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.

  • Pages from Charge Without a Cause - Final - 7-18-16 (002)

    Charge Without a Cause

    The paper ‘Charge Without a Cause?’ was authored by Paul Chernick with Resource Insight in Massachusetts; John T. Colgan, a former Commissioner at the Illinois Commerce Commission; Rick Gilliam with Vote Solar in Colorado; Douglas Jester with 5 Lakes Energy in Michigan; and Mark LeBel with Acadia Center in Massachusetts. As the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) prepares to hold its 2016 Summer Meetings, this paper assesses an approach to electricity rate design now being proposed by some utilities around the country in response to a changing energy landscape — imposing “demand charges” on residents and small businesses in addition to the large commercial and industrial customers where these types of charges have typically applied.

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    The Hidden Costs of Energy: Overpaying for an Outdated System

    The planning and investment policies that govern our power grid were developed in an earlier era, when large fossil-fueled power plants were constructed to energize population centers. Longstanding policies skew decisions in favor of legacy power grid investments over cleaner, often less expensive and more advanced solutions, and stand in the way of achieving deep emissions reductions and widespread consumer benefits.

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    Updated Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for Connecticut

    Acadia Center analyzed new data on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Connecticut to develop an updated emissions inventory for the 1990 to 2015 time period. The analysis also looked at possible drivers of recent emissions increases, including fuel prices, economic activity, and policy developments. The updated emissions inventory is intended to help inform and guide both the 2016 Comprehensive Energy Strategy proceeding and the ongoing deliberations of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change.

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