Will FERC’s Latest Order Open the Door for Distributed Resources?

It is time for the U.S. electric grid to start thinking small. The grid of the future will be built around distributed energy resources (DERs) such as rooftop solar, neighborhood battery storage, and advanced energy efficiency and smart appliances, capable of responding to fluctuations in electricity demand to optimize energy use and supply. DERs encompass a wide variety of technologies – they can be small-scale energy generators, smart appliances, renewable and non-renewable generating resources. In aggregation, DERs contribute to a more distributed, decentralized, and responsive grid. They also reduce demand for electricity from fossil fuel plants, avoiding the need for
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Hammering out Maine’s Climate Action Plan: Deep Dive into the BIH Working Group Recommendations

Maine’s Climate Action plan is being hammered out this year by the Maine Climate Council, convened by Gov. Janet Mills. The Climate Action Plan will be a roadmap to achieving Maine’s goals of reaching 45% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030, and at least 80% by 2050. This blog takes you on a deep dive into the process of creating recommendations for the Action Plan, particularly for the Buildings, Infrastructure, and Housing Working Group. You can access more of the recommendations here. In May, despite the coronavirus, the Acadia Center and its partners convened a (virtual) meeting of more than
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New York State Moves to Tackle Grid Decarbonization

New York has some of the most aggressive electrical grid decarbonization goals of any state. In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), a broad legislative mandate that requires the state to source 70% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030 (70 by ’30 goal) and achieve 100% zero-emissions electricity by 2040. Meeting the 2030 goal requires a significant increase in renewable energy procurement from offshore wind, solar, and hydropower, as well as reforms to the regulatory structure of the state’s electricity markets. On June 18, 2020, the New York State Energy Research and
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E-Bikes: Another Path to Clean Mobility

Since 2015, the Massachusetts Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Commission has been working to expand access to non-polluting vehicles and chart a course towards a cleaner transportation future. At last Thursday’s ZEV Commission meeting, Acadia Center, Conservation Law Foundation and Sierra Club delivered recommendations to accelerate that transition to a clean transportation future (on behalf of 17 Massachusetts organizations) which included recommendations to increase access to another electric mobility option: e-bikes. E-bikes (electric bicycles) are bicycles equipped with a battery, giving riders an electric assist as they pedal. The boost from an e-bike’s battery helps riders cover longer distances and climb hills
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The Maine Climate Council: What You Need to Know Webinar

May 27, 2020, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Despite the public health crisis, the Maine Climate Council has continued its important work developing a climate action plan for Maine. The Climate Council’s six working groups have been meeting virtually over the last few months to develop their recommendations to reduce Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions at least 80% by 2050, a target set it Maine law. Please join Acadia Center and our partners for a Zoom webinar to hear from Maine Climate Council working group members about strategies they are developing to help Maine meet its climate goals and how you can
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Implications for a Downward Trend in Emissions

Numerous news stories have documented how the pandemic and resulting economic crisis have reduced air pollution around the world , bringing emissions down globally by 17%. As Americans have been forced to shelter in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, the air around us has become noticeably cleaner and climate pollution has fallen. While no one would seek to lower emissions in this way, a recent article in the Boston Globe explored the extent of the pandemic-induced pollution reduction while highlighting opportunities to rebuild a cleaner, more equitable economy. “[E]missions from cars, trucks, and airplanes have declined in metropolitan
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Shifting to An Online Work World

In an unprecedented time of change and uncertainty, the suspension of many functions of government and imposition of social distancing has resulted in a surprising amount of creative and effective interactions among stakeholders, government agencies, and coalitions. Moving to online, virtual meetings has presented opportunities to interact with new audiences and deepen relationships with stakeholders. Acadia Center’s experience with online collaboration across its offices has prepared the organization well for this transition to virtual public hearings and stakeholder processes. The crisis has reinforced our commitment to advance effective, equitable reform solutions across the region and has prompted our staff to
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Home Electric meter in plastic case showing watthours used

The Public Utilities Commission and Why it Must be Reformed

State Public Utility Commissions (PUCs) regulate the rates and services of public utilities that provide electricity, gas, sewage, or water. These governing bodies formed to provide oversight to utilities to whom they have granted monopoly markets. Generally, the mission of PUCs is to approximate the prices of a competitive market, which requires balancing the needs of consumers and the utility. Traditionally, PUCs are charged to keep rates low, ensure reliable supply, and allow utilities the opportunity to earn a profit on their business. To make swift progress on climate goals, we must change the way PUCs respond to clean energy
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The Northeast’s New Year’s Resolution – Get Serious about Climate Change

January is a great time to start fresh. Whether it’s signing up for a new gym membership or cutting back on social media, the New Year is an opportunity to envision a better future and eliminate bad habits. And the Northeast has one that can’t be ignored for another year: an ongoing, dangerous reliance on fossil fuels. In 2020, Acadia Center’s resolution is to help the region break up with dirty energy. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) served up a harsh reality check: the world has until just 2030 to act to avoid the
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Clearing the Path for Clean Heating

With the winter solstice just around the corner, the Northeast’s heating season is in full swing and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from buildings are at their seasonal high. About 85% of homes in New England and New York rely on fossil fuels for heating, and this consumption accounts for about 30% of total regional GHGs. Fossil fuel use for heating also poses health and safety dangers like carbon monoxide poisoning and risk of explosion. The average home in the Northeast spends $1,000-$2,600 on heating fuel every winter, and because the Northeast imports all of its fossil fuels, this money flows
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