Hartford Capital Building

Connecticut’s Emissions Reduction Opportunity

Connecticut’s transportation system – the network of highways, trains, public transit, and walking and biking corridors – is vital to the state’s economy as it facilitates movement of goods and connects people to jobs and opportunities.  However, the system needs critical updates to continue to support the state.   At the same time, the transportation system is the largest source (41%) of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions (“GHGs”), which must be reduced for the state to meet its climate commitments.    These two challenges of improving the transportation system and reducing GHGs can be addressed by applying a policy model that has been successfully used to clean up electricity generation and raise funds through emissions reductions.   The Cap and Invest Model The
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Clearing the Air: Long-Term Trends and Context for New England’s Electricity Grid

Some entities and stakeholders have raised concerns about the environmental performance of New England’s electricity system during a particularly cold multi-week period in December 2017 and January 2018. Specifically, they have called attention to emissions due to the amount of oil and coal used for electricity generation during that time. Acadia Center takes these concerns very seriously and advocates strongly for reducing pollution that hurts public health and the climate in order to meet the region’s science-based requirements. In addition, some of these stakeholders are advancing a specific proposal that they argue would solve the region’s emissions issues, a multi-billion-dollar
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CT Businesses Have a Message to Legislators: Restore the Energy Efficiency Fund

Connecticut’s high-quality energy efficiency programs help many businesses save money, improve their bottom line, create new jobs that pay well, and compete locally and nationally. Last year alone, over 6,000 in-state businesses benefited from these crucial programs. Helping businesses cut costly energy waste also helps grow Connecticut’s economy, as each $1 spent by these energy efficiency programs produces $7 in economic growth. That’s an unparalleled return on investment for the Nutmeg State. Unfortunately, Connecticut took a major step backwards on efficiency near the end of last year. Under extreme fiscal pressure, the General Assembly diverted $127 million in ratepayer funding
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Energy Efficiency Is Working in New England

Over the past few years, electric consumption has been declining in New England even as the population and economy have grown. This is due in large part to energy efficiency (EE) gains, which have dramatically reduced the amount of electricity consumed in the region and are projected to do so even more in the future. Declines in peak demand The hour of highest electricity demand in New England determines the region’s infrastructure needs. The system is built to ensure it can reliably supply electricity during that hour, which usually occurs on a hot summer weekday. For the first time ever,
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For Fairer Electric Bills, Lower Fixed Charges

Residential electricity rates are typically comprised of two basic parts — a volumetric charge based on energy used and a monthly fixed charge, which is typically referred to as a customer charge. Customer charges are flat fees that every customer pays, regardless of the amount of electricity or gas used. Because utilities have a fixed revenue requirement, higher customer charges lead to lower volumetric charges, and vice versa. Over the past several years, utilities across the country have pushed for higher customer charges, in part because they provide a guaranteed revenue stream. Acadia Center has developed materials showing that fixed charges
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An EnergyVision for Puerto Rico

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, it plunged the island into a devastating power outage. This NOAA satellite photo shows visible lights in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands before the storm (July 24) and after (October 13). It took two months to restore more than half of normal peak load electricity, as of early-December, almost a third of households are still in the dark. In May, Acadia Center released EnergyVision 2030: Transitioning to a Low-Emissions Energy System, a comprehensive analysis that demonstrates how seven Northeast states can spur use of market-ready technologies that empower consumers,
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Action Guide Identifies Barriers to Community Energy—Resilient Microgrids Could Have Helped Maine Bounce Back from Storm Damage

Of the many economic, energy, and environmental benefits of a clean, modernized community energy system, one might stand out for electric customers across the Northeast right now: resiliency. More than 1.5 million homes lost power when hurricane-force winds and torrential rain battered New England in late October. In Maine, toppled trees blocked roads, damaged homes and cars, and pulled down power lines, contributing to outages that left nearly two-thirds of the state without power. The emergency response was hardly a picture of resilience: despite the efforts of more than 3,000 state agency and utility workers from 14 states and three Canadian provinces, it took
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Acadia Center Strengthens New York Office and Hires New York State Director

It is an exciting time for clean energy issues in New York. New York’s ongoing Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, its goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030, and its continued participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative provide key elements for the future of the state’s energy system. Acadia Center’s recently completed report, EnergyVision 2030, shows that New York can reduce emissions 45% and be on a path to a clean energy system by the year 2030 if the state acts now to further strengthen its commitment to clean energy technologies. To facilitate the action necessary to achieve
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No. 1 on Our List of Back to School Supplies: Electric School Buses

The beginning of September signifies the beginning of the school year for many students. Across the country, 26 million, or over half of school-aged children are transported by 480,000 school buses.1 In an average school year, each bus travels about 12,000 miles, using 1,714 gallons of diesel fuel2 and producing about 17 MMT of CO2 emissions,3 as well as other harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Electric school buses offer a viable alternative to diesel buses, and offer a solution to the health and environmental impacts of burning diesel fuel. A relatively new option, electric school buses are
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Sustainable Transportation Solutions for Maine

Maine’s climate and transportation policymaking is at a critical juncture. Last week, the Governor’s Energy Office convened an expert task force of private, public, and non-profit stakeholders to consider the challenges and opportunities ahead and to develop the Maine Energy Roadmap. The group faced complex and seemingly contradictory goals. Through one lens, maturing transportation technologies are transforming the marketplace. Most major automakers already offer electric vehicles, dozens of additional long-range, reasonably-priced models are in development, and Volvo will sell only hybrid or electric vehicles starting in 2019.  As options expand, battery ranges increase, and costs fall, Maine consumers will increasingly
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