Energy production is one of the leading contributors to climate change. Meanwhile, the potential for additional renewable energy in the region is enormous – both for larger generating stations like wind farms to small, distributed systems like rooftop solar. The costs of renewable energy are dropping rapidly, making renewables more affordable and viable for the consumer market.

Acadia Center advances policies that level the playing field so renewable power can fairly compete and flourish. Distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar produce clean energy while enhancing customer control over energy bills and reducing the need for polluting power plants and grid infrastructure. Acadia Center’s Next Generation Solar Framework provides a sustainable policy approach that compensates solar based on demonstrated value, while ensure equitable payment for maintenance of the grid.

More broadly, policies like renewable portfolio standards (RPS) provide incentives for clean energy options, allowing competition with fossil fuel-based energy that has the incumbent market advantage. Large-scale purchases can also help to promote deployment of renewable energy by achieving economies of scale and facilitating project financing and construction of transmission needed to transport renewable energy from remote locations to consumers.

Acadia Center also advocates market-based solutions that account for the climate impacts of burning fuels by charging a fee for releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. In the Northeast, this model has been successfully applied in the power sector through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states reduce power plant emissions significantly while generating economic and health benefits in the region, and this effective model can and should be exported to other states, and to cover additional sectors such as transportation and heating fuels. Emissions reductions can also be achieved by placing a direct price on pollution through a carbon fee that promotes changes in behavior and levels the playing field for cleaner energy supplies.

Throughout the energy system, from large-scale generating facilities to small-scale, customer-sited power sources, policies need to account for the full value of different types of energy resources. Using this information, leaders need to commit to using the cleanest affordable options. That means considering all of our energy options rather than defaulting to large, supply-side infrastructure. It also means fully accounting for lifecycle emissions, and assessing how efficiency can reduce demand. In homes and businesses, increasing access to advanced renewable thermal technologies through energy efficiency retrofits and building codes will make it easier for consumers to adopt clean fuels and save on their energy bills. Advanced cold-climate heat pumps, solar thermal, and low-emission, sustainably sourced biomass can reduce GHG emissions and decrease our reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Cutting emissions from vehicles, travel, and freight is closely related to clean energy supply strategies. See our Transportation initiative for more.

 

  • Direct Sales of Electric Vehicles in Connecticut

    Connecticut is debating whether to allow the direct sales of electric vehicles (EVs) by manufacturers, but concerns have been raised about potential impacts to employment at existing car dealerships. Acadia Center examined auto dealer employment statistics for nearby states that allow direct sales, and the results indicate that there has been no negative impact on this industry’s job levels or trends.

  • Strengthening RGGI to Improve Public Health

    As participating states weigh the future of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), impacts on public health should be considered. The program’s success in reducing CO2 emissions to date has also led to avoided emissions of harmful co-pollutants, resulting in cleaner air and healthier people. Acadia Center analysis shows that the RGGI states can achieve billions of dollars in additional avoided health impacts by establishing an ambitious cap through 2030.

  • EnergyVision 2030

    Clean energy technologies offer an historic opportunity to build an energy future that produces large consumer, economic, and climate benefits. EnergyVision 2030 shows how, by redoubling existing efforts in four key areas, New York and the six New England states can accelerate this transition and achieve a modern, low-emissions energy future. Read and download the Overview Summary, Companion Briefs, and Technical Appendix below.

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