Bipartisan multistate program cutting down global warming pollution from power plants

Today, a partnership of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states announced that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is delivering stronger results than ever when it comes to capping greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and raising funds to invest in clean energy. Analysis by the Acadia Center shows that in the first six months of 2019, planet-warming pollution from power plants in the RGGI states were 19.7 percent below emissions in 2018, the lowest since the program began. Read the full article from Environment America here.

Cap and trade for transportation must consider environmental justice, advocates say

Transportation makes up 40% of the carbon emissions in the region, as compared to the 28% that comes from the electricity sector, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. A concerted effort to lower that number could help mitigate climate change, fund widespread improvements to transportation infrastructure, and generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity, supporters say. In Connecticut alone, the economic impact of a market-based emissions reduction system could top $7 billion, according to a report by the nonprofit environmental group the Acadia Center. … “It shows that these states are willing to work together,” said Jordan
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Connecticut governor calls for 100% carbon-free power by 2040

Specifically, advocates and lawmakers were disappointed by the administration’s commitment to building a new natural gas plant. “It’s not a bridge fuel. It’s a fossil fuel,” Senior Policy Advocate and Connecticut Director at Acadia Center Amy McLean Salls told Utility Dive. “And if we’re going to be meeting our goals, then we have to be not building new gas infrastructure.” Read the full article from Utility Dive here.

New Transportation Policy Big Win for Connecticut

The report from the Acadia Center shows that a well-designed transportation cap-and-invest policy could help the state put more than $2.7 billion into clean transportation by 2030, generating more than 23,000 jobs and $7 billion in economic activity. Like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that generates funds to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) would auction pollution credits linked to wholesale transportation fuels. According to Amy McLean Salls, the Acadia Center’s Connecticut director, transportation accounts for 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. “By reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and putting money into clean
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Rooftop Solar Bills Advance in Massachusetts

“Our building sector is going to be one of the toughest sectors to fully decarbonize,” Deborah Donovan, Massachusetts director for the Acadia Center, an environmental nonprofit, explained to Energy News. “We don’t want to miss any opportunities on buildings we’re going to be living with for the next 50 to 80 years.” Read the full article from Nonprofit Quarterly here. 

Environmental groups accuse state of ‘deeply flawed’ review of biomass changes; call for more input

The groups submitted the request in a four-page letter dated Aug. 1, to Kathleen A. Theoharides, state secretary for the Department of Energy Resources. It was signed by representatives of the Acadia Center, the Conservation Law Foundation, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, the Massachusetts Sierra Club, Partnership for Policy Integrity, and RESTORE: The North Woods. The groups alleged that the process used thus far in evaluating state regulation changes has been “deeply flawed.” Read the full article from Mass Live here. 

Raid or reinvest? Connecticut, Vermont take different paths on efficiency funds

In Connecticut, energy efficiency efforts have been largely overshadowed in recent years by the state’s “big push” to get homeowners to switch from oil heating to natural gas, said Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut director for the Acadia Center. A lack of awareness around the payback from energy efficiency programs left the funds vulnerable to diversion, a circumstance advocates worked hard to correct during the most recent legislative session. Read the full article from Energy News Network here.

Performance-based regulation: Seeking the new utility business model

“The Eversource rate case has shown us that Massachusetts utilities can get automatic rate increases without doing anything differently,” Acadia Center Attorney Amy Boyd emailed Utility Dive. … The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission’s landmark PIM Principles, proposed by Commissioner Abigail Anthony, are “a framework on PIM design to guide regulators and stakeholders,” Regulatory Associate Project Attorney Mark LeBel, who intervened in the rate case as an attorney with advocacy group Acadia Center, told Utility Dive. Read the full article from Utility Dive here.

Raising NH’s solar standards would yield many economic benefits

Many reputable studies debunk a common misconception regarding solar power by providing evidence in support of “reverse cost shifts” – that is, net savings to all ratepayers. A 2017 study conducted by the state Public Utilities Commission found no evidence of a cost-shift from solar generators to ratepayers. In fact, the Acadia Center estimates the value of solar energy to all grid-dependent ratepayers at 19-24 cents/kWh, not including an additional 6.7 cents/kWh in societal value. These benefits are greater than half the full retail value of conventionally-generated electricity. Read the full article from the NH Business Review here.

Maine Enacts Beneficial Electrification Law; State to Issue RFP for Pilot Projects

“Passage of the beneficial electrification bill shows that Maine is serious about its clean energy and climate goals,” said Emily Lewis ,Acadia Center’s climate and energy analysis center director. “Coupled with the heat pump market transformation bill, Maine is now poised to attack its two biggest sources of greenhouse gases – buildings and transportation. “These bills offer a one-two punch by setting the state up for near-term progress through residential heat pump targets and pilot electric vehicle programs, while also establishing a path for long-term solutions by studying barriers to electrifying these sectors,” she told Microgrid Knowledge. Read the full article
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