Phyllis Theermann
graphic thanks to @Ma_Senate

graphic thanks to

Just before the July 4th holiday, the State Senate gave a huge boost to the prospects for clean energy in Massachusetts with a unanimous, bipartisan vote for a comprehensive energy bill (S.2372). The bill includes an historic commitment to offshore wind and a significant increase in the amount of renewable energy that would power our state by 2030. Senators also unanimously voted to adopt an amendment that would prohibit utility companies from charging ratepayers for pipeline construction.

Sen. Cynthia Creem (who represents most of Wellesley) offered an amendment to address gas leaks that was ultimately adopted in a redrafted version (click here to see text). Please contact Senator Creem to thank her for leadership on this important environmental issue (!

A House and Senate conference committee will now negotiate a final energy package to encompass both the Senate bill and a more narrow House energy bill (H.4385) that passed in June.

Click here for a summary from the Boston Globe.

Click here for analysis by our partners at Clean Water Action.

More action alerts coming soon!

Phyllis Theermann
alexAlex was at the local hardware store the other day picking up Holiday lights.  As many others this time of year, he was looking at LED lights versus the traditional incandescent lights.
In past years he avoided LED lights because he didn’t like the cold “blue” light they seemed to emit.  This year, however, he was happy to see that there were many options for “warm white” lights, which look very similar to the traditional incandescent mini lights.
Alex admitted he was conflicted about the price.  The LED lights still cost more than the incandescents.

The environmental side of him wanted to buy them, but the practical, yankee side wanted to buy the less expensive.

After some quick mental calculations to incorporate the energy savings of LED lights, Alex found to his delight that they aren’t more expensive after all.  It goes like this:
Incandescent LED
Cost of  string of 100 lights $5.95 $19.98
Energy Usage per Hour 40 W 8 W
Hours on per night (4:30 to 10:30pm) 6 H 6 H
Nights on per year (Dec & Jan) 61 Days 61 Days
Energy Usage per Year 14.64 kWh 2.93 kWh
Electricity Cost: 13.5 ¢/kWh 13.5 ¢/kWh
Electricity Cost per Year  $1.98  $0.40
Annual Electricity Rate of Increase (Average over last 50 years in US) 3% 3%
Total Cost over 8 years $23.52 $23.49
Warranty 1 yr 7 yrs
Over 8 years they are effectively the same price.
However, he knows that every year around the holidays when the incandescent strings come out of the box, he will find one or two that have so many bulbs out that they are unusable.

If you factor that into the economics the payback is even shorter.

The economics of LED lights inside the home are even better as you use those lights all year long.  So, if you haven’t already bought your holiday lights for the year, make the smart choice and buy LED.  If you have all your holiday lights up already, make the switch next year and start looking inside your home for other lights to switch.

As you probably have heard, the Town of Wellesley is making the switch too.

Happy Holidays to all.

Phyllis Theermann
committee for green economyA former Sustainable Wellesley leadership team member, Jessica Langerman, has co-founded a ballot question committee to put an initiative for a revenue-neutral carbon tax on the 2016 ballot.

The Committee for a Green Economy commissioned a study by Regional Economic Models, Inc., to determine how to best implement a carbon tax in the state of Massachusetts.

REMI’s findings were stunning.  A 90% revenue-neutral carbon tax, phased in gently at $5.00 – $10.00 a year, could, by 2017, increase our state’s annual GDP by $450 million a year, adding between 2,000 – 11,000 jobs while significantly reducing emissions.  The cost to consumers would be offset by substantive corporate and personal income tax reductions.  Lower-level income earners would be additionally protected from the increase in fossil fuel prices by a reduction of the MA sales tax.
Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Tom Conroy have asked the senior economist who wrote the REMI study to present it at the state house later this month in support of their own carbon tax legislation, H.R. 2532.
According to many of our nation’s most eminent economists, conservative and liberal alike, a revenue-neutral carbon tax could be the silver bullet to freeing our nation from its dependency on fossil fuels.  To find out more about CGE, or to view the study in its entirety, please see the Committee’s web page at:, or visit them on Facebook.
See a recent Boston Globe article regarding the strategy here.