Boston Business Journal – Op-ed: Clean Energy Leadership Requires Resiliency
Massachusetts has long been a leader in clean energy. For the ninth year in a row, due to our state’s progressive policies and private sector support, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked the commonwealth No. 1 in the nation for energy efficiency. And earlier this fall, Mayor Martin Walsh unveiled an updated climate plan that will help the city of Boston achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. While these significant accomplishments are ones to take pride in, as a state that values clean, green energy, we can and must do more to prioritize energy resiliency.
Over the last several decades, extreme weather events that cause disruptions in energy service have become increasingly common, not only here in New England, but across the country. Last week, 700,000 homes and businesses in California were without power because of forced utility outages in response to high winds that threatened the spread of wildfires. Likewise, Massachusetts utilities are preparing for the winds, freezing rain and snow that come with Nor’easters at this time of year. Scientific evidence indicates that these extreme weather events will not only continue, but grow in size and scale at the expense of a secure energy supply.
Similarly, outdated and aging energy infrastructure across the United States will continue to be a challenge for energy resiliency. Take for instance the mechanical failure at a New York City substation this summer, which was fortunately mitigated by Con Edison, but left the city in darkness for nearly eight hours. Even minutes without power in a major metropolitan area like Boston can create serious health and public safety concerns.