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.

 

  • Eversource Rate Case in MA: Issues and Solutions

    Within its rate case (D.P.U. 17-05), Eversource proposes significant revenue increases, new rate structures, and an array of investments. Based on preliminary review, several of Eversource’s key proposals appear inconsistent with reforms needed to advance a clean energy future, but others are likely beneficial. The proposals reviewed by Acadia Center can be grouped into three categories: (1) revenue and shareholder returns, (2) grid modernization investments, and (3) rate design. Download the full review of proposals or a two-page summary below.

  • Incentives for Change: Why Utilities Continue to Build and How Regulators Can Motivate Them to Modernize

    Outdated utility financial incentives are inhibiting the transition to a clean energy future, increasing consumer costs, and stifling new technologies. Yet, this state of affairs is hardwired into the regulatory system. In this handout, Acadia Center analysis demonstrates how this imbalance plays out in scenarios from around the Northeast. Easy-to-read infographics show what compels utilities to continue building traditional infrastructure and why incentives must be reformed to align utility, consumer, and environmental interests.

  • Comments on the Draft Proposed Connecticut Volkswagen Mitigation Plan

    A coalition including Acadia Center identifies key priorities that it supports for allocating Connecticut’s share of the VW Mitigation Trust Funds. These comments were submitted to Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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