Boston Takes ‘Big Step’ Toward Community Choice Aggregation

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Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced that the city will issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) to assist with the creation of a municipal electricity aggregation program. The government says the move demonstrates the city’s commitment to making renewable energy more accessible to Boston residents.

The RFQ, to be issued on Aug. 27, seeks consulting firms to help with the development, implementation and administration of the program. Submissions will be due on Oct. 10.

“This is a big step toward rolling out community choice aggregation because it will provide the expertise we need to get it done,” says Walsh. “We still need to make smart decisions on how to shape a program that’s best for Boston residents and can deliver on our commitment to clean energy.”

Community choice aggregation enables cities and towns to aggregate the buying power of individual electricity customers in their communities. Under a municipal aggregation program, cities and towns can automatically enroll residents who receive default electricity service from their utilities into a single, bulk-buying group and may require a greater percentage of renewable energy content than the mandatory percentage set by Massachusetts’ renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

“Community choice aggregation is an important contribution to reducing Boston’s carbon emissions,” states Chris Cook, chief of environment, energy and open space. “We’re excited to move ahead with the process and develop a program that can benefit the environment and, most importantly, our residents.”

The city is required to follow the steps toward a municipal aggregation, as laid out by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), by working in consultation with DOER and the selected consultant to prepare a plan and provide an opportunity for citizen review. In addition, the city will convene a community advisory committee that will inform the proposed plan and guide implementation. Once the program is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, the city will be able to begin implementation of the program.

“We are glad to see this next step taken in the implementation of community choice energy (CCE), which was approved unanimously by the Boston City Council almost a year ago.” notes Deb Pasternak, interim chapter director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club. “CCE will boost the amount of renewable energy being used by Boston residents and businesses, keeping energy dollars here in our region and expanding the growth of local, good-paying jobs.”

Earlier this year, the city’s environment department issued a request for information on how to develop and manage a municipal electricity aggregation program. The information obtained will continue to inform the development of the program. Walsh invested in the implementation of community choice aggregation in the city’s FY19 budget.

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