Acadia Center applauds Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Governors for regional action to reduce tailpipe pollution.

BOSTON — Today, three states and the District of Columbia announced their plan for a regional program to cut tailpipe pollution while delivering much-needed investments in clean, equitable, and modern transportation options. Working together through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. will participate in a cap-and-invest program to revitalize their transportation system and rein in pollution from vehicles, which are the country’s largest source of carbon emissions.

“Through their collaboration on TCI, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island will deliver cleaner, fairer and better transportation options for their residents and cleaner air in the most polluted communities, said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “These states are providing the kind of bipartisan leadership on climate change in the region that we all deserve. Acadia Center is committed to advancing a clean energy future that works for everyone, and major improvements in the transportation sector will help achieve this vision.”

The four jurisdictions participating in the program need to achieve significant emission reductions from the transportation sector to meet their ambitious climate targets. Transportation pollution accounts for 46% of the CO2 emissions across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., more than double the contribution to climate change from any other sector. By participating in the TCI program, these jurisdictions will be able to invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year in clean transportation projects that create jobs, boost the economy, improve mobility, and slash pollution.

The collaboration between Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. represents action at a substantial scale. With a combined GDP of $1.09 trillion, the participating jurisdictions would be the world’s 15th largest economy, similar in output to Mexico. And the scale of this project is likely to grow. In a separate document released today, the four MOU signatories were joined by eight other TCI member states to assert that they are collaborating on the next steps of the cap-and-invest program’s development, suggesting that the program will expand beyond southern New England and D.C. Notably, that list includes a new TCI member, North Carolina, demonstrating the growing appeal of the TCI framework. All together, these jurisdictions would represent the world’s third largest economy.

As for the details, the TCI jurisdictions have incorporated stakeholder feedback to make the program more equitable and ambitious. Important new provisions have been added to last year’s draft MOU to ensure that overburdened and underserved communities receive at least their proportional share of TCI proceeds, that those communities are included in investment decisions and program design, and that air quality monitors will be deployed in the most polluted communities.

“These commitments represent significant progress at the regional level, but states have much more work to do to develop stakeholder processes and policy solutions that meet the needs of their communities,” said Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center’s Carbon Programs Director. “While an equitably-designed TCI program should benefit overburdened and underserved communities, TCI is just one piece of the puzzle: other action will still be necessary to deliver transportation justice.”

The MOU also charts an ambitious emission reduction trajectory. The emissions cap will decline by 30% from 2023 to 2032, consistent with recommendations Acadia Center submitted on behalf of 200 organizations in November. Reducing CO2 emissions from transportation fuels by 30% will help states achieve their climate targets while delivering critical improvements in air quality. The TCI program and additional transportation policies are key to realizing Acadia Center’s vision for a just and sustainable future.

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 Acadia Center is a regionally-focused, non-profit organization headquartered in Rockport, Maine, working to advance a clean energy future that benefits all.


Media Contacts

Massachusetts and Regional:
Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 845-702- 5217

Connecticut:
Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate
amcleansalls@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x204

Rhode Island:
Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director and Staff Attorney
hwebster@acadiacenter.org, 401-276-0600 x402

Maine:
Jeff Marks, Maine Director & Senior Policy Advocate
jmarks@acadiacenter.org, 207-236-6470 x304

Northeast States Again Rank High in 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, but Massachusetts’ Fall to Second Place Highlights Need for Continued Improvement

Rockport, ME – Massachusetts has lost its energy efficiency crown to California, after 9 years on top of the national rankings for efficiency, according to rankings released by the nonpartisan American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). As they have for the past decade, Northeast states performed well in the 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, with Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New York filling out the top 5 spots, respectively. Connecticut ranked #7, Maine at #16, and New Hampshire at #18, a slight improvement from the 2019 Scorecard, which ranked New Hampshire at #20.

“Investing in energy efficiency is the best way to reduce the energy burdens faced by consumers in the Northeast,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “The region’s continued strong showing in the national rankings is due to the last decade of successful efficiency policies and programs in these states – helping the Northeast lower carbon pollution while providing over $49 billion in economic and public health benefits, region-wide.”

“Massachusetts’ falling to #2 highlights the need to not rest on past success, but instead keep innovating to ensure that the programs are helping to deliver clean, healthy buildings in our poorest neighborhoods, too,” Sosland continued.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on state budgets and policy agendas across the country and has forced hundreds of thousands of people in the clean energy sector out of wo rk, especially energy efficiency contractors. The pandemic has slowed progress on new energy efficiency legislation, and yet, existing efficiency policies and appliance standards continued to help reduce energy use and emissions and save consumers money.

The ACEEE rankings, released annually, are based on scoring in categories including state government initiatives, building efficiency policies, utility and public benefits programs, transportation policies, and appliance standards. The Northeast’s success in the rankings is largely the result of a policy championed by Acadia Center that requires programs to pursue all energy efficiency that is cost-effective, rather than defining a prescribed level of funding, and to involve stakeholders in developing efficiency plans. ACEEE awarded Massachusetts and Rhode Island a near-perfect score in the utility program category, praising the programs for being the largest contributor to state greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. And both Massachusetts and New York have begun to incorporate fuel-neutral savings goals that better align efficiency programs with electrification.

“Over the last ten years, Massachusetts’ strong customer-funded efficiency programs have grown the economy while lowering electric and gas bills and cutting emissions – and they’ll continue to do so.  Massachusetts lost its first-place rank largely because it has not adopted appliance efficiency standards – an area heavily weighted under the scoring rubric,” said Amy Boyd, Director of Policy at Acadia Center and a member of the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council. “Massachusetts should adopt appliance standards, but also take this shift in rankings as a wake-up call that even though our utility efficiency programs are among the best in the nation, they’re not perfect. We need to ensure that all communities and customers can access the efficiency programs and include climate as one of the program’s explicit statutory goals.”

The Northeast is a national leader in energy efficiency, but states can and must do more. Acadia Center is working with states in the Northeast to keep energy efficiency funding high, serve low- and moderate-income communities better, and align energy efficiency programs more closely with climate targets.

Most importantly, many households in the Northeast—particularly those living in older buildings in environmental justice communities—suffer from excessive indoor air pollution, unhealthy temperature swings, and other inadequate living conditions. The communities most impacted by this substandard housing disproportionately consist of people of color. These buildings also emit more climate pollutants than better-weatherized housing. Existing efficiency programs must embrace this chance to marry traditional energy savings with crucially important equity and climate goals. Acadia Center is working with a wide range of partner organizations on policy changes that will enable efficiency programs to seize this opportunity.

Acadia Center Applauds Regional Coordination to Reduce Tailpipe Pollution, Urges Ambitious, Equitable Action

TCI Announcement Demonstrates Benefits of Transition to Clean Transportation, Highlights Need for Strong Program

BOSTON — Today, 12 states and the District of Columbia announced the details of a new, regional program to cut tailpipe pollution while delivering much needed investment in clean, equitable, modern transportation options. Working together through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), these jurisdictions[1] have developed a multi-state cap-and-invest program to address rising transportation emissions and the need for greater investment in a clean transportation future.

Launching this program will be a major accomplishment at a substantial scale: the TCI region, were it a single country, would represent the world’s third largest economy.

“States are leading the way with subnational action on climate,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “By working together, this region can achieve globally significant carbon reductions while delivering billions of dollars each year for grants and investments to help every community thrive. From rural towns to the region’s biggest cities, TCI can fund investments to make better transportation options more accessible, affordable, and reliable.”

Along with the policy details in the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the TCI jurisdictions released modeling results demonstrating that regional action to reduce transportation pollution will deliver economic, health, and environmental benefits. Under the most ambitious policy analyzed, the region would see the following impacts in 2032:

  • A 25% reduction in CO2 emissions from vehicles (from 2022 levels);
  • Nearly $7 billion in proceeds for investment in clean, equitable transportation solutions; and
  • $10 billion in health savings from reduced tailpipe pollution in 2032 alone.

The modeling makes it clear that launching a TCI program will be a tremendous step forward if the participating jurisdictions implement an ambitious emissions cap. As the modeling shows, each increasingly more ambitious policy scenario delivers greater health savings and more resources for clean, equitable transportation investment.

Given these findings, the TCI states should establish a cap that declines by at least 25% from 2022 to 2032, if not more. Of the policy scenarios analyzed, the 25% cap comes closest to ensuring the necessary cuts in transportation pollution to meet state economy-wide climate requirements. While the 25% cap would represent progress, the TCI jurisdictions have an opportunity to chart an even bolder path; a more ambitious emissions cap will ensure that participating states meet their climate requirements while delivering greater health savings and enabling more transformational investments. Those investments in public transit, electric vehicles, active mobility, and other clean transportation projects will provide greater access to the clean, affordable, reliable transportation options that this region needs.

The importance of strategic investment has been demonstrated through the region’s experience with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The investment of over $3 billion in RGGI auction proceeds has helped participating states become national leaders on energy efficiency while creating high quality, local jobs. Those RGGI-funded investments have contributed to the fact that electricity prices in the RGGI states have declined since the program launched, while prices have increased in the rest of the country.

Through TCI, states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic can build on RGGI’s success while improving the model. Investments funded by TCI must be dedicated to reducing pollution and delivering a more equitable transportation system, and complementary policies will be essential to the rapid and just transition to a clean transportation future.

“Investment in better transportation options while reducing tailpipe pollution is a winning combination,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director. “Acadia Center applauds the TCI jurisdictions for developing this program, and we call on every participating Governor to ensure that the program is both robust and equitable; the program’s success will be determined by their ambition.”

[1] The TCI jurisdictions are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C.


Media Contacts

MA and Regional
Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 617-742-0054 x105

Connecticut
Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate
amcleansalls@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x204

Rhode Island
Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director and Staff Attorney
hwebster@acadiacenter.org, 401-276-0600 x402

Maine
Jeff Marks, Maine Director & Senior Policy Advocate
jmarks@acadiacenter.org, 207-236-6470 x304

Members of “Our Transportation Future” Coalition Back New Framework for Transportation and Climate Initiative

BOSTON – Members of Our Transportation Future – a coalition of 64 leading environmental, scientific, transportation, health, and business organizations advocating in support of a regional clean transportation policy under the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) – reacted this afternoon to a newly proposed TCI framework, just announced by the TCI states and Washington, D.C., moving forward with implementation of the regional clean transportation initiative.

States in TCI are moving the needle today with a new proposal for how the regional cap-and-invest policy will work.  Today’s highly anticipated announcement of the TCI policy framework marks the next big step for the 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states – CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, and VT – and Washington, D.C. that are members of TCI.

Members of Our Transportation Future provided direct comments for OTF’s reaction to this morning’s TCI policy framework:

“Taking on the largest source of air pollution will require bold solutions, and the TCI framework released today offers a solid foundation for a bold, regional cap-and-invest program,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director at Acadia Center. “The TCI states need to build on that foundation by establishing an ambitious cap on emissions—aligned with the latest science—and forward-looking investment approaches to deliver better, cleaner, more equitable transportation options across the region.”

The full release is available at:  https://www.ourtransportationfuture.org

 


Media Contacts:

Patrick Mitchell
pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com, 703.276.3266

Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 617.742.0054 ext. 105

Northeast States Claim Top Spots in the 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

BOSTON – Northeast states performed well in the 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, with Massachusetts taking the top spot for the 9th consecutive yearaccording to rankings released by the nonpartisan American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Rhode Island and Vermont tied for #3. New York and Connecticut ranked #5 and #6, respectively. 

Maine was ranked #15, and New Hampshire improved a spot to #20. 

The region’s strong showing is largely due to state policies requiring programs to pursue all energy efficiency that is cost-effective, rather than defining a proscribed level of funding. In addition, several states across the region have begun to implement policies that address new opportunities and challenges in energy efficiency, such as using additional efficiency investments to lower costs associated with peak times of demand for energy and a fuel-neutral approach that gives consumers access to incentives and savingsno matter whether they use electricity, heating oil, or gas in their homes. 

“Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of the clean energy economy in the Northeast and beyond. Efficiency has reduced the cost of doing businesslowered consumer energy billslimited the need to build costly new energy infrastructure, and provided healthier, more comfortable spaces to live and work,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center president. “But there’s much more efficiency to be captured in the region, including for traditionally underserved sectors like low-income customers. States need to continue to support strong efficiency policies – and the next generation of energy efficiency – so the Northeast can capture these substantial benefits for consumers and the environment.” 

Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector. Over the last decade, strong efficiency policies and programs have helped the Northeast lower carbon pollution while providing a range of economic and public health benefits.  

The ACEEE rankings, released annually, are based on scoring in categories including state government initiatives, building efficiency policies, utility and public benefits programs, transportation policies, and appliance standards. ACEEE awarded Massachusetts a perfect score in the utility program category, particularly praising the programs’ contribution as the largest contributor to achieving the state greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. 

“Over the last nine years, Massachusetts’ strong customer-funded efficiency programs have grown the economy while saving ratepayers money and cutting emissions – and they’ll continue to do so. But Massachusetts could do more to take full advantage of other policies to ensure that our buildings, homes, and transportation are as efficient as possible,” said Amy Boyd, senior attorney at Acadia Center and a member of the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council. “One of the most effective ways to achieve efficiency savings – and more greenhouse gas reductions – is through improved appliance standards. Particularly with the Trump Administration’s freeze on updating the federal standards, it is even more important to push for higher efficiency in the standards that states control.” 

Rhode Island maintained the #3 spot for the third year. With strong state policy that prioritizes investments in energy efficiency over traditional energy supply, Rhode Island last year achieved electric savings of 2.75%, relative to total electricity salesone of the highest levels in the country. Efficiency programs have saved Rhode Islanders $1.32 billion in energy costs since 2008. Like Massachusetts, Rhode Island earned no points in the appliance standards category, as appliance standards legislation has repeatedly stalled at the statehouse. 

Vermont, meanwhile, moved up one spot, to tie Rhode Island at third, rounding out the top tier of states aggressively pursuing all cost-effective energy efficiency.  

Much More to be Done Across the Region 

As in recent years, there was a sizable gap between the top efficiency performers and the second tier of states, underscoring that other states in the region must do much more to reduce energy use and minimize consumers costs. 

New York moved into the #5 spot, scoring relatively well on transportation and building efficiency policy and in state government initiatives. But the state has significant room for improvement in maximizing and procuring new cost-effective energy efficiency through utility and public programs. New York in 2018 set a new energy reduction target of 185 trillion BTUs by 2025, but critically important utility energy savings targets and other details of implementation are still being worked outLike Massachusetts, New York is using a fuel-neutral approach designed to better align efficiency program goals with state policy goals such as decarbonization.   

Connecticut, which slipped one spot to #6, continued to suffer the effects of a massive fund raid in 2017 that seriously weakened energy efficiency programs and the efficiency workforce. 

“Connecticut’s well-established energy efficiency programs are capable of delivering significant energy and utility bill savings to customers,” said Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director at Acadia Center and a member of the state’s Energy Efficiency Board.“Connecticut’s path forward must include robust energy efficiency investments that make homes and businesses more efficient, support the transition from dirty heating fuels to high-efficiency electric heat pumps, and expand peak demand management. Next-generation efficiency policy should include larger heat pump incentives and strong customer and vendor education programs to help overcome barriers to heat pump deployment.” 

Maine’s #15 ranking reflects in part that it can do more to expand energy efficiency access and savings for Maine homes and businesses, including setting more aggressive energy savings targets and capturing additional cost-effective efficiencyMaine has led the nation in deployment of clean, efficient electric heat pumps and has a new goal of installing 100,000 heat pumps by 2025. Maine could also improve its programs – and rank  by adopting the most recent building energy code and passing appliance standards. 

New Hampshire implemented the first year of its Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) in 2018, putting it on a path to reduce energy waste. But at #20, the state still ranked relatively low this year due to several factors, including a lack of commitment to transportation efficiency and appliance standardsNew Hampshire has seen a modest increase in efficiency gains from utility programs but spending on energy efficiency has only begun to ramp up. The legislature failed to overturn a requirement that it approve any increase in the efficiency charge, creating an additional hurdle to achieve all cost-effective efficiency.   

 

The Scorecard is available at: https://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard. 

 


Media Contacts: 

 Erika Niedowski, RI Director and Energy Efficiency Lead
eniedowski@acadiacenter.org, 401.276.0600 ext. 401 

 Krysia Wazny McClain, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617.742.0054 ext. 107 

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Legislation That Would Bring Energy Savings to More Residents

CONCORD, N.H. – On Friday, Governor Sununu vetoed a bill (HB582) that would have increased funding for efficiency projects, particularly for low income customers, who currently experience a long wait list for the popular weatherization programs. With his veto, Governor Sununu prevented additional revenue from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative from being distributed to these programs.

“By vetoing this bill, the governor has ensured that New Hampshire will continue to have difficulty investing in the cheapest form of energy available in the state,” said Ellen Hawes, Senior Analyst at Acadia Center. “This is a huge missed opportunity for New Hampshire’s residents and economy, as well as the state’s progress toward climate safety.”

Energy efficiency investments make electricity cheaper for all ratepayers. By 2027, energy efficiency is projected to reduce the amount of electricity we need to generate by more than 22%. In New Hampshire, the NHSaves electric efficiency programs deliver energy savings at 77% lower costs than buying more power. New Hampshire’s current use of RGGI auction revenue continues to provide benefits for the state, but the relatively small portion of funds directed towards energy efficiency prevents New Hampshire from maximizing its benefits.

For the first time ever, the New England grid operator (ISO New England) is predicting a decline in peak demand over the next ten years, mostly due to projected gains in energy efficiency and on-site solar generation. ISO-NE projects that by 2020, energy efficiency will reduce demand on peak days by more than all of the region’s nuclear power plants combined can supply. States must have strong programs to sustain and advance these gains.

In addition to this most recent veto, on July 19th the Governor vetoed a bill (SB205) that would have allowed the Public Utilities Commission to continue to set energy efficiency investment levels at rates most beneficial to ratepayers. This bill would have also increased the public’s ability to engage with how efficiency funds are spent, by expanding membership of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Board.

“By requiring legislative approval for this one portion of rates, the legislature will add delay, uncertainty and increased costs for utilities, stakeholders and the Public Utilities Commission, under Sununu’s erroneous and disingenuous assertion that it is a hidden tax,” said Hawes.


Media Contacts:

Ellen Hawes, Senior Analyst
ehawes@acadiacenter.org, 207-233-4182

Krysia Wazny McClain, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617-742-0054 x107

A New Approach to Transportation in Connecticut Could Cut Pollution, Boost the Economy and Deliver 23,000 Jobs

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today, Acadia Center released an analysis illustrating the benefits of a new approach for Connecticut to reduce transportation pollution while improving the system to better meet its residents’ needs. The analysis shows that, if designed well, a regional cap-and-invest policy developed through the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) could enable the state to make over $2.7 billion in crucial transportation investments by 2030, which would generate over 23,000 long-term jobs and $7 billion in economic activity.

“Connecticut can be a leader in developing a bold, equitable program to invest in needed transportation modernization while capping pollution in the state,” said Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate at Acadia Center. “By capping transportation emissions and auctioning pollution allowances, all residents in the state will benefit through investments in transportation infrastructure and improved mobility options. The state’s overburdened and underserved communities are disproportionately bearing the brunt of non-accessible transportation options and harmful impacts of local air pollution. A modernized clean transportation system would be transformative for Connecticut’s people and economy.”

Acadia Center’s analysis demonstrates that new transportation investments funded through a regional cap-and-invest program would deliver substantial economic, environmental, and mobility benefits in Connecticut. As Connecticut works with other states to develop this program, advocates, community groups and other stakeholders are joining forces to determine what that program – and Connecticut’s transportation future – should look like.

On Tuesday evening, Acadia Center, the Center for Latino Progress, the CT Roundtable for Climate and Jobs, Sierra Club and Transport Hartford Academy gathered, joined by 55 stakeholders including transportation and environmental advocates, environmental justice activists, health professionals, business leaders, Commissioner Dykes from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Tom Maziarz from the Department of Transportation, for an important Connecticut-focused meeting to discuss efforts to deliver a more equitable, modern low-carbon transportation future.

“It is far past time for the State of Connecticut to act. As we act to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants, we have the opportunity to invest in our communities, quality of life, and local employment,” said Gannon Long, Assistant Coordinator for Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress. “A transportation focused cap-and-trade system, implemented in 2021, could be a useful tool in achieving the state’s critically important emission reduction targets.”

To estimate the economic opportunity for a market-based transportation climate policy, Acadia Center’s report examined a sample investment portfolio including bus fleet electrification and transit system improvements, commuter rail updates and expansion, electric vehicle rebates and charging infrastructure, and walking and biking infrastructure. To determine how funds from this type of program are ultimately invested, participating states will need to develop a process that includes input from the most impacted parties, in particular low-income and disadvantaged communities.

“Cap-and-invest programs do not operate in a vacuum – they work best when they are designed to complement other policies and accelerate the transition to less-polluting options,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director at Acadia Center. “This analysis illustrates how cap-and-invest proceeds could bolster Connecticut’s existing efforts to deliver modern, accessible, low-carbon transportation options while spurring local job creation.”

Read the full report here: https://acadiacenter.staging.wpengine.com/document/investing-in-connecticuts-transportation-future/ 


Media Contacts:

Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director
amcleansalls@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x204

Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x105


As Baker Admin Seeks to Allow Dirty Fuels to Qualify for Renewable Energy Subsidies, Clean Energy Advocates and Scientists Demand More Transparency and Accountability

BOSTON – Last Friday marked the close of a three-month public comment period on the Baker Administration’s proposal to overhaul rules that establish what electric power generation resources qualify for renewable energy subsidies. Massachusetts clean energy advocates sent a letter yesterday to Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides sharply criticizing these proposed regulatory changes that would, among other things, significantly increase rate-payer subsidies for wood-burning power plants and garbage incinerators.

The letter, signed by Acadia Center, Conservation Law Foundation, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, the Massachusetts Sierra Club, Partnership for Policy Integrity, and RESTORE: The North Woods, states:

“[T]he Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which is now under your purview, has led a deeply flawed rulemaking process for an even more deeply flawed proposal to rewrite regulations implementing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). …These regulations are currently the linchpin of Massachusetts climate policy; numerous other policies of the Commonwealth incorporate RPS-eligibility in their implementation, including the Clean Peak Standard now under development. Changes to the RPS regulations must be grounded in environmental and climate science.” 

The organizations signing today’s letter commit to “help[ing] the Baker administration correct course and to ensure that the RPS assists the state in complying with the Commonwealth’s climate mandates, rather than promoting technologies that will actually increase emissions.”  The groups are requesting stakeholder input into a study that the Baker Administration is only now conducting on the impacts of the proposed regulations, and the opportunity for environmental advocates and climate scientists to meet with decision makers to share their information.

Throughout the public comment period, DOER’s proposals to substantially roll back science-based standards governing the eligibility of biomass power plants for subsidies raised the most extensive concerns. Nearly one hundred organizations signed on to a letter to DOER calling on the agency to withdraw its proposed rule changes, which also impact subsidies for hydroelectric power and other areas of renewable energy. Signers included local, state and national environmental groups, public health advocates, consumer protection groups, local governments, and municipal groups, including the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.

Dozens of scientists, doctors, environmentalists, and concerned citizens testified at public hearings across the state, and more than a thousand written comments were submitted in opposition. In addition, nearly 40 state legislators submitted a letter raising concerns about the proposed biomass eligibility rollbacks, and Attorney General Maura Healey also weighed in, flagging multiple ways in which the proposal may violate state law and undermine efforts to meet climate change goals.


Media Contacts:

Laura Haight, Partnership for Policy Integrity
lhaight@pfpi.net, 518-949-1797

Deborah Donovan, Acadia Center
ddonovan@acadiacenter.org  617-742-0054 x103

Jake O’Neill, Conservation Law Foundation
joneill@clf.org Press Secretary 617-850-1709

Governor Mills Signs Legislation to Advance Maine’s Clean Energy Economy and Climate Safety

Acadia Center Applauds Strong Suite of Climate and Clean Energy Actions

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine’s most ambitious bills to fight climate change in a decade are now law. Today, Governor Mills signed three bills that will put Maine on track to 100% renewable energy by 2050, create an innovative Climate Council that allows voices from around the state to have a say in fighting climate change, expand access to renewable energy and put communities on the path to become energy independent. These join a suite of complementary bills that Governor Mills has signed into law since taking office, which reverse years of inaction and promise to advance the fight against climate change and bring the benefits of the clean energy economy to the people of Maine.

“For so long, Mainers have watched while other New England states invest in solar, wind, and large-scale procurements that reduce their dependence on foreign oil, lower consumer costs and provide cleaner and healthier power – now Maine will be a leader in creating jobs, saving money on energy bills and tackling the climate crisis using resources here at home,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center President.

The bills signed today are An Act to Promote Clean Energy Jobs and to Establish the Maine Climate Council (L.D. 1679), An Act to Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (L.D. 1494), and An Act to Promote Solar Energy Projects and Distributed Generation Resources in Maine (L.D. 1711). They follow three other groundbreaking energy laws passed this month with bipartisan support.

Since the beginning of 2019, Governor Mills has signed legislation to restart a stalled offshore wind procurement process, install 100,000 clean and energy-efficient heat pumps in homes around the state in the next five years, create a fund to support rebates for the lease or purchase of an electric vehicle, expand training programs to build the clean energy workforce and address a suite of electric grid modernization initiatives, from energy storage to non-wires alternative solutions.

Altogether, these actions represent a remarkable turnaround in the leadership’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis and bringing the benefits of energy efficiency and clean energy to Maine. As neighboring states have demonstrated, the clean energy economy creates high-paying local jobs, saves consumers money and improves health and air quality by reducing the use of polluting fossil fuels.

“Acadia Center’s Building a Stronger Maine policy blueprint, submitted to the next governor at the end of 2018, laid out five critical areas where Maine needed to modernize its transportation and energy systems in order to address climate change and stay competitive in the New England region,” said Arah Schuur, Vice President – Climate and Energy at Acadia Center. “It should gratify all Mainers to see bipartisan support that takes concrete steps in each of these areas. Acadia Center applauds Governor Mills and the Maine Legislature for their swift action on clean energy.”

Connecticut House of Representatives Passes Pivotal Bill to Build 2000 MW of New Offshore Wind by 2030

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today, Connecticut’s House of Representatives passed landmark legislation that would require the state to solicit 2000 MW of new offshore wind energy by 2030, building significantly on the first 300 MW of offshore wind the state procured last year. This legislation would initiate the first new procurement this summer and includes rigorous environmental requirements and robust labor provisions. The bill has been strongly supported by a broad group of clean energy, labor, industry, and environmental advocates, and it comes on the heels of a major announcement by the governor promising new port infrastructure for this industry.

“This bill is an amazing achievement for the state of Connecticut, and the House of Representatives demonstrated exceptional bipartisan leadership in passing it today,” said Emily Lewis, senior policy analyst at Acadia Center. “This bill will put Connecticut on the path to reach its clean energy and climate commitments and is a critical element in building the state’s clean energy economy. Coupled with the recently announced public-private partnership to redevelop the State Pier in New London, Connecticut is solidifying its position as a national leader on offshore wind energy.”

Passage of the bill follows an announcement last week by Governor Lamont that the state of Connecticut, Bay State Wind, terminal operator Gateway, and the Connecticut Port Authority will be partnering in investing $93 million to redevelop the State Pier in New London to support the growing offshore wind industry in the state and the Northeast region.

“Passage of this bill by the House of Representatives is a tremendous victory for Connecticut’s workers and their communities, which will benefit from local jobs, economic development, and clean energy, ” said John Humphries, lead organizer for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. “We applaud the efforts of legislators on both sides of the aisle, who worked together to make this aggressive long-term commitment to offshore wind with the strongest labor and environmental protections of any state in the region. We urge the Senate to act quickly and send this bill to the Governor’s desk, so we can all get to work making Connecticut the regional hub for this emerging industry.”

Over the past year, Acadia Center and the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs have worked with allies to build broad support for an offshore wind mandate of at least 2000 MW by 2030. By passing this bill, legislators have provided a strong, bipartisan endorsement of this measure, which will not only help meet the state’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals but also help position Connecticut at the nucleus of the nascent Northeastern offshore wind industry.


Media Contacts:

Emily Lewis, Senior Policy Analyst; Acadia Center
elewis@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121, x207

John Humphries, Lead Organizer; CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs
john@ctclimateandjobs.org; 860-216-797