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Where Does My Electricity Come from in Massachusetts?

December 21, 2023 | Reading Time: 6 minutes

In Massachusetts, many of us are fortunate enough to switch on our lights, charge our devices, and power our appliances without a second thought. But where does the electricity come from?

The majority of Massachusetts electricity comes from natural gas power plants. But by 2050, MA is planning to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions. (1)

Where Does Massachusetts Get Its Electricity From?

In 2022, Massachusetts’ total electricity generation was sourced by 52% gas, 26% nuclear, 12% renewables, 7% hydroelectric, 2% oil, and .31% coal. (2)

2022 electricity sources in massachusetts pie chart

Natural Gas

In 2022, more than half of Massachusetts’ electricity was sourced from natural gas power plants. While natural gas is cleaner than other combustibles like coal, it’s still a major source of toxic emissions and a long-term heavy reliance on this resource is detrimental to the environment.

Nuclear Power

Over a quarter of electricity in Massachusetts was generated from nuclear power in 2022. While more energy can be dispersed from the same production efforts, the risk of accidental nuclear explosion is high and radioactive waste generated in the process needs to be safely managed and stored for thousands of years.

Hydroelectric Power

Hydroelectric power production proves to emit minimal greenhouse gasses but dam construction causes significant negative ecological impacts. Dams’ ability to alter river ecosystems and create unnatural changes in water flow patterns are leading causes of why many are undergoing deconstruction.

2022 renewable electricity sources in Massachusetts pie chart

Renewables

Renewable power production is made up of 33% wind, 25% solar, 25% refuse-derived, and 17% from other resources.

Keep in mind, renewable energy made up just 12% of total energy production in 2022. But current and future clean energy initiatives are set to increase this percentage.

Wind

Wind power is extremely common, especially in coastal states where offshore wind farms are possible. The first offshore wind farm in the United States became operational in 2016 off the coast of Block Island, RI. MA’s first offshore wind farm is scheduled to become operational by the end of 2023. (3)

Solar

Solar power leads the energy industry in sustainability and efficiency for two main reasons:

1. Solar panels are 75% recyclable (4), lengthening the materials’ lifespan to hundreds of years. This percentage is set to increase in the future as many companies are working to improve the recyclability of solar panels.

2. The sun already plays a crucial role in our survival and utilizing it as a resource of power is economical, proactive, and forward-thinking.

Refuse-Derived

Refuse-derived energy is the process of collecting and burning waste to produce electricity from steam-driven turbines connected to generators. This method fractionally reduces the volume of waste going into landfills but creates toxic air emissions and ash. Initially, it requires careful waste sorting to ensure hazardous materials are not incinerated which deems this renewable method of production significantly unsustainable.

Massachusetts Electrical Grid

The Massachusetts electrical grid is a part of a large web of interconnection called Independent System Operator (ISO) New England.

ISO New England transports power throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut.

Electrical production occurs within these six states but it’s important to note that New England consumes more energy than it produces. This requires New England to utilize energy sources that are outside of the region. Sourcing can be from other states or even other countries.

Help Massachusetts Meet Its Clean Energy Goals

Installing solar panels ensures your home or business a reliable and local source of power with the least environmental impact. More than 777,000 homes have already made the switch. (5)

Plenty of state incentives are available to lower the initial cost of solar systems for Massachusetts residents and even further, the Federal Solar Incentive is saving all solar adopters in the US thousands of dollars. With most people seeing zero-dollar electric bills in a matter of months, the system quickly pays for itself.

If you’re ready for a lifetime of savings and a sustainable future, give us a call. (508) 717-3820