Environment Massachusetts released a report on Wednesday arguing that within the next few decades 100% of the the state's energy needs could be met through the use of renewable energy sources.

During a press conference announcing the report's release Ben Hellerstein, the group's State Director, cited two Southcoast communities as leaders in the effort to switch over to renewable energy.

"The city of New Bedford has already achieved 50% renewable energy for its municipal buildings and the city is currently exploring options to get even further on that," said Hellerstein "over the weekend Mayor Correia in Fall River penned a really great Op-Ed making the case for replacing the Brayton Point Power Plant with clean energy rather additional fossil fuels."

Claire Miller, of the Toxics Action Center also spoke at the conference saying Mayor Corriea is not the only one expressing opposition to expanded use of fossil fuels in the region.

Miller pointed to Southcoast Neighbors United, which was formed to oppose a proposed LNG facility in Acushnet, as a group that started with just a few people but has now become a major force.

"It's turned into a powerhouse of a group," said Miller "really reaching out to impacted landowners to make sure that they're not just hearing from the proponents of the project, but also getting information from concerned citizens like themselves."

Hellerstein also discussed the seeming demise of the Cape Wind project faced which opposition since it's conception from nearby residents and communities who felt the project would negatively impact their way of life.

Since that time new parcels have been purchased for other proposed wind projects and Hellerstein says that the locations of these proposed projects make it unlikely that they will face the same challenges.

"The area that's been opened up for offshore wind development recently, that's actually significantly further offshore than the Cape Wind project," sad "any sort of impact to local residents would be pretty minimal and so, as far as I know, there's been no organized opposition to those offshore wind projects further offshore."

The report also calls for lifting caps on net metering, a program that allows families, businesses, and local governments to receive fair credit for the solar energy they provide to the grid.

Environment Massachusetts says these caps on a key solar energy program have prevented solar installations from moving forward in nearly half of Massachusetts' cities and towns.

You can find the report here.

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