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Eversource Submits Roadmap to Achieve Massachusetts’ Clean-energy Goals

SPRINGFIELD — With a focus on energy equity, environmental-justice communities, and transparency, Eversource submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) its final Electric Sector Modernization Plan (ESMP) to modernize the electric distribution system and help meet the Commonwealth’s decarbonization goals after incorporating feedback from the Grid Mod Advisory Council (GMAC) and dozens of stakeholders.

The energy company’s ESMP is a comprehensive roadmap to transform the region’s power grid, enhance its resiliency, and strengthen reliability for customers by increasing renewable-energy production and electrifying the heating and transportation sectors. Focused on achieving both equity and clean-energy objectives, the ESMP also establishes a Community Engagement Stakeholder Advisory Group (CESAG) and expands efforts for proposed clean-energy infrastructure projects to engage all potentially impacted stakeholders.

“In order to meet decarbonization goals and help customers fully realize the benefits of the unprecedented clean-energy transition we’ve embarked upon together in Massachusetts, we must modernize our electric distribution system to increase capacity in support of the push to electrification, enhance reliability, and make the grid more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Digaunto Chatterjee, Eversource’s vice president for System Planning.

“Focused on equity and transparency, our Electric Sector Modernization Plan offers the most comprehensively detailed and ambitious roadmap yet to make that vision a reality and importantly incorporates feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders while bolstering community-engagement efforts for all proposed clean-energy infrastructure projects moving forward,” Chatterjee added. “We cannot leave any customer behind in this transition, particularly those in environmental-justice communities, and we look forward to engaging with all stakeholders early and often to meet these goals as we undertake the important work of siting and building critical clean-energy infrastructure, which will require collective buy-in and effort from all of us.”

Eversource’s 10-year plan helps meet the Commonwealth’s decarbonization milestones through 2040 by achieving a 180% increase in electrification hosting capacity, which will provide additional capacity to enable 2.5 million electric vehicles statewide, 1 million residential heat pumps within the company’s territory, and an incremental 2.2 GW of additional solar hosting capacity, bringing the total distributed energy resource hosting capacity systemwide to 5.8 GW.

The energy company’s system engineers predict an approximately 20% increase in electric demand in the next decade driven primarily by imminent economic growth and a 150% electric demand increase by 2050, driven by electrification of heating systems (50%) and transportation (25%), as well as normal load growth (25%).

To safely and reliably meet the needs of its customers and the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals, Eversource has proposed building new clean-energy substations and conducting significant upgrades on existing substations, which are all critical components of the electric delivery system. These investments will be complemented by improvements to the grid to better withstand the impacts of major storms, flooding, and other threats increasing due to climate change. Integrated gas-electric planning is also a critical component of the ESMP.

As part of its commitment to an equitable clean-energy future, Eversource actively engaged with the GMAC over the last eight months to inform the public and solicit feedback to the draft ESMP filed with the DPU last September, conducting technical conferences and hosting two stakeholder meetings that were recorded and made available publicly, as well as providing language interpretation services.

With the establishment of the CESAG, community-based organizations will help inform and enhance Eversource’s stakeholder and community engagement through the development of a governing framework that will ensure the company’s diverse communities are engaged early and often in the decision-making process, offering greater opportunity for conversation and collaboration.