The traditional utility and power grid model of a one-way power flow from central generating stations to consumers is rapidly giving way to an exciting, consumer-friendly energy future. The system can be more cost-effective, cleaner, offer greater consumer control over energy costs and help clear the pathway to very low carbon emissions.

In Acadia Center’s vision of a modern grid, homes and businesses become the centerpiece of the energy system. Consumers will have greater control over energy use through technologies such as rooftop solar water heating and photovoltaic systems, advanced meters that help consumers control and monitor power usage, and technologies such as smart appliances and heat pumps. Community energy systems- local wind power, solar arrays, and combined heat and power- will also play an important role in the modern power grid. UtilityVision, an Acadia Center publication, presents this comprehensive vision with illustrations and recommendations. Acadia Center is also participating in grid modernization dockets and related state and regional proceedings and forums.

Technological advancement in the energy arena is moving so quickly that the market is ahead of the regulatory structure governing utilities. Today’s grid planning and investment policies 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 newer, often less expensive and more advanced solutions. The rules need to change so that viable, often lower-cost, alternatives to transmission and distribution infrastructure projects are fully considered. New regulations should also reflect the appropriate role of the utility in an increasingly decentralized system.

Acadia Center is working to update policy models so they align utilities’ financial incentives with the public’s clean energy, carbon reduction, and economic goals.

 

  • Local_Energy_Investment_and_Infrastructure_Modernization - Coalition One Pager

    Local Energy Investment and Infrastructure Modernization

    In its proposal for local energy investment and infrastructure modernization, Acadia Center presents concepts for legislation to modernize Massachusetts' distribution system, promote local energy resources as alternatives to infrastructure, cap residential fixed charges, and improve incentives through time-of-use rates. Local Energy Investment and Infrastructure Modernization was proposed with support of a broad-based coalition as HD 1497 (Rep. Benson) -- SD 1371 (Sen. Pacheco): https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/SD1371.

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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.

  • pages-from-acadia-center-consumer-friendly-rate-design-for-a-clean-energy-future-near-term-reforms

    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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