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.

 

  • Testimony on Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Legislation

    Acadia Center testified before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy on May 30, 2019. In its testimony it urged Massachusetts legislators to support efficient electrification of building heating, new standards to promote innovative energy saving appliances, better information on energy efficiency for homebuyers, and requirements for existing buildings to become more efficient. It also called for them to oppose or require modification of two bills that could harm the state's energy efficiency programs and their implementation.

  • Testimony on Proposed Changes to Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard

    Acadia Center's testimony urges DOER to withdraw proposed changes to the RPS that would undermine the state's climate efforts, including allowing energy sources that emit more CO2, like biomass, to participate and relaxing accountability measures that track emissions reductions. Acadia Center testified and submitted its statement to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources on May 13, 2019.

  • National Grid Rate Case: Summary of Issues and Call to Action

    In this memo, Acadia Center outlines key issues the public should be aware of in National Grid's comprehensive electric rate case, filed in late 2018. Acadia Center addresses concerns related to high revenue and shareholder returns, inadequate requirements in "performance based ratemaking," misaligned rates, and proposed electric vehicle charging programs. The last section summarizes opportunities for the public to weigh in and take action in the proceeding, which will have far-reaching implications for Massachusetts' clean energy future.

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