Reforms proposed in Connecticut's 2017 draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy appear to raise significant new challenges to distributed solar deployment. Distributed solar must play a key role in reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions, and these proposed changes put its climate mitigation role at real risk. In this report, Acadia Center raises four high priority concerns that the state must resolve through revisions to the strategy.
Connecticut’s Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) is getting ready to set interim greenhouse gas reduction targets to ensure the state in on track to meet its 2050 mandate, and they are using energy sector modeling to help them with this process. In this letter to the GC3, Acadia Center highlights several concerns with the energy efficiency modeling that has been presented to date.
Fixed charges are the flat monthly fees that every customer pays, regardless of the amount of electricity they consume. Over the past several years, utilities have pushed for higher fixed charges because they guarantee a revenue stream. However, high fixed charges violate well-established regulatory principles, reduce incentives for energy efficiency and clean local generation, and result in higher bills for low-usage customers, who are disproportionately low income. New York has relatively high residential fixed charges compared to the rest of the U.S., and its charges are higher than those in neighboring states. High fixed charges are ultimately incompatible with the energy future envisioned by New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (“REV”) initiative and should be reduced significantly.
Following the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, cities, states and regions will increasingly need to lead on climate. The nine states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have demonstrated a will to forge ahead in the absence of federal action in the past, and their leadership will make a substantial impact on the global fight against climate change; together, these states have a GDP of $2.8 trillion, representing the world’s 6th largest economy. Fortunately, the list of states taking action on climate is growing.
States throughout the Northeast are considering how to transition from an energy grid that delivers power one-way, from fossil fuel power generators to customers, to a modern, dynamic, and flexible energy system that is centered around our homes and businesses. Massachusetts utilities have presented plans for updating the electric grid in their Grid Modernization Plans, which are currently under consideration at the Commonwealth’s Department of Public Utilities. Rhode Island’s Power Sector Transformation Initiative is currently seeking feedback on Distribution System Planning for a modern grid. In response to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, the state’s electric utilities have developed Distribution System Implementation Plans. Acadia Center has analyzed and summarized the New York experience here.
Massachusetts legislators are working to pass the nation's first carbon pricing legislation, a step that would help cement the state's reputation as a leader on smart climate action. Similar efforts are underway throughout the region, as carbon pricing legislation has also been introduced in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. With the economic heft of this region, carbon pricing legislation would constitute a substantial step towards a low-carbon future.
The Trump Administration’s detrimental decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement requires states and regions to assume leadership addressing the threats of climate change to the health, well-being, and economic prosperity of their citizens. In Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, this must include strengthening the effective RGGI program. This letter, signed by 51 environmental organizations, health professionals, clean energy businesses and environmental justice groups, applauds the leadership that the RGGI states have shown to date and urges them to continue that role by considering more ambitious policy options.
Sixty-nine organizations representing business, community, consumer, low-income, public health, environmental, and clean energy interests signed this letter to the Connecticut General Assembly opposing two budget proposals, one made by the Senate Republicans that would raid ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs and another made by the Senate and House Democrats that would sweep ratepayer-derived revenues from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Connecticut is debating whether to allow the direct sales of electric vehicles (EVs) by manufacturers, but concerns have been raised about potential impacts to employment at existing car dealerships. Acadia Center examined auto dealer employment statistics for nearby states that allow direct sales, and the results indicate that there has been no negative impact on this industry’s job levels or trends.
As participating states weigh the future of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), impacts on public health should be considered. The program’s success in reducing CO2 emissions to date has also led to avoided emissions of harmful co-pollutants, resulting in cleaner air and healthier people. Acadia Center analysis shows that the RGGI states can achieve billions of dollars in additional avoided health impacts by establishing an ambitious cap through 2030.