Renewable Energy

Arlington Community Electricity is committed to supporting the growth of new, local renewable energy sources in our region. The State of Massachusetts has progressive policies that require everyone to use more renewable energy over time, however, the pace of change needs to be faster to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Arlington Community Electricity is leveraging the buying power of our community to bring more clean electricity to our residents and businesses. Read on to learn how we’re doing it and the impact we’re having.

A Green Option for Everyone

Arlington’s standard product, Local Green, has 11% extra renewable electricity included, above and beyond the State requirements.

Participating in ACE Local Green is only the first step in fighting climate change. ACE also offers optional products with 50% or 100% renewable energy to let you take an even bigger step in your fight against climate change.


Buying from New England, Buying Clean

In the Arlington Community Electricity program, all extra renewable energy qualifies for Massachusetts Class I (MA Class) status. It also meets additional standards to provide Arlington with the cleanest options and the most local impact.

Green Energy Consumers Alliance, the source for all of Arlington’s extra renewable energy, helps bring new renewable projects to life through long-term contracts. The renewable energy sources from which Green Energy Consumers buys are shown below as of April 2020.

Only New England Sources

MA Class I renewable energy can come from New England or adjacent parts of Canada and New York. It is one of the most stringently green standards in the country, but Arlington’s ACE program is even better: we exclusively source our extra renewable energy from within New England. We’re helping to keep our energy impact local, supporting New England’s clean energy economy.

Only Zero-Emission or
Methane-Destroying Sources

The ACE program’s extra renewable energy only comes from zero emission sources, such as solar, wind, low-impact hydro1, or sources that destroy the potent greenhouse gas methane, such as anaerobic digestion2. Although traditional biomass, such as wood-fired generation, is eligible as MA Class I, the ACE program does not plan to include any for its extra renewable energy.

Helping to Build Clean Energy

Massachusetts requires all energy suppliers to include a minimum amount of MA Class I renewable energy that increases annually. If the supplier does not meet these requirements, the supplier is required to pay a penalty. This policy, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard, provides growing demand for renewable energy, which incentivizes new renewable generation facilities to be built. By purchasing a significant quantity of extra MA Class I renewable energy, Arlington is incentivizing even more renewable energy generation development in New England.

How big is our impact?

In 2020 Arlington Community Electricity customers are expected to purchase an extra 8,122 MWh of MA Class I renewable energy, above and beyond State requirements. These voluntary purchases are equivalent to the output of the annual production of nearly two (2) typical wind turbines (of size 1.5 MW each). As more residents and business opt up to our Local Greener and Local Greenest products, we can increase the impact even more!

The ~750 participants in Arlington Community Electricity’s 50% and 100% optional products used over 30% of all the renewable electricity that the program bought over its existence. Sign up your home.

This chart shows the proportions of all of the additional renewable electricity purchased by households in the program. Between April 2017 and October 2020, Opt Ups used ~9,318MWh and those in default product used ~17,598MWh.

We are excited that many other cities and towns are joining with Arlington to implement the same type of program and amplify our impact. In fact, recent estimates suggest that fully 10% of renewable energy purchased in the MA Class I REC market will soon be voluntarily purchased by municipal aggregations going above and beyond state requirements, like Arlington Community Electricity.

1Hydro projects that do not exceed 30 MW built after 1997 or have capacity additions or efficiency improvements made after 1997 (MA Class I eligible), and Low Impact Hydro Institute (LIHI) certified.

2Methane has a global warming potential (GWP) 28-36 times greater than CO2 over a 100 year period. Combustion destroys methane and releases some CO2, resulting in a net reduction in GWP. For more, see Environmental Protection Agency, Understanding Global Warming Potentials.