The Northeast is poised to regain momentum on clean energy

A bloc of states from Maine to New Jersey are stitched together by shared power sources and an interdependent set of economies, highways, and waterways. They moved in unison in the earliest throes of clean energy policy. But in recent years, politics has peeled off some while others have surged ahead. Now some of the smallest and most unlikely players are helping to get everyone moving together again. Read the full article from Yale Climate Connections here.

As states look to cut transportation emissions, RGGI offers a model — and room to improve

As a group of Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states begins to design a system to curb regional transportation emissions, planners are expected to turn to the decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as a model. Experts say the initiative can provide a good starting point, but that important questions must be answered to translate the concept to transportation. “We can’t simply cut and paste [the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] and apply it to the transportation sector,” said Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director at environmental nonprofit the Acadia Center. “There are a lot of considerations that need to be made which are specific
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Solar policy fight is picking up where it left off

Anyone who thought legislation passed last year would extinguish controversy over the transition away from that widely used method of compensating solar energy customers for their excess power would have been wrong. […] The direction from the Lamont administration has been clear, said Acadia Center Connecticut Director Amy McLean Salls. “I don’t understand why, in my opinion, we’re regressing back to a place where we are not paying attention to Lamont administration goals,” she said. “We need to be moving forward here and fixing the problem.” Read the full article from the CT Mirror here.

New Massachusetts energy efficiency plan to push storage, heat pumps and ‘demand response’

The 2019-2021 energy efficiency plan, approved by the Department of Public Utilities on Jan. 29, would cut aggregate retail electricity sales by 2.7 percent and cut natural gas sales by 1.25 percent within the three-year period. The plan provides new tools for Mass Save, the energy efficiency program run by the state’s utilities. Homeowners will see incentives to switch from oil and propane furnaces to electric heat pumps. Commercial and industrial energy storage will be encouraged; “strategic electrification” will get a boost; and “demand response” — where customers save money by curtailing or shifting consumption during periods of heavy power
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Sea Change: Maine should act more like the renewable energy dynamo it is

The fastest-growing sources of electricity generation in the coming two years will be solar and wind, a federal report projects, as prices keep dropping and new projects come online. These power sources are gaining ground wherever they’re allowed to take hold. In a vivid example of “what’s possible when you infuse a can-do spirit with policy,” Massachusetts has “blown past” goals once thought unrealistic, says John Rogers, a senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy organization. Massachusetts now has nearly six times more solar power installed per person than Maine, according to the Acadia Center, a nonprofit promoting clean-energy efforts
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State eyes investments in electrifying vehicle fleet

Rep. Roland Lemar, D-New Haven, who co-chairs the Transportation Committee, said lawmakers soon would introduce legislation requiring half of the state’s light-duty fleet, and 30 percent of public transit vehicles, to be electric by 2030. “We know that’s just the start,” Lemar said, adding that state cooperation with advocates and the private sector would create jobs, boost the economy and improve the environment. Emily Lewis, a policy analyst with the Acadia Center, said electric vehicles reduce emissions by about 75 percent compared to standard gas vehicles. She called electrifying the state fleet “a good place to start,” noting the state
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No ‘big splash’ as Connecticut continues slow wade into offshore wind

On Dec. 28, then-Gov. Dannel Malloy and former Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee announced 100 megawatts from Revolution Wind as the sole offshore wind project. Two nuclear plants and nine solar projects were among the other successful bids. “What’s curious is they went with the smallest rather than the largest of orders,” said Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst with the environmental nonprofit Acadia Center. “This seems like the next incremental step to take. It wasn’t the big splash some of us were hoping for.” Read the full article from Energy New Network here.

What you need to know about the CMP transmission line proposed for Maine

The New England Clean Energy Connect would run from the Canadian border to Lewiston. It would be a high voltage, direct current transmission line that would run 145 miles from Beattie Township, a small community on the Canadian border, to Lewiston, where it would connect to the New England electric grid. The line is expected to cost $950 million, which would be paid for by Massachusetts. Most of the line would run overhead on 100-foot towers. It would, however, run under the Kennebec River between Moxie Gore and West Forks, a concession Central Maine Power made to residents worried about
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New Jersey looks to rejoin RGGI to tackle greenhouse gas emissions

But Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director at Acadia Center, a clean-energy research and advocacy organization with offices throughout the northeastern United States, said those fears are unfounded. “The doomsday concerns about electricity prices and competitiveness in the region have not come true,” he said. Emissions from power plants have dropped 51 percent from 2008, a year before the program started, to 2017, he said. Electricity prices in the region have fallen nearly 6 percent, while they have increased by nearly 9 percent in the rest of the country. Read the full article from WHYY here.

A Regional Push to Clean Up Cars, Trucks and Mass Transit

The effort isn’t unprecedented: California already has a plan to curb transportation emissions, and many East Coast states are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Since 2009, the initiative known as “Reggie” has capped the overall carbon dioxide produced by power plants and required plant operators to buy permits for their emissions. Power plant emissions have fallen by 51 percent in the region since the program began, according to an analysis of RGGI data by the Acadia Center, an environmental nonprofit with offices in five Northeast states. States have used the permit proceeds to weatherize homes and to
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