Envisioning a clear pathway towards meeting long term greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets of 80% by 2050 has been a difficult and elusive task.  Yet, an exciting convergence of technology advances and success in reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation points towards viable solutions that can be implemented now to be on the right path.  It may seem counterintuitive, but the key is to rely more on decarbonized electricity to power transportation and buildings. Consider this hypothetical: if all gasoline powered cars on the road and all buildings heating with fossil fuels immediately switched to modern electric technologies like electric vehicles and high efficiency cold weather heat pumps, GHG emissions from these sources in the Northeast would be cut in half.  With further efforts to transition electricity generation to renewable resources, emissions would continue to fall.  Dramatic changes to our power grid, more decentralized and community energy approaches and redoubled efforts to maximize energy efficiency are needed to make this vision real.

  • RGGI on the World Stage

    Following the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, cities, states and regions will increasingly need to lead on climate. The nine states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have demonstrated a will to forge ahead in the absence of federal action in the past, and their leadership will make a substantial impact on the global fight against climate change; together, these states have a GDP of $2.8 trillion, representing the world’s 6th largest economy. Fortunately, the list of states taking action on climate is growing.

  • Distributed System Implementation Plans in New York: Summary and Analysis

    States throughout the Northeast are considering how to transition from an energy grid that delivers power one-way, from fossil fuel power generators to customers, to a modern, dynamic, and flexible energy system that is centered around our homes and businesses. Massachusetts utilities have presented plans for updating the electric grid in their Grid Modernization Plans, which are currently under consideration at the Commonwealth’s Department of Public Utilities. Rhode Island’s Power Sector Transformation Initiative is currently seeking feedback on Distribution System Planning for a modern grid. In response to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, the state’s electric utilities have developed Distribution System Implementation Plans. Acadia Center has analyzed and summarized the New York experience here.

  • Carbon Pricing in Massachusetts and the Northeast Region

    Massachusetts legislators are working to pass the nation's first carbon pricing legislation, a step that would help cement the state's reputation as a leader on smart climate action. Similar efforts are underway throughout the region, as carbon pricing legislation has also been introduced in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. With the economic heft of this region, carbon pricing legislation would constitute a substantial step towards a low-carbon future.

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