Energy production is one of the leading contributors to climate change. Meanwhile, the potential for additional renewable energy in the region is enormous – both for larger generating stations like wind farms to small, distributed systems like rooftop solar. The costs of renewable energy are dropping rapidly, making renewables more affordable and viable for the consumer market.

Acadia Center advances policies that level the playing field so renewable power can fairly compete and flourish. Distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar produce clean energy while enhancing customer control over energy bills and reducing the need for polluting power plants and grid infrastructure. Acadia Center’s Next Generation Solar Framework provides a sustainable policy approach that compensates solar based on demonstrated value, while ensure equitable payment for maintenance of the grid.

More broadly, policies like renewable portfolio standards (RPS) provide incentives for clean energy options, allowing competition with fossil fuel-based energy that has the incumbent market advantage. Large-scale purchases can also help to promote deployment of renewable energy by achieving economies of scale and facilitating project financing and construction of transmission needed to transport renewable energy from remote locations to consumers.

Acadia Center also advocates market-based solutions that account for the climate impacts of burning fuels by charging a fee for releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. In the Northeast, this model has been successfully applied in the power sector through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states reduce power plant emissions significantly while generating economic and health benefits in the region, and this effective model can and should be exported to other states, and to cover additional sectors such as transportation and heating fuels. Emissions reductions can also be achieved by placing a direct price on pollution through a carbon fee that promotes changes in behavior and levels the playing field for cleaner energy supplies.

Throughout the energy system, from large-scale generating facilities to small-scale, customer-sited power sources, policies need to account for the full value of different types of energy resources. Using this information, leaders need to commit to using the cleanest affordable options. That means considering all of our energy options rather than defaulting to large, supply-side infrastructure. It also means fully accounting for lifecycle emissions, and assessing how efficiency can reduce demand. In homes and businesses, increasing access to advanced renewable thermal technologies through energy efficiency retrofits and building codes will make it easier for consumers to adopt clean fuels and save on their energy bills. Advanced cold-climate heat pumps, solar thermal, and low-emission, sustainably sourced biomass can reduce GHG emissions and decrease our reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Cutting emissions from vehicles, travel, and freight is closely related to clean energy supply strategies. See our Transportation initiative for more.

 

  • Acadia Center Evaluation of 2019-2021 MA Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan and EEAC Resolution

    On October 30, 2018, the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) unanimously approved a resolution supporting the utility program administrators’ proposed Three-Year Plan for 2019-2021. In its role as the environmental representative on the EEAC, Acadia Center successfully represented stakeholder priorities and pushed for the 2019-2021 Plan to innovate, better use technology, help customers switch from polluting oil to clean, efficient heat pumps, and cut electric and gas peak demand in summer and winter. Now the Plan moves to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for consideration and approval by the end of January 2019.

  • Acadia Center Evaluation of the Sept. 14 Draft of the 2019-2021 MA Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan

    In Massachusetts, energy efficiency is delivered primarily through utility-run programs, overseen by the Department of Public Utilities with the assistance of a stakeholder council called the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC), on which Acadia Center holds the environmental representative seat.

    Throughout 2018, the EEAC, efficiency program administrators (PAs), and other stakeholders have been engaged in a process to develop a 3-year plan for 2019-2021. This is Acadia Center’s analysis of the September 14th Revised Draft submitted by the PAs. This document discusses key shortcomings that must be addressed in advance of the October vote. Acadia Center is hopeful that these improvements will be reflected in the final plan.

  • Transportation Climate Policy in Rhode Island

    Rhode Island’s transportation system—its network of highways, trains, public transit, airports, ports, and walking and biking corridors—is vital to the state’s economy. It facilitates the movement of goods and connects people to jobs, shopping, recreation, and other services. However, the system needs critical improvements to address major challenges and better serve the state’s communities and businesses.

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