The traditional utility and power grid model of a one-way power flow from central generating stations to consumers is rapidly giving way to an exciting, consumer-friendly energy future. The system can be more cost-effective, cleaner, offer greater consumer control over energy costs and help clear the pathway to very low carbon emissions.

In Acadia Center’s vision of a modern grid, homes and businesses become the centerpiece of the energy system. Consumers will have greater control over energy use through technologies such as rooftop solar water heating and photovoltaic systems, advanced meters that help consumers control and monitor power usage, and technologies such as smart appliances and heat pumps. Community energy systems- local wind power, solar arrays, and combined heat and power- will also play an important role in the modern power grid. UtilityVision, an Acadia Center publication, presents this comprehensive vision with illustrations and recommendations. Acadia Center is also participating in grid modernization dockets and related state and regional proceedings and forums.

Technological advancement in the energy arena is moving so quickly that the market is ahead of the regulatory structure governing utilities. Today’s grid planning and investment policies were developed in an earlier era, when large fossil-fueled power plants were constructed to energize population centers. Longstanding policies skew decisions in favor of legacy power grid investments over newer, often less expensive and more advanced solutions. The rules need to change so that viable, often lower-cost, alternatives to transmission and distribution infrastructure projects are fully considered. New regulations should also reflect the appropriate role of the utility in an increasingly decentralized system.

Acadia Center is working to update policy models so they align utilities’ financial incentives with the public’s clean energy, carbon reduction, and economic goals.

 

  • Comments to the Draft of the 2021-2023 New Hampshire Statewide Energy Efficiency Plan

    Comments in response to the NH Electric and Natural Gas Utilities Draft of the 2021-2023 New Hampshire Statewide Energy Efficiency Plan (submitted for stakeholder review on July 1, 2020). NH Utilities made significant revisions in scope, savings, timeline, process, and program details based on the COVID-19 pandemic as well as incorporation of public and EERS (Energy Efficiency Resource Standard) Committee comments on the April 1 Draft Plan. Acadia Center’s comments are based on examination of the Draft 2021-2023 NH Plan, its analyses and reports on energy efficiency programs across the Northeast region, and conversations and deliberations within the EERS Committee.

  • Priority Climate Action Plan Strategy Recommendations

    Priority Climate Action Plan Strategy Recommendations

    This open letter to the Maine Climate Council (signed by Acadia Center and other organizations), describes the top 13 policy recommendations, pulled from every Working Group and more than 650 pages of materials, which the signatories believe are the most impactful strategies for reducing Maine's emissions.

  • The Declining Role of Natural Gas Power in New England

    This report concludes that under current plans and laws, New England’s reliance on natural gas to fuel power plants could drop from 45% to approximately 10% of its electricity needs in 2030, making any investment in new gas pipelines or plants unnecessary and therefore costly.

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