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.

 

  • 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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