state, describing their outcomes and explaining which are promoting clean energy targets and which ones are more concerning. They also shared their perspectives on priorities for the next legislative session, when lawmakers return in January, or this fall, in the case of Massachusetts.
If you would like to participate in the Members Only NECEC Policy Committee or working groups, please email Natalie Treat, Director of Public Policy, at email@example.com.
NECEC leads the just, equitable, and rapid transition to a clean energy future and a diverse climate economy. NECEC is the only organization in the Northeast that covers all of the clean energy market segments, representing the business perspectives of investors and clean energy companies across every stage of development. NECEC members span the broad spectrum of the clean energy industry, including clean transportation, energy efficiency, wind, solar, energy storage, microgrids, fuel cells, clean buildings, and advanced “smart” technologies. For more information, visit www.necec.org.