New Study Finds Energy Act Drives $1.2B in Net Economic Benefits, Creates Thousands of Jobs

March 04, 2014

In a new report, "The Impacts of the Green Communities Act on the Massachusetts Economy: A Review of the First Six Years of the Act's Implementation," Analysis Group researchers have found that the Green Communities Act (GCA) has created $1.2 billion in net economic benefits and more than 16,000 jobs for Massachusetts as a result of its first six years of implementation.

The study, which was the focus of an article in the Boston Globe (March 4, 2014) and funded by the Barr Foundation, was led by an Analysis Group team including Vice President Paul Hibbard, Managing Principal Susan Tierney, and Manager Pavel Darling. The researchers tracked the economic impacts of the GCA in its first six years, examining programs launched between 2010 and 2015 and their ongoing effects through 2025. The results are measured against an alternative scenario that assumes these GCA programs had not been implemented.

"Our analysis shows that the actions to date under the GCA create positive net economic value and add jobs in the Commonwealth," said Mr. Hibbard, lead author of the report. "The GCA also localizes the Massachusetts energy economy, meaning fewer dollars are leaving the state and more dollars are going toward local clean energy businesses and other local spending."

The shift away from new fossil-powered generation and toward energy efficiency under the GCA has already led to lower energy demand in the state overall, and the resulting investments will lead to continued energy savings for many years into the future. Because of lower demand for power, total energy production in the region generated to serve Massachusetts consumers between 2010 and 2025 ends up being 36 terawatt-hours (TWh) lower than it would have been without the GCA. This is enough electricity to power almost 5 million homes in Massachusetts over the course of a year.

Programs implemented in the first six years of the GCA alone lead to significant increases in renewable power production in Massachusetts (by 57 percent in total during the modeling period 2010--2025), and reduce regional power production from fossil fuels by nearly 69 TWh in that time, resulting in considerable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the study, executive summary, and FAQ  

Read the Boston Globe article on the research