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.

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    EnergyVision 2030 One-Page Preview

    Advances in energy technology and declining clean energy costs offer an historic opportunity to build a truly clean, low carbon, and consumer friendly energy future that is also more reliable and resilient. These changes are profound—and a large disconnect exists between how we currently see and interact with the energy system and what a low-emission future could look like. Acadia Center is preparing EnergyVision 2030 to help fill this information and “vision” gap by presenting a detailed picture of what the energy system would look like in 2030 on a pathway to a clean energy future in 2050. This picture will show audiences in New England and New York a changed but recognizable system and help make today’s policy and infrastructure decisions with much better context and thus comfort.

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    Sustainable Rate Design: Near-Term Consumer-Friendly Reforms for a Clean Energy Future

    Electricity bills for residential customers in many states often combine a low fixed monthly charge with flat rates for electricity consumed and delivered charged on a per-kilowatt hour basis. Traditionally, this structure has worked for utilities by providing a simple mechanism to recover enough revenue to build, maintain, and operate the grid. This existing rate design for residential customers has many positive features, but is a blunt and inefficient instrument in many respects. Changes in electricity rate design can help address a number of different issues. In these comments, Acadia Center proposes a following five-point plan to achieve the above described objectives and principles for residential customers.

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    Distribution Reliability Charge: Transitioning to Sustainable Rate Design

    Electricity bills for residential customers in many states often combine a low fixed monthly charge with flat rates for electricity consumed and delivered charged on a per-kilowatt hour basis. Traditionally, this structure has worked for utilities by providing a simple mechanism to recover enough revenue to build, maintain, and operate the grid. This existing rate design for residential customers has many positive features, but is a blunt and inefficient instrument in many respects. Changes in electricity rate design can help address a number of different issues -- these comments address address two issues in particular and reforms that could facilitate a transition to more sustainable rate design.

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