Group of 67 organizations urges govt leaders in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to support EVs

Acadia Center announced that a coalition of 67 businesses and organizations, including utilities, other private companies, business groups, electric vehicle advocacy groups, and environmental groups, urges the Governors and Governors-Elect in the eleven Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to make policies that support electric vehicles (EVs) a top priority for their administrations going forward

CT Creeps Toward Electric Grid 2.0

In the four years since Bruce Becker opened his groundbreaking apartment building at 360 State Street in New Haven, its most ground-breaking element – a clean-energy, 400-kilowatt fuel cell that can meet nearly all the building’s electricity needs — has been running at half power.

RI Public Utilities Commission Votes to Expand Cost-Saving Energy Efficiency Programs in 2015

PROVIDENCE, RI – On December 23, 2014, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the 2015 Energy Efficiency Program Plan for Rhode Island, which will enable cost-effective energy efficiency programs to generate economic savings for electric and natural gas consumers in the state.

The 2015 Energy Efficiency Plan was developed collaboratively by key stakeholders representing a wide range of consumer and environmental interests, including Acadia Center, the Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, the Office of Energy Resources, and National Grid. The plan is also supported by the National Consumer Law Center on behalf of the George Wiley Center and National Housing Trust, Green and Healthy Homes Providence, Peoples Power & Light, and the Rhode Island Builders Association.

“Energy efficiency is a powerful tool to help chart Rhode Island’s pathway to a sustainable economy and clean energy future,” said Acadia Center President Dan Sosland.

“Efficiency is the best near-term energy strategy for reducing Rhode Islanders’ energy bills, particularly in the face of higher electric commodity prices this winter. Investing in energy efficiency produces immediate bill savings that persist for years to come,” said Sosland.

The 2015 Energy Efficiency Program Plan is designed to generate $2.35 in benefits for every $1 invested in cost-effective energy efficiency. When fully implemented, Rhode Island’s 2015 energy efficiency programs will:

  • Produce over $336 million in net economic benefits to Rhode Island homes and businesses.
  • Save 1.9 million MWh of electricity and 4.8 million MMBTU of natural gas.
  • Boost Rhode Island’s economy by adding over $417 million to Gross State Product.
  • Create over 4,500 job-years of employment economy-wide.

The Division of Public Utilities–the state agency charged with watching out for consumer interests– recently commissioned the research firm Synapse Energy Economics to see what efficiency is really doing for our electric bills. The analysis finds that a homeowner who gets a home energy assessment can save between 11% and 15% on her electric bill by replacing inefficient lighting and appliances, and upgrading home insulation and weatherization.  Factoring in savings on natural gas or fuel oil use would boost these saving percentages even higher. And small business customers save as much as 37% to 47% by installing high efficiency equipment and retrofits. The analysis also shows that even customers who do nothing to their own houses or offices benefit from others’ energy efficiency actions. Reducing the state’s demand for power helps lower the costs of the whole energy system—savings that are passed on to all electric customers.

“Energy efficiency is an energy resource just like power from the coal and natural gas-fired power plants at Salem Harbor, Brayton Point, or Manchester Street. But energy efficiency is much cheaper, cleaner, and lower risk. In fact, the Public Utilities Commission’s decision to approve this plan is the best way to help customers save money,” said Acadia Center Rhode Island Director Abigail Anthony. Dr. Anthony represents environmental interests on the state’s Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council (EERMC), which provides independent input and oversight to National Grid’s electric and natural gas efficiency programs.

The 2015 Energy Efficiency Plan is part of a larger three-year Least Cost Procurement Plan for 2015, 2016, and 2017 that was approved by the PUC in October. The plan can be found at: http://www.ripuc.ri.gov/eventsactions/docket/4527-NGrid-2015-EEPP(10-31-14).pdf

 

Contact:
Emily Avery-Miller, Dir. External Relations, Acadia Center**
(617) 742-0054×100, eavery-miller@acadiacenter.org

Abigail Anthony, Dir. Rhode Island Office, Acadia Center**
(401) 474-8876, aanthony@acadiacenter.org

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Acadia Center is a non-profit, research and advocacy organization committed to advancing the clean energy future. Acadia Center is at the forefront of efforts to build clean, low carbon and consumer friendly economies. Acadia Center provides accurate and reliable information, and offers a real-world and comprehensive approach to problem solving through innovation and collaboration.

**ENE (Environment Northeast) is now Acadia Center. To more accurately reflect the organization’s geographic scope and evolving approach, we adopted a new name, logo and website
http://www.acadiacenter.staging.wpengine.com on October 30, 2014. Our team, goals and commitment to results have not changed, and we look forward to continuing our work and partnership with you and all of our networks.

67 Signers Call for EV Action in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

BOSTON, MA- A broad coalition of sixty-seven businesses and organizations, including utilities, other private companies, business groups, electric vehicle advocacy groups, and environmental groups, urges the Governors and Governors-Elect in the eleven Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to make policies that support electric vehicles (EVs) a top priority for their administrations going forward.

In a letter sent this week, the groups indicate that, “EVs provide major benefits for consumers, the regional economy, energy independence, public health, and the environment.” They urge the state leaders to use a new or existing high-level state task force to pursue the following:

1.    Providing financial and non-financial incentives for consumers, such as rebates and sales tax waivers for EV sales and leases and HOV lane access, and other categories of EV-related investment;
2.    Creating an electric utility framework to increase EV adoption and to achieve benefits to drivers and the electricity system, with programs to promote low-cost charging at night when overall electricity usage is low, grid planning, and targeted infrastructure investments;
3.    Facilitating the build-out of EV charging stations to effectively serve a growing EV base;
4.    Educating consumers, businesses, workplaces, dealerships, and municipalities on the benefits and opportunities of promoting EVs; and,
5.    Leading by example by purchasing EVs and installing charging stations for state fleets.

“Electric vehicles have established a solid foothold in the market over the last few years,” said Mark LeBel, Staff Attorney for Acadia Center.** “Even at current gas prices, an average driver can save over $400 per year in fuel costs by switching from gasoline to electricity. Each of these states has a wide range of steps that they can take to support progress on EVs and ultimately make them affordable for everyone.”

The signers are calling for policies that address the needs and concerns of current and would-be EV drivers. “To support the current and future growth of the EV industry, we need policies that make it even easier for drivers to get behind the wheel of an EV and when they do,  ensure they have access to charging wherever they go,” said Colleen Quinn, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for ChargePoint. “ChargePoint is excited to join environmental groups, utilities and other stakeholders to support a collaborative approach to driving EV adoption and increasing the deployment of charging infrastructure.”

Electric utilities in the region will continue to build on the role that they are playing to help increase the adoption of EVs. “We support the development of the EV market, in order to help the region’s drivers reduce their fuel costs, to advance the Northeast’s carbon reduction goals, and to reduce reliance on imported fuel sources,” explained Ed White, National Grid’s Vice President of Customer Strategy and Environmental. “By helping expand the charging infrastructure for EVs and investing in our company EV fleet, National Grid is helping advance the market and meet the evolving needs of our customers and communities.”

Advancing EVs will support states’ long-term goals, including public health and climate protection. The letter states:

Since EVs have little or no conventional tailpipe emissions, they can be a key component to improving health outcomes and reducing costs to treat illnesses caused or worsened by this pollution. EVs also have significant climate benefits. With the current electricity generation mix in the region, a car that only uses electricity from the grid will be responsible for 50-70% less greenhouse gas pollution than a comparable gasoline-only vehicle. As we shift to cleaner sources of electricity, public health and environmental benefits of EVs will only increase over time.

EVs can be key part of a low-carbon, consumer-friendly energy future. This letter shows that many stakeholders are ready to support state leaders as they take the next important steps.

The letter can be found at http://acadiacenter.staging.wpengine.com/document/ev-letter-121814.

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Contacts:
Mark LeBel, Staff Attorney, Acadia Center, 617-742-0054×104, mlebel@acadiacenter.org
Gina Coplon-Newfield, Director of Electric Vehicles Initiative, Sierra Club, 617-571-4523, gina.coplon-newfield@sierraclub.org
Kate Kiely, Natural Resources Defense Council, 212-727-4592, kkiely@nrdc.org
Jennifer Rushlow, Staff Attorney, Conservation Law Foundation, 617-850-1763, jrushlow@clf.org

**ENE (Environment Northeast) is now Acadia Center. To more accurately reflect the organization’s geographic scope and evolving approach, we are excited to announce the adoption of a new name, logo and website (http://www.acadiacenter.staging.wpengine.com). Our team, goals and commitment to results have not changed, and we look forward to continuing our work and partnership with you and all of our networks.

Acadia Center is a non-profit, research and advocacy organization committed to advancing the clean energy future. Acadia Center is at the forefront of efforts to build clean, low carbon and consumer friendly economies. Acadia Center provides accurate and reliable information, and offers a real-world and comprehensive approach to problem solving through innovation and collaboration.

Boston, MA | Hartford, CT | New York, NY | Providence, RI | Rockport, ME | Ottawa, ON, Canada
www.acadiacenter.staging.wpengine.com

Support Gathers for Legislation to Cap Fixed Fees on Power Bills

The controversial decision by regulators Wednesday to approve a higher fixed customer fee for Connecticut Light & Power’s customers has triggered a strong response from lawmakers and energy advocates who say they will push for legislation to cap those fees.

Solar Speaks Podcast

Climate Change is one of the premier issues of our time, but solar can help solve it. We spoke with Jamie Howland of Acadia Center, an organization which has offices throughout New England, to find out how it too is working to solve climate change and what resources it offers solar professionals. Listen to learn more.

LTE Energy Solutions

We commend the BDN for its thoughtful Dec. 6 editorial, “Using less is Maine’s only option to dull winter electricity price spike.” Energy efficiency is the best near-term solution to our energy challenges.

Letter: Create a Smart Electric Grid

Paul Grimaldi’s Dec. 5 article (“National Grid in midst of system upgrades in Rhode Island”) described National Grid’s $1.3 billion infrastructure plan to improve Rhode Island’s electric and natural gas system reliability.

Not mentioned is that Rhode Island is one of the first states to adopt guidelines for electric grid planning that include consideration of customer-side energy resources as complements or substitutes for large-scale infrastructure.

Regulators Trim CL&P Rate Hike, Allow Higher Fixed Fees

Regulators slashed Connecticut Light & Power’s request for higher electric rates, lowering its existing profit margin and, for the first time, penalizing the power company for its troubled response to two disastrous storms three years ago.

The draft decision released Monday reduced the company’s $221 million increase to $130 million, a slimmed down cost that will add about $7 to typical monthly bills, nearly half of the increase coming from a slightly higher fixed charge.