Net Zero Grid

MassCEC is fostering the collaboration and innovation we need to modernize and expand the electric grid to power our buildings, industry, and transportation system with zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions produced by generating electricity are lower than those from transportation or buildings, largely due to the retirement of coal- and oil-burning power plants.

In upcoming years, more clean electricity produced by sources like sun and wind will be interconnected with our electric transmission system to further displace fossil fuels. The addition of large scale battery storage will provide round-the-clock availability of clean energy to Massachusetts businesses and households.

Massachusetts 2020 Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector

The foundation of a net zero emissions grid is an abundant supply of zero-emissions electricity. This electricity can come from renewable energy generators, such as off-shore wind, land-based wind, hydropower, solar power and other sources. 

Abundant clean electricity can power an electrified economy, in which heating and transportation are increasingly powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels.

Modern grid infrastructure, demand response, energy storage, and many other emerging technologies and business models can help balance the supply of renewable energy and the demand for electricity across time periods.

Novel, data-rich tools can support the traditional utility planning and management systems in order to identify and prioritize least-cost solutions for the transition.

Northeast Hydrogen Hub

Northeast states including Massachusetts are collaborating to propose a regional clean energy hydrogen hub

Net Zero Grid Planning Lab

To accelerate the planning process in Massachusetts while exploring ways to reduce the costs of transitioning to a net zero grid, MassCEC engaged technical consultants and software startups through the NZG Planning Lab. Through first-of-its-kind analysis and innovative software tools, these experts are assessing current distribution system barriers and opportunities, conducting load forecasts based on decarbonization scenarios, and demonstrating novel distribution system planning tools, protocols, and emerging technologies that will further grid decarbonization goals in a cost-effective manner. 

Energy Storage

Energy storage encompasses a range of technologies that use mechanical, chemical, or thermal processes to absorb energy, store it, and then dispatch it when needed. Energy storage can improve the reliability, flexibility, and resiliency of the electric system, making it easier to integrate clean energy sources while delivering savings to ratepayers.

MassCEC advances energy storage in Massachusetts through

  • demonstrations of technologies and use cases
  • safety training for first responders
  • collaborative, cutting-edge studies

 

Sean Hamilton, General Manager at the Sterling Municipal Light Department, inside the battery storage unit at the Chocksett Road Substation in Sterling, MA. Photo by Clean Energy Group, March 2017.

Energy Resilience

As we increasingly electrify building heating and the transportation system to reach net zero emissions, the resilience of the electric grid becomes even more important in reducing vulnerability to severe weather events.

MassCEC has funded over twenty feasibility studies around the Commonwealth to support community resiliency efforts through the Community Microgrids program and the Clean Energy and Resiliency ("CLEAR") program. These studies examined opportunities to enable the integration of renewable energy sources while providing energy resilience for critical facilities during electrical grid outages. Through CLEAR, MassCEC also funded the development of a resiliency "toolkit" to help municipal leaders quickly and easily understand the resiliency needs and solutions for their buildings, as well as a resiliency certification that can be used to gauge the resiliency status of critical infrastructure.

Renewable energy is key to a net zero grid. For information on our work in renewable energy, please check out the following: