Acadia Center keeps the big picture in view while pursuing in-depth and targeted advocacy efforts within and across multiple economic sectors. This multifaceted approach is necessary to getting high-impact results. For example, Acadia Center’s EnergyVision outlines how reforms in multiple sectors could put the northeast region on track to cut emissions 80% by 2050.

Assume, hypothetically, that with the flick of a switch, all gasoline powered cars on the road now and all buildings using fossil fuels immediately switched to modern electric technologies like electric vehicles and high efficiency air to air cold weather heat pumps.High efficiency heat pumps can cut total energy needed to heat a home by 60% at competitive costs while emitting far less CO2 than natural gas.  Electric vehicles produce only 40% of the emissions of a gasoline vehicle at 2/3rd less cost to operate per mile, while potentially providing energy storage and grid stability. Updated town planning that incorporates electrification of buildings and vehicles can advance more livable and cleaner communities. In that scenario, greenhouse gas emissions from these sources in the Northeast region – New England, New York and New Jersey – would be cut in half.

With further efforts to transition electricity generation to renewable, in-region resources, emissions would continue to fall.  In the six-state New England electric power grid, the two most polluting fuels – oil and coal – have fallen from 27% of our power mix to only 3% in the past 10 years. Policies that incentivize increased deployment of renewable, clean energy and put a fair price on pollution will keep moving us toward a clean electric supply.

Energy efficiency is the cheapest and cleanest “fuel.” It creates huge savings for consumers and is the keystone to a sustainable, low carbon energy future. Massachusetts’s current 3-year efficiency plan will save enough energy to power 500,000 households while producing over $6 billion in net economic and consumer benefits.  By reducing demand on the power grid, efficiency lessens the burden of shared infrastructure costs

To support all of these clean energy advancements, the regulations, rates and incentives governing utility and grid investments need to be updated and aligned with the region’s clean energy, carbon reduction and economic goals.  A re-imagined energy grid would put customers and communities at the center and facilitate use of clean, affordable resources. Electric utilities can be partners in advancing new electric markets.