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Massachusetts Evaluates Natural Gas’ Role in the State’s Carbon Goals

by Keefer Welsh


Last week, Massachusetts became the third state in the country to pursue a formal investigation into the challenges of transitioning away from fossil fuels. Attorney General Maura Healey petitioned for a formal investigation by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) into the future of the natural gas industry within the state. The focus of which to ensure the state is on pace to hit its carbon goal by 2050.

With such a large portion of the region’s electricity generation being natural gas-fired power plants, the transition will require a fundamental shift within the industry and will undoubtedly present a multitude of financial challenges for stakeholders. The AG’s motion to access the viability of making this transition, if accepted, will prompt state regulators to take a hard look at current policy and make the necessary legislative changes to position the state for success in achieving its 2050 goal.

The petition suggests the investigation be conducted in two phases. The first mandating an in-depth analysis of the state’s current dependency on natural gas as well as a detailed business plan outlining changing future demands. Phase two would prompt stakeholders to develop formal strategies to ensure a smooth transition away from natural gas while mitigating the financial burden for ratepayers.

This is a major step forward for the state but remains entirely dependent on the DPU actually opening a probe. Atlas will continue to monitor the fate of this petition in anticipation of the impact it will have on future energy prices in MA.

For more information, reach out to Keefer at Keefer.welsh@atlasretailenergy.com.

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