A proposal that is meant to help local governments cut through the red tape of parkland restrictions in order to build solar energy projects cleared the state Senate this week as lawmakers seek to further implement a sweeping law to transition the state to renewable fuels.
The bill, approved Monday in the Senate, would enable municipalities with parkland restrictions to use parking areas for the projects.
It's also the latest example of efforts by the Legislature to hasten renewable and clean fuel projects around the state as the deadlines for the implementation of the transition approaches.
Enabling legislation -- from switching to battery-powered lawn equipment to making sure new buildings and homes are electrified -- are part of the push to enact the law curtailing the effects of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Climate change is the existential crisis of our time, so we must do everything possible to protect our planet,” said state Sen. Peter Harckham, the bill's sponsor. “The legislation I introduced to advance renewable energy projects in municipal parks will help in this effort. Still, we need to keep working together to reduce carbon emissions and reduce greenhouse gases."
Current law requires local governments to request the Legislature approve the project to use parklands that have airspace directly above an area used for vehicle parking.
The measure approved this week as part of a raft of environmental and conservation bills would allow municipal governments to avoid having to go through the state Legislature for the request when building solar projects under 2 megawatts.