The MBTA wants to include local renewable energy in new power contract

The MBTA is the largest consumer of electricity in the state, and it is beginning the process of locking in an energy agreement for the next three to five years.

On Thursday, the MBTA’s Board of Directors greenlit a proposal to pursue a new electricity supply contract worth up to $120 million.

The current energy agreement — in place since 2021 — uses 100% renewable energy through hydropower from Maine. The agreement ends Dec. 31.

Under the new proposal, the T will seek energy from a mix of renewable sources, with 30% coming from solar and wind generated within Massachusetts. The other 70% will come from elsewhere in New England.

The T’s manager for energy programs, Sean Donaghy, told the board that diversifying renewable energy sources will "bring us into voluntary compliance" with state standards that call for electricity sellers to provide increasing quantities of clean electricity to consumers in Massachusetts.

Because the MBTA is such a large consumer of electricity, Phil Eng, the T’s general manager and CEO, told WBUR the agency is committed to finding environmentally and fiscally responsible ways to power the system, including its subway trains, stations and equipment. He said the new contact will “enable us to exceed our goals and support the Massachusetts climate change efforts.”

The state has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to half their 1990 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The MBTA has been upgrading some subway lines with newer, more energy efficient cars, introducing more hybrid buses, and considering a switch from diesel locomotives to electricity for commuter trains.

The T is accepting proposals from energy bidders through Aug. 7. The new contract agreement will begin Jan. 1, 2024.


Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez Transportation Reporter
Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez is a transportation reporter for WBUR.



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