Clean Energy in Massachusetts

Clean Energy in Massachusetts:

An Emerging Success Story

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is
closer to sustainability than ever before.

And the health benefits that come
with it are out of the park!

We are in the middle of an energy transformation.

For decades, we have known that fossil fuels are not a sustainable source of energy. Fossil fuel combustion drives climate change.  Fossil fuels are not renewable. Combustion of fossil fuels causes air pollution that results in disease and premature death.

To be sure, fossil fuels have met our energy needs for a long time. They have historically been cheap, and in most years they have been plentiful. They have kept the lights on and the machines running.

The oil and natural gas industries claim that fossil fuels cannot be replaced any time soon. In fact, they are scrambling as fast as they can to build pipelines and compressor stations that will lock us into gas for decades and make their claims a reality. But are those claims true?

Windmill on a sunny day

The evidence says otherwise.

Clean, non-polluting electricity produced from wind and sunshine is growing faster than ever before. In Massachusetts, renewable sources now produce 19% of all energy (1). That is a 500% growth since 2010 (2). In the same time, the cost of producing electricity from solar energy has declined by nearly 90%, and the cost of generating electricity from wind has fallen by more than 50% (3). It is now cheaper in many places to produce electricity from the sun and wind than from any fossil fuel (7). Energy investors are well aware of these trends, and last year for the first time ever, more money was invested in clean energy than in fossil fuels.

We certainly have a long way to go. But we're moving in the right direction, and the claim that fossil fuels cannot be replaced seems more and more hollow with each passing year.

To learn more about fossil fuels and their dangers, watch this video.

The Benefits of Clean Energy?


Electricity generated from wind and solar power produces no air pollution…none at all…zero.

In contrast, electricity produced from fossil fuels produces air pollution that results in disease and premature death. Air pollution by fine invisible airborne particles - PM2.5 air pollution – is especially dangerous. Read more about the impacts that PM2.5 pollution has on human health.

Since 2010, the cost of generating electricity from solar energy has declined by nearly 90% and from wind by more than 50% (3). It is now cheaper in many parts of the United States to produce electricity from renewables than from any fossil fuel (7). Because of these developments, clean energy is growing like never before. Massachusetts produces 5 times more clean energy than it did 10 years ago, and today, around 19% of all energy in Massachusetts is clean (1, 2). Here are a few of the reasons why switching to clean energy is good for Massachusetts.  


Health Benefits

PM2.5 pollution causes heart disease stroke, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, premature births, and asthma. Fossil fuels are responsible for 85% of these emissions (4, 5). By increasing our clean energy sources, we can reduce our fossil fuel usage and have healthier societies.


Our current energy system is not sustainable. There is only a finite amount of fossil fuels, and we will need to continue digging into remote areas of the earth –Arctic, Amazon Basin, deep ocean – to keep going. Clean energy is sustainable and will preserve our beautiful earth for generations.

Slowing Climate Change

Fossil fuel combustion is the major driver of climate change. By moving to clean non-polluting wind and solar power, we can slow the pace of climate change and prevent much of the terrible damage it will cause.

Renewable Energy Employment

Solar panels and wind turbines won’t grow out of the ground; they require construction, installation, and maintenance. Renewable energy will help the economy by creating millions of high-paying jobs. And unlike jobs in the fossil fuel industry, many of these jobs will stay in Massachusetts (8).

Lower Energy Costs

It is now cheaper in many parts of the United States to produce electricity from renewables than from any fossil fuel (7). This gigantic leap signals that for millions of Americans, it’s already financially advantageous to switch to renewables.

Reduced Water Consumption

Did you know there's a lot of water used in the production of greenhouse gases? Fracking (drilling for natural gas) is particularly known for wasting water. With renewables, this water wastage is drastically reduced. Who would've thought?

Clean Energy Is the Way of the Future. 

It’s sustainable, doesn’t cause climate change, and is better for human health. Clean energy is ethical and doesn’t destroy our Common Home. Here at the Boston College Global Observatory on Planetary Health, we believe transitioning to clean energy is a critical step to saving our planet and preserving our civilization





3. UN Environment and Bloomberg NEF. Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2019. 2019. (Accessed Jan 16, 2022)

4. International Energy Agency (IEA) (2016), World Energy Outlook 2016. IEA, Paris Accessed January 30, 2022.

5. Landrigan PJ, Frumkin H, Lundberg BE. The False Promise of Natural Gas. N Engl J Med. 2020 Jan 9;382(2):104-107. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1913663

6. US Environmental Protection Agency. National Emissions Inventory. Available at Accessed February 23, 2022

7. University of California at Berkeley. Goldman School of Public Policy. Plummeting Solar, Wind, And Battery Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Electricity Future. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, June 2020 . Accessed Jan 16, 2022.