New Analysis Shows Outdated Rules Causing Utilities to Pursue High Priced Options; Eversource Rate Case More of the Same

BOSTON — New analysis from Acadia Center demonstrates that outdated financial incentives are driving expenditures on expensive and unnecessary utility infrastructure and inhibiting clean energy in the Northeast. Analysis of recent electric transmission and gas pipeline expansions demonstrates that utilities earn higher returns on these traditional expenditures than on local clean energy alternatives. The need to reform outdated incentives and change utility planning has come to stark relief in a rate case proposal from one of the region’s largest utilities. In it, Eversource proposes unprecedented returns on expenditures and electricity rates that inhibit clean energy while causing consumers to pay more
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RGGI Emissions Fell Again in 2016

Declining Emissions Signal Need for Reform In advance of expected actions by the Trump administration to remove or weaken federal climate protections, the Northeast’s pioneering climate program continues to see reductions in carbon pollution, reflected by today’s three-year low auction clearing price. Member states must now strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to preserve the program’s effectiveness and signal commitment to continuing bi-partisan climate leadership. Introduction CO2 emissions from power plants have been steadily declining across the nine states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) for the last decade, and in 2016 fell 8.4 percent below the emissions cap. Since
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Clean energy intrigue alleged

Peter Shattuck, the Massachusetts director of the Acadia Center, an environmental advocacy group, said the RFP should be changed. “As written, the RFP would favor large hydro over the wind and solar that we need to diversify the energy mix, drive in-region economic development, and achieve renewable power requirements,” he said. Read the full article from Commonwealth Magazine here.

AWA blue leaf

An Ode to Docket 4600

As told through a series of haiku: I drove to Warwick In a blue electric car The chargers were full   Those in the know, know Rhode Island utilities Governed in Warwick   Fifty-four miles left Should be plenty to get home I am risk averse   Endure long meeting With many energy geeks Time-based rates for cars   Leafs swap spots at lunch Brain can’t take much more rate talk Level 2 charging   Start up in silence I pause a moment, and breathe Rate case up ahead  

Eversource facing big Beacon Hill challenge

Peter Shattuck, the director of the Massachusetts office of the Acadia Center, an environmental advocacy group, said he didn’t think Eversource would be successful in winning support for pipeline financing on Beacon Hill. “Last session the Senate voted unanimously to block the pipeline tariff, and with continuing grassroots opposition and another uneventful winter, legislation is unlikely,” he said. Read the full article from Commonwealth here. 

New farmland harvest – solar energy – creating political sparks

But asked whether he’d favor a moratorium, Miner laughed and took a long pause. “I don’t personally like moratoriums,” he said. “Is there a real hardship with some period of a moratorium so you could figure this out? I don’t know.” But Bill Dornbos, who heads the Connecticut office of the environmental advocacy group Acadia Center, does. “I’ve been contacted by utility-scale developers who are expressing great concern and nervousness about this because they heard the word moratorium,” he said. “They were worried we were going to go to a place like we were with the wind-power issue. “Legislation that
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War, peace and innovation: Solar policy in 2016

In Massachusetts, a “Next Generation Incentive” would offer changes to the net metering credit that steps down as well as changes to the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit program and compensation “adders” designed to serve as price signals to guide growth. While the successor tariff includes “thoughtful elements such as long-term price guarantees to lower financing costs, land use standards, and incentives for pairing solar and storage,” it lacks protection for community solar programs, said Peter Shattuck, clean energy initiative director of Acadia Center. But protections seem to be lacking for community solar and for solar programs, he added. Read
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Rules to cut carbon emissions in Mass. may increase them in New England, critics say

Since the initiative began in 2008, it has led to reduced emissions and lower energy prices, said Peter Shattuck, director of the clean energy initiative at the Acadia Center, an environmental advocacy group in Boston. “While there may be some offsetting increases in emissions beyond Massachusetts’ border, the Commonwealth has to set its own policy course,” Shattuck said. “If we’d been looking over [our] shoulder at what other states were doing, we might never have pursued health care reform, marriage equality, or the Global Warming Solutions Act itself.” Read the full article from the Boston Globe here.

Eversource seeks higher fees on customers with solar

Mark LeBel, a staff attorney at the Acadia Center, an environmental advocacy group, said Eversource’s demand charge isn’t fair to small consumers of electricity because there is no way for a customer to forecast the fee or manage it. He also said a utility’s costs are never driven by the peak demands of an individual, residential customer. Acadia recommends creating a distribution reliability charge based on the customer’s electricity consumption over a 12-month period, which would give the homeowner an incentive to reduce his or her use of electricity. LeBel – the coauthor of a report on demand charges entitled
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Connecticut Environmentalists Urge Grass-Roots Campaign To Block Trump’s Pick for EPA

Activist groups represented at Monday’s event included Environment Connecticut, the Sierra Club, the Connecticut Audubon Society, Citizens Campaign for the Environment and the energy watchdog group Acadia Center. William Dornbos, Connecticut director for the Acadia Center, said Pruitt as EPA head would “have a real impact on Connecticut” by restricting access to key air and water pollution records. “Connecticut could lose fundamental resources even without a law being passed,” Dornbos said. Read the full article from the Hartford Courant here.