As market takes shape, Connecticut makes its first moves on offshore wind

The expansion of the offshore wind industry in the region has meant more competition, and more competition means lower costs. Emily Lewis, a policy analyst at the Acadia Center, said there’s a common misconception that offshore wind is more expensive than other forms of energy, when it’s actually quite cost competitive. “The contracts that utilities entering with offshore wind companies are longer term,” she says. “Through that, they’re getting lower prices.” The data is minimal right now, but her suspicion seems to be right. The price for the Block Island Wind Project was $0.244 per kWh, while the price for in-progress
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Op-ed: Rising transportation emissions are a threat to Maine’s environment

When National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Secretary Elaine Chao and acting Environmental Protection Administration Secretary Andrew Wheeler announced their agencies’ rollback of federal clean car standards in August, they pledged to “ Make Cars Great Again.” In doing so, they have threatened our air, water and public health — and will increase costs for consumers. Federal clean car standards directly reduce the amount of fuel burned for transportation by requiring auto manufacturers to increase fuel efficiency, saving consumers money and limiting transportation emissions. Consumer Reports says the proposed rollback could cost consumers as much as $100 billion, and the increased pollution is definitely
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Merger of two wind power companies is good news for Connecticut, supporters say

Connecticut officials already have issued another request for proposals in an effort to meet the state’s clean energy goals for the future. Three offshore wind bids were among the dozens submitted and supporters of wind power in Connecticut are optimistic that request for proposals will yield further wind power projects to add to the state’s energy mix. “These bids give Connecticut another opportunity to affordably meet its clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction requirements by bringing more offshore wind online,” said Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst at Acadia Center. “With this procurement, Connecticut should aim to keep pace with its
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Electric vehicle advocates urge Connecticut regulators not to forget sector in grid planning

A group of clean-energy proponents are calling on state utility regulators to make sure plans for modernizing the state’s power grid include the necessary components to accommodate the expected increase in use of electric vehicles. […] “EVs are a key piece of Connecticut’s clean energy future, and the state’s utilities can play a role in advancing these vehicles,” said Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst for Acadia Center, a regional environmental group with an office in Connecticut. “Through this grid modernization proceeding, PURA can set the stage for utility engagement that supports EV deployment, protects consumers, and shares the benefits of
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Rhode Island charts a course for a cleaner grid

The agencies spent eight months engaging with more than 200 people and 65 organizations in the process, including local residents, national experts, clean energy companies, nonprofits, and Rhode Island’s utility, National Grid. The aim was a blueprint outlining how the state can achieve a cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable energy system—one that adapts and evolves as consumer demand and technology does. […] The decision received overwhelming support from stakeholders, including customer advocates and environmental advocacy organizations. “It’s a big first step,” said Mark LeBel, a staff attorney with the clean energy nonprofit Acadia Center, which was a stakeholder in the
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Another fleet of EV chargers approved in Mass.

National Grid can also collect on a performance incentive of $750,000 if 75 percent of the target number of chargers are successfully installed, and $1.2 million for 125 percent of the target. That feature drew criticism from groups including the state attorney general and the Acadia Center, which said the bonuses should be tied to metrics like increased electric vehicle adoption, emissions reductions and reduced costs. Massachusetts is aiming to get 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, and the number of EV chargers has been ticking steadily upward. As of a year ago, 1,158 Level 2 ports and
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New Rates, Energy Plan Approved for R.I. Electricity

After months of hearings and negotiations, an energy initiative called grid modernization is moving forward in Rhode Island, along with new gas and electricity rates. On Aug. 24 the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a new model for compensating National Grid for operating and maintaining utility poles, transmission lines, and substations. For the next three years a portion of National Grid’s revenue will also go to making the power grid more cost-efficient and accommodating to renewable power, electric vehicles, and energy storage. Read the full article from ecoRI News here.

Rhode Island approves National Grid modernization plan, rate increase

States are increasingly focused on efforts to transform the power sector, but regulators need to strike a delicate balance to ensure that customers are not over-burdened by costly grid modernization investments. The agreement puts Rhode Island “into a leadership role among New England states seeking to reform utility regulations,” according to a statement from Daniel Sosland, president of the Acadia Center. The final settlement represents a win for low-income customer advocates, most of whom will see a significant rate reduction. The current discount for income-eligible customers will be doubled to 25% of the total bill, with another 5% for customers who
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R.I regulators OK changes to electricity, gas rates

The settlement, approved unanimously by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission in an open meeting, gives the state’s dominant utility about one-third of its original $214.8 million request made last November and less than two-thirds of a revised request of $137.5 million that factored in changes to federal taxes by the Trump administration. The version of the settlement amended by the commission is also about $4.5 million lower than the initial iteration that was filed in June and resulted from negotiations between the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, National Grid, the state Office of Energy Resources and
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Connecticut Finally Makes a Commitment to Offshore Wind

The 200-megawatt project that DEEP officials selected in June represents only 3 percent of Connecticut’s electric load, according to Emily Lewis, a policy analyst with Acadia Center, a New England-based environmental group with offices in Hartford. The output is expected to power about 100,000 homes. Connecticut’s neighbors have far more ambitious offshore wind plans moving forward. New Jersey’s goal is to have 3,500 megawatts of power in its portfolio by 2032, for example. Massachusetts has been a trailblazer in the wind power movement. Even tiny Rhode Island — with less than a third of Connecticut’s population — is procuring 400
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