Clean Heat Standard

The Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2025 and 2030 tasked MassDEP with developing a “high-level program to meet the emissions limit for residential, commercial, and industrial heating” and identified a Clean Heat Standard (CHS) as a regulatory option for addressing this requirement. This was further expanded on in the 2050 Clean Energy and Climate Plan where MassDEP was tasked with establishing a CHS that would require a “gradual reduction in building emissions.” Furthermore, the Massachusetts Commission on Clean Heat’s report in November 2022 recommended MassDEP initiate a regulatory process to establish a CHS aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel heating fuels.

To begin this process, MassDEP sought initial stakeholder input to inform the development of a proposed CHS regulation and related heating fuel supplier reporting requirements by May 1st, 2023, and provided the following conceptual documents:

  1. A discussion document that includes a general description of the CHS concept, additional background information, and specific questions for stakeholders to consider; and
  2. A “straw” regulatory language for heating fuel supplier reporting requirements in support of the CHS.

Based on member feedback, A Better City provided the following comments that focused on: 1) clarifying the definition of heating fuel suppliers; 2) suggesting how the standard could be expressed; 3) accommodating clean heat deployed prior to the CHS taking effect; 4) including weatherization as clean energy for credit generation; 5) considering Combined Heat and Power (CHP) as a transitional clean energy for credit generation; 6) opposing the CHS being supported by a declining cap on emissions at this time; and 7) ensuring that implementation of the CHS will not exacerbate customer energy burdens.

In terms of next steps, MassDEP is expected to commence a formal rulemaking process in response to the comments received by the May 1st deadline, and provide additional opportunities for public and stakeholder comment. The goal is for the CHS to be implemented by 2024.

For any additional information, please contact Yve Torrie.

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