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Massachusetts’ Electricity Rates: Review of National Grid’s Proposed Changes

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.

Massachusetts House Solar Letter to Conference Committee

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.

2016 Energy Analysis Series

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.

Grid Modernization

The energy system in the United States is undergoing an unprecedented transition as disruptive, consumer-centric technologies upend the historic model of simply supplying energy to passive consumers. Utilities face expectations to accommodate and promote distributed solar, efficiency, smart energy management, and energy storage, even as these technologies challenge utilities’ revenue structures. Acadia Center is following this transition closely in the Northeast and commenting on what the utilities are doing to modernize the grid.

Optimizing Energy Procurement

Clean energy imports can help achieve greenhouse gas reduction requirements and diversify Massachusetts’ energy portfolio, and in order to maximize benefits, reduce total ratepayer costs, and address incentives that could lead to excess transmission costs, onshore wind should be included in any hydroelectric procurement.


Community|EnergyVision is a comprehensive framework that outlines a pathway for communities to take control of the energy system and modernize the way it is planned and managed. The illustrated publication details the full range of relevant issues surrounding Community Energy and provides examples of successful Community Energy systems emerging in the U.S. and abroad.

Next Generation Solar Framework

Across the United States, a debate is underway about the proper way to design electricity rates in order to provide fair compensation for local solar generation. Acadia Center’s analysis shows that the value of solar energy to electric ratepayers is actually greater than the compensation provided to solar generation through retail rate net metering, the currently predominant method of compensation through rates. However, as the amount of local solar grows over time, reforms to solar compensation methods will be needed. To foster a fairer and more effective way to incorporate local solar into the electric system, Acadia Center developed a forward-looking and broadly applicable solar compensation model, the Next Generation Solar Framework. This solar framework can be further adapted to other forms of local generation as well.

Joint Comments on Massachusetts’ Utilities Gas Procurement

Joint letter by Acadia Center and clean energy developers calling for fair consideration of alternatives to natural gas in meeting the region’s electricity needs. The letter is written in response to a Request for Proposals by Eversource and National Grid seeking bids only from providers of liquefied natural gas, regional gas storage, and pipeline expansion projects. Eversource and National Grid are participants in at least one project that could qualify for contracts; the pipeline expansion and storage project Access Northeast. The letter calls for redrafting of the RFP to allow for participation of lower cost and lower risk clean energy options to meet the region’s clean energy needs.

EnergyVision 2030
RGGI & Health