Last week Acadia Center hosted a Community Energy Forum in Westport, Connecticut. The forum raised awareness and helped educate participants about Acadia Center’s three reports EnergyVision, UtilityVision, Community|EnergyVision, and the clean energy revolution currently taking place.
The new ways we generate, deliver, and use energy offer communities and neighborhoods exciting opportunities to benefit from clean, efficient, and affordable energy at the local level and move away from increasing their overreliance on fossil fuels. However, reforming our existing and outdated utility model is necessary to enable these transformative community energy projects to flourish.
Speakers at the event included: Jamie Howland, Director, Energy Efficiency and Demand-Side Initiative, Acadia Center; Peter Boyd, Founder & CEO, Time4Good, and Member of the Green Task Force; and Mark Robbins, President, MHR Development, Clean Energy & Infrastructure Solutions. The panel of speakers discussed Acadia Center’s Community|EnergyVision publication – a comprehensive framework that outlines a pathway for communities to take control of the energy system, community energy efforts in Westport, and challenges of developing clean energy projects at the local level. Boyd, a Westport resident, talked about the importance of Net Zero, producing as much energy as you use, and Westport’s recent goal to become a Net Zero community by 2050. Robbins, a Westport businessman, spoke about his experiences developing community clean energy projects and the policy challenges he faced.
After learning about community energy and the importance of investing in local clean energy initiatives, participants engaged with a map of Westport helping to visualize these local, clean energy innovations within their community. Participants placed stickers representing various community energy initiatives (e.g. Community Solar, Microgrids, Storage, etc) onto the map of Westport at locations within the community like schools, the Town Hall, and the train station.
Westport Now, a local news outlet also covered the event with a great piece here.
The Westport Community Energy Forum is the first in a series of Community Energy Forums Acadia Center is planning to hold throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island seeking to educate and increase support for energy issues at the local level while working towards state level policy changes needed to enable community energy.
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.
New Hampshire’s cheapest source of energy is not megawatts but “negawatts” – the use of energy efficiency measures to squeeze more work out of each unit of electricity or natural gas we consume…The nonprofit Acadia Center determined last year that during the harsh winter of 2013-2014, wholesale electricity prices in New England would have been 24 percent higher without the effect of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs…
…Earlier this week, automakers, utility companies, and environmental organizations sent a letter of support for the inclusion of a strong electric vehicle (EV) consumer rebate in the budget bill currently being considered by the New York governor and legislature. The unlikely allies came together in support of a consumer rebate for electric vehicles, which was included last week in both the Assembly and Senate budget resolutions. Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie are expected to negotiate a final budget bill this week…Signers of the joint letter include some unlikely allies: the Sierra Club, Acadia Center, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), ChargePoint, Conservation Law Foundation, Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, General Motors…
…The auditorium forum was orchestrated by state Rep. Johnathan Steinberg, who had invited Acadia Center, a nonprofit clean energy advocacy group, to discuss alternative energy advancements over the past decade, plus future efforts…members on tonight’s panel included Jamie Howland, Acadia’s director of energy efficiency and demand side initiative, and Mark Robbins, president of MHR Development, Clean Energy & Infrastructure Solutions…
…States play a big role keeping on the pressure to save energy. Governors are taking the long-term economic view. “One of the long-term, state- and region-wide benefits of investing in energy efficiency is that it reduces demand and helps avoid the need to invest in additional infrastructure,” said Jamie Howland, director Acadia Climate and Energy Analysis Center…
…In April 2015, Acadia Center issued a study of the value of local solar generation in Massachusetts, finding more than 22 cents per kWh of value for ratepayers through reduced energy and infrastructure costs, lower fuel prices, and lowering the cost of compliance with the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas requirements. They contend this value is higher than the current retail rate provided through net metering…
7:05 pmWelcome & Introductions Tyler Soleau, Outreach Director, Acadia Center
7:15Expert Session – How Community|EnergyVision help Connecticut communities better manage their energy needs?
An emerging revolution in the ways we generate, deliver, and use energy offers new and exciting opportunities to communities and neighborhoods to benefit from local, clean, and efficient energy options. This panel will explore different aspects of this revolution, including Community|EnergyVision, reforms we can make to our existing and outdated utility model, opportunities and challenges for enabling clean energy projects at the local level, and notable trends and developments in community energy.
Jamie Howland, Director, Energy Efficiency & Demand-Side Initiative, Acadia Center
Peter Boyd, Founder & CEO, Time4Good, and Member of the Green Task Force*
Mark Robbins, President, MHR Development, Clean Energy & Infrastructure Solutions
BOSTON, MA – Yesterday evening, a bipartisan group of 100 members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives sent a letter 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, particularly for community shared solar, municipalities, 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.
“Acadia Center would like to thank House members for speaking up in defense of the demonstrated value of solar energy.” said Daniel L. Sosland, Acadia Center President. “We strongly support all of the concepts raised in the letter. In particular, preserving access to solar for communities and all ratepayers is a key part of the clean energy future for Massachusetts.”
In April 2015, Acadia Center issued a study of the value of local solar generation in Massachusetts, finding more than 22 cents per kWh of value for ratepayers through reduced energy and infrastructure costs, lower fuel prices, and lowering the cost of compliance with the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas requirements. This value is higher than the current retail rate provided through net metering.
Mark LeBel, Staff Attorney at Acadia Center, said: “Acadia Center’s studies and numerous others across the country show that solar provides significant value to ratepayers, major societal benefits, and good local jobs. Any changes to net metering should be based on an official public study of the costs and benefits of solar generation and, until that happens, key project types should be kept at the retail rate. As the legislators rightly note, the place to cut costs is the SREC program. We hope that this petition leads to a prompt result from the Conference Committee that preserves key elements of the Commonwealth’s solar programs and appropriately reduces costs.”
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.
…Daniel Sosland, president of the Acadia Center, said technology is creating a historic transition in the electric industry. “The question is how fast will we get there. Will markets drive changes? Will policy keep up?” he asked. “The system that we’ve built and has been reliable is a one-way power flow … but in the system we’re building now, the centerpiece is in your community. It’s in your home, it’s in your place of work…”