Understanding the complexity of energy markets is crucial to forming smart, viable policy decisions. Acadia Center analyzes the mechanisms and outcomes that will best leverage resources and protect consumers and the environment. Acadia Center’s team works collaboratively with major employers, consumer advocates, and policy makers to advance clean energy initiatives that consider all economic perspectives.
The cleanest, lowest-cost power plant is the one that doesn’t need to be built. The savings-first concept guides Acadia Center’s advocacy of policies that mandate purchasing all cost-effective energy efficiency before turning to other supply. In homes and businesses, that means fewer dollars spent on fuel or power, and more money stays in the local economy. Acadia Center works to protect consumers’ investments in efficient and clean energy, advocating rate structures and programs that are fair and accessible for all, including the most vulnerable populations. At the planning level, efficiency can defer or avoid the need for new infrastructure, which benefits all ratepayers.
Policy solutions can level the playing field so clean alternatives compete fully and fairly with fossil fuels and incumbent technology. A low-carbon fuel standard for example, takes into account the full lifecycle emissions of various fuels, which allows for alternatives to thrive in the market. Similarly, states adopt Renewable Portfolio Standards to boost the amount of clean power in the supply mix. At the state and interstate or interregional levels, reforms are needed so the cleanest options are considered before planners default to investing in large, supply-side infrastructure.
Accounting for Emissions
Acadia Center advocates solutions that account for the real cost of polluting fuels and charge for the right to dispose of carbon pollution in our shared atmosphere. In the electric power sector the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states reduce power plant emissions significantly while generating economic and health benefits in the region, and this effective model can and should be exported to other states. In other sectors of the economy placing a direct price on pollution through a carbon tax can reduce emissions by promoting changes in behavior and leveling the playing field for cleaner energy supplies.