Green Groups Push for Microgrid-Friendly Bill in Massachusetts

A coalition of environmental groups will propose an energy resources plan to Massachusetts lawmakers today (9/29/2015) that they say could make the state more microgrid-friendly. Called the Global Warming Solutions Project, the group plans to testify before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy as it considers several clean energy bills…In addition to CLF, the Global Warming Solutions Project members include Acadia Center, Appalachian Mountain Club, Clean Water Action…

Environmental & Clean Energy Stakeholders to Propose Comprehensive Energy Policy

Boston- Tomorrow, the Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities, and Energy will hear from the public on legislation that could change over one-third of the electric supply in Massachusetts. It is critical that an energy bill of this magnitude be tailored to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the clean energy economy of the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, none of the legislation currently on the table would accomplish this vital goal. For this reason, the Global Warming Solutions Project (GWSP) will present its plan at the hearing for a comprehensive energy policy that will create a more diverse and stable electricity supply, maximize potential clean energy benefits, and minimize risks to ratepayers and our environment.

The testimony will be available here after the hearing.

The GWSP’s legislative efforts are led by Acadia Center, Appalachian Mountain Club, Conservation Law Foundation, Clean Water Action, Environmental League of Massachusetts, and Mass Energy Consumers Alliance. The group works in collaboration with Mass Power Forward, a new grassroots network of over 100 clean energy businesses, economic justice organizations, faith communities and other allies from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. Together, this coalition is committed to ensuring the Massachusetts legislature advances a strong clean energy bill.

The GWSP Energy Resources Plan calls on the legislature to do the following:

  • Immediately lift the cap on solar net metering and revise solar programs to value the full benefits that local, customer-owned projects provide to the energy grid.
  • Ensure any large-scale procurement of hydropower electricity includes at least 30% Class I Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)-eligible resources of its electricity.
  • Strengthen our energy efficiency programs and promote innovations in energy storage and energy resource planning.
  • Maximize new renewable energy resources by bringing online 2,000 MW of offshore wind by 2025 and increasing our Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target from 1 percent to 2 percent growth each year.
  • Include safeguards to protect economic and environmental interests of the Commonwealth and ratepayers.
  • Prevent subsidies for natural gas pipeline expansion.

The legislature has an opportunity to steer the Commonwealth toward significant improvements to our energy portfolio that will benefit Massachusetts customers and our environment, but this cannot happen without significant improvements to the currently proposed bills. The GWSP looks forward to working with legislators to craft the comprehensive energy package that the Commonwealth needs.


Amy Boyd & Peter Shattuck, Acadia Center
Heather Clish, Appalachian Mountain Club
Caitlin Peale Sloan & David Ismay, Conservation Law Foundation
Joel Wool, Clean Water Action
Josh Craft, Environmental League of Massachusetts
Bill Ravanesi, Health Care Without Harm
Eugenia Gibbons, Mass Energy Consumers Alliance


Kiernan Dunlop, Communications Associate, (617) 742- 0054 x107


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.

Clean Energy Coalition Launches in Massachusetts

As Massachusetts policymakers return to the Hill this fall, several important bills impacting our state’s energy future have been filed for consideration. In anticipation of these impending energy debates a new clean energy coalition has formed. The coalition, Mass Power Forward, officially launched at the beginning of the month with simultaneous events throughout the state in Weymouth, Boston, Holyoke, Pittsfield, Peabody, and Fall River.

The Boston launch was held on the roof of the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), which is fittingly home to a 260kW solar array. The array is one of the largest in Boston and provides a great example of the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy. When discussing his decision to install the array David Noymer, CFO for the GBFB, said “We are proud of the steps we have taken to become energy-efficient. The technologies that we employ are not only forward-thinking, but allow us to save money and operate more efficiently and effectively, which directly helps advance our mission to End Hunger Here in eastern Massachusetts.” Noymer was joined by Eugenia Gibbons from Mass Energy, Emily Kirkland from Better Future Project, and Rev. Anne Bancroft from Theodore Parker Church in calling for a cleaner energy future.

MA Pwr Fwd launch pic

This diverse coalition already has over 100 members, including Acadia Center, and is composed of environmentalists, public health advocates, community groups, clean energy companies, faith-based organizations, and social justice leaders. Together these advocates represent a united front calling for a transition from the current energy system to a low-carbon, consumer friendly, clean energy future. As more people learn about the importance of developing a clean energy future, the coalition will continue to grow.

On its website, Mass Power Forward calls for an energy policy that:

  • “Advances Massachusetts toward a safer and healthier economy powered by local, clean, renewable sources, maximizing energy efficiency, responsibly sited solar, wind on and off-shore and energy storage; keeping us on track to reduce our climate change pollution by no less than 80% by 2050;
  • Reduces our dependence on polluting energy sources such as coal, oil, gas and nuclear, and frees our power grid from imported fuels, volatile markets and dangerous power generation facilities;
  • Prioritizes neighborhoods, families and our public lands over utility monopolies and the polluting energy industry; and prohibits public subsidies for gas pipelines or other new fossil fuel infrastructure;
  • Modernizes our power grid and empowers everyday people to access locally generated power;
  • Assists workers and communities with retiring power plants to participate in the benefits of the green economy and clean energy transition.”


After a successful launch, the Mass Power Forward coalition is looking ahead to a legislative hearing scheduled for September 29th where several important energy bills will be considered. Massachusetts sits at the crossroads of our energy future. It’s essential for us to choose the right path towards a low-carbon, consumer friendly, clean energy future.



Tyler Soleau is Acadia Center’s Energy and Climate Outreach Director working from the Boston office. He focuses on raising awareness, network building and advancing Acadia Center’s clean energy program goals in Massachusetts and the Northeast. Tyler came to Acadia Center from the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served most immediately as Staff Director and Counsel for the House Committee on Climate Change.


The Benefits of Stakeholder Engagement in Energy Efficiency Programs

At the invitation of a stakeholder group convened by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC), I recently gave a presentation in Concord on the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board (EEB), a stakeholder advisory body to the state’s energy efficiency programs. In addition to being a Senior Attorney at Acadia Center, I currently sit as the Chair of the EEB. The New Hampshire PUC has been convening stakeholders in 2015 to consider how it could ramp up investment in cost-effective energy efficiency.

My presentation detailed the benefits of robust stakeholder engagement in energy efficiency planning and explained the main roles and responsibilities of the EEB. Here are some key facts and insights:

  • The CT EEB’s main role – as set by statute – is to advise and assist the utilities in developing and implementing the state’s energy efficiency plans and programs. The Board’s set of diverse stakeholders has been performing that role successfully since 1999 and is now in the process of finalizing the next three-year energy efficiency plan, known as the 2016-2018 Conservation & Load Management Plan (C&LM Plan).
  • The CT EEB’s statutorily-required review and approval of the C&LM Plan is an important formal step in the process of ensuring that the Plan offers strong and verifiable efficiency benefits to customers before it moves on to final review and approval by the CT Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection.
  • A permanent stakeholder body like the CT EEB helps with energy efficiency planning in several valuable ways: (1) it gives energy efficiency programs a broad base of support and input from expert stakeholders; (2) it leads to more efficient and productive energy efficiency decision making; (3) it reinforces high standards for energy efficiency program design and implementation; and (4) it helps to ward off raids on energy efficiency funding and give programs much needed stability and continuity.
  • Most importantly, stakeholder bodies can help drive strong results for energy efficiency customers. For example, for the past eight years the three New England states with stakeholder councils – Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island – have all placed in the top ten of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.


In the end, the significant and proven value produced by stakeholder bodies like the EEB underscores the need to formally involve stakeholders in the major energy resource decisions we face in coming years as the energy system rapidly evolves and modernizes. For more on how stakeholder bodies can protect and help the modern energy consumer, see Acadia Center’s recent UtilityVision report.


WED pic 2014

Bill Dornbos is the Director of the Connecticut Office and Senior Attorney for Acadia Center.  Bill focuses on advancing policy and regulatory solutions that seek to transform the energy system and move Connecticut towards a climate-safe, sustainable future. Recent work includes advocating for expanded investment in cost-effective energy efficiency for all fuels and analyzing greenhouse gas emissions trends in the Northeast.

Myths And Facts About Net Metering For Solar Energy

…In a report by the Massachusetts Net Metering and Solar Task Force, task force member Eric Krathwohl stated that economic benefits of solar installation exceed $14 billion, or 20 cents/kWh — close to the residential price of electricity in Massachusetts of 19.52 cents/kWh, according to the most recent data from the Energy Information Administration. Further, a report from the Acadia Center on the “value of solar” – which factors in climate benefits — found that the value that solar photovoltaic systems provide to the grid ranges between 22 to 28 cents/kWh, with additional societal benefits of 6.7 cents/kWh…

Acadia Center’s August Newsletter

A look at Acadia Center’s work in August. This newsletter includes information about Acadia Center’s comments to Connecticut DEEP on weatherization, the latest on our outreach efforts, and things to look for in the coming months.

New Statewide Coalition Pushes For Environmentally Friendly Energy Policies

…”Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources show that solar installations actually benefit customers by saving them tax and health care costs as well as reducing utility transmission distribution and energy purchasing costs,” Kilfoyle said. “The recent study by the Acadia Center shows that under the present net metering and incentive structure solar production is undervalued by a third…

RGGI Raises $152M; Again Shows How to Make the Economics of Carbon Reduction Work

…“The RGGI states’ success in reducing climate pollution from the power sector has paved the way for other states to adopt effective market-based climate programs,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center president. “RGGI stlates have created the blueprint for an effective and economically beneficial pathway to a clean energy future…

Stretching the Stretch Code

The USGBC MA Chapter, as part of our national agenda, joins with colleagues at Acadia Center and the Sierra Club to urge the Commonwealth to enact better building codes – in particular, a stronger stretch code. Recently, information was made public at a 9/8/15 meeting indicating the State’s regulatory agencies are not committed to real improvements of the stretch code, already two years delayed, to help those municipalities designated “Green Communities” reach their energy efficiency goals…

Northeast Carbon Trading Program Raises $152 Million on the Way to Clean Power Plan Compliance

Member states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) today announced the results of the 29th quarterly auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances. 25,374,294 CO2 allowances were sold at a clearing price of $6.02, which includes all 10,000,000 available allowances from the Cost Containment Reserve. This clearing price is 9% higher than the previous auction, and 23% higher than the clearing price from one year ago. The RGGI states have now raised $2.26 billion for reinvestment, the majority of which is used to fund energy efficiency and other consumer benefit programs. RGGI has been a successful model for reducing power sector emissions, and with reforms to ensure future environmental performance, it will be an effective means of complying with EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The results of this latest auction show that the RGGI market continues to thrive, with clearing prices increasing in seven of the last eight quarterly auctions. These rising prices are indicative of confidence in the program’s future. RGGI’s first-in-nation model for reducing CO2 from the power sector has outperformed expectations, both in terms of environmental and economic results. As states explore their options for compliance with EPA’s Clean Power Plan, RGGI’s flexible, market-based approach to regulating power plants has gained increasing attention.

“The RGGI states’ success in reducing climate pollution from the power sector has paved the way for other states to adopt effective market-based climate programs,” said Acadia Center President, Daniel Sosland. “RGGI states have created the blueprint for an effective and economically beneficial pathway to a clean energy future.”

In crafting the final version of the Clean Power Plan, EPA took measures to support the use of programs like RGGI. EPA provided final targets in mass-based terms, facilitated the use of multi-state trading programs, and allowed states to treat emissions from new and existing units equally. In sum, these steps from EPA will let the RGGI states comply by using their existing model, with a few minor changes.

One of these changes will be a revision to the Cost Containment Reserve.

“The purchase of ten million Cost Containment Reserve allowances in Auction 29 demonstrates the need for reform of this price control mechanism” said Jordan Stutt, Policy Analyst with Acadia Center. As currently structured, additional allowances from the Cost Containment Reserve become available for purchase when price thresholds are met. “These additional allowances have now been made available in both years of the Cost Containment Reserve’s existence. Allowances purchased from the Cost Containment Reserve inflate the RGGI cap, undermining the program’s environmental performance and complicating the process of demonstrating compliance with the Clean Power Plan and state GHG reduction requirements.”

Since RGGI’s launch, emissions have declined significantly as electric generation from natural gas and renewables has displaced carbon-intensive generation from coal and oil, and as investments in energy efficiency have reduced demand for power. Declining emissions have been accompanied by a drop in electricity prices, which are down 2% on average across the region since RGGI took effect in 2009.

“RGGI has demonstrated that smart policy can drive emissions reductions in the power sector while generating consumer benefits,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “The continued increase in RGGI allowance prices will help to accelerate the transition to a cleaner power sector.”

Additional information on RGGI’s performance to date, and role in EPA’s regulatory process are described in Acadia Center’s July, 2015 report: RGGI: A Model Program for the Power Sector

RGGI Overview:

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states reduce CO2 emissions by setting an overall limit on emissions “allowances” which permit power plants to dispose of CO2 in the atmosphere. States sell allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in consumer benefit programs: energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other programs.

The official RGGI web site is:



Jordan Stutt, Policy Analyst                                            , (617) 742-0054 x105

Kiernan Dunlop, Communications Associate       , (617) 742- 0054 x107


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.