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.

 

  • Joint Principles on Residential Fixed Charges in New York

    Fixed charges are the flat monthly fees that every customer pays, regardless of the amount of electricity they consume. Starting in the 1990s, New York instituted high fixed charges for residential customers. In the Joint Principles on Residential Fixed Charges in New York, 44 organizations call on New York utility regulators to lower these inefficient and regressive rates. These organizations come from many different perspectives, including low-income and consumer advocates, environmental and clean energy public interest organizations, solar advocates, and clean energy industry groups, and span national organizations as well as community organizations all across New York.

  • Outpacing the Nation: RGGI’s Environmental and Economic Success

    Acadia Center's 2017 RGGI report shows that over its eight and a half years of operation, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States achieve significant reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants from the electric power sector. Over the same period RGGI states’ economies have outpaced the rest of the country, and electricity prices within RGGI have fallen, even as prices in other states have increased.

  • The Offshore Wind Opportunity in Connecticut

    A key component to achieving a decarbonized energy future, offshore wind is now a reality in the Northeast. The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is operational, Massachusetts is actively reviewing offshore wind project bids, and New York, Maryland, and New Jersey are all developing their own ambitious programs. In Connecticut, offshore wind offers the state an opportunity to grow its clean energy economy, particularly along the shoreline. With three deep-water ports and a skilled manufacturing sector, Connecticut is well-suited to move forward on offshore wind—all that is needed now is policy action.

  • View all related resources