Renewable Energy Trust Fund

January 16, 2024


Massachusetts Public Benefit Funds

Massachusetts's 1997 electric utility restructuring legislation created two separate public benefit funds to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency for all customer classes.

Funding and Administration

The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund is supported by a non-bypassable systems benefits charge of $0.0005 per kilowatt-hour (0.5 mill/kWh), imposed on customers of all investor-owned electric utilities and competitive municipal utilities in Massachusetts. (Non-competitive municipal utilities generally may opt into the Fund by agreeing to the same provisions that apply to investor-owned utilities and competitive municipal utilities.) 

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a quasi-public research and development entity, administers the Fund with oversight and planning assistance from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and an advisory board. The Fund does not have an expiration date.


The Fund may provide grants, contracts, loans, equity investments, energy production credits, bill credits, and rebates to customers. The fund is authorized to support “Class I” and “Class II” renewables, In addition, the Fund may support combined heat and power (CHP) systems less than 60 kilowatts (kW), solar hot water, geothermal heating and cooling projects, biomass thermal and storage and conversion technologies connected to qualifying generation projects.

The Fund is required to transfer, upon the written request of the governor, moneys in the fund, in an amount not exceeding $17 million in the aggregate, for deposit in the state's general fund. In turn, the state must use any transferred money to enter into long-term contracts for the purchase of renewable energy. The maximum payment in any fiscal year under all such contracts is limited to $5 million.

Additional information regarding the Fund and the programs it supports is available on the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's website.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Massachusetts
Incentive Type: Public Benefits Fund
Web Site:
Administrator: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Water Heat
  • Geothermal Electric
  • Solar Thermal Electric
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Wind (All)
  • Biomass
  • Hydroelectric
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Municipal Solid Waste
  • Combined Heat & Power
  • Fuel Cells using Non-Renewable Fuels
  • Landfill Gas
  • Tidal
  • Wave
  • Ocean Thermal
  • Wind (Small)
  • Hydroelectric (Small)
  • Anaerobic Digestion
  • Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Types: Renewables
Total Fund: An estimated $22 million/year
Charge: $0.0005 per kilowatt-hour (0.5 mill/kWh)


Name: M.G.L. ch. 25, § 20
Date Enacted: 11/25/1997
Effective Date: 3/1/1998 (subsequently amended)
Name: M.G.L. ch. 23J, § 9
Date Enacted: 11/23/2009
Effective Date: 11/23/2009 (subsequently amended)


Name: MassCEC Information
Organization: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Address: 63 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor
Boston MA 02110
Phone: (617) 315-9355

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.