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.
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.
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.
A long-awaited bill that could shape the Commonwealth’s energy future (H. 4336) has been proposed by lawmakers in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. This summary provides an overview of the bill’s contents, scope, and areas for improvements.
The Role Forest Can Play in Addressing Climate and Promoting Sustainable Economies
Twenty three business, environmental, consumer, public health, agricultural, and academic organizations wrote to encourage Governor Malloy to show bold leadership by utilizing the effective Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to put Connecticut on a path to achieving the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act (Public Act 08-98) requirements, both by strengthening the existing program and by pursuing steps to add the transportation sector to RGGI.
Connecticut's General Assembly has proposed taking $20 million of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) revenue away from clean energy investments. Acadia Center looked into what that would mean for the state and found, among other things, that it would cost consumers approximately $60 million.
National Grid is proposing significant distribution rate increases and two major changes to rate design in Massachusetts that would
seriously impact residential ratepayers, small businesses, and a significant category of solar projects. Acadia Center's Mark LeBel gives a summary and review of these prospective changes.
A letter a bipartisan group of 100 members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives sent to the three House members that have been appointed to the Conference Committee on solar with the Massachusetts Senate. The letter, whose signers include 19 committee chairs as well as several other members in leadership positions, calls for the Conference Committee to report a bill that: maintains a strong net metering policy and projects that benefit low-income ratepayers and affordable housing, grandfathers existing systems, reduces costs through reforms to the solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) program, and raises the net metering caps.
The historic model for New England's grid is breaking down as climate takes center stage, and as solar, wind, and smarter energy management upend the energy market. Acadia Center comments on this trend in a three-part opinion series for CommonWealth Magazine. Part I of the series focuses on controversial proposals to subsidize large natural gas pipelines through the region. Part II explores how rooftop solar and smart energy management are transforming the energy system and upending the centralized utility model. Part III describes the near-term legislative opportunity to bring online large-scale clean energy sources that will facilitate achievement of Massachusetts’ climate commitments, stabilize prices, and continue the transition to a clean energy system.