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In landmark agreement, Mass., eight other states vow to cut transportation emissions

One group that has long called for a regional agreement on transportation emissions estimated it could raise more than $5.5 billion over a decade and generate more than 50,000 jobs in Massachusetts.

“A cap-and-invest program could unleash billions of dollars to deliver the overdue improvements this region needs,” said Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director for the Acadia Center, an environmental advocacy group in Boston.

Read the full article from the Boston Globe here.

CT’s clean energy battles transition from Malloy to Lamont

Acadia Center, among the top tier of regional environmental advocacy groups, had no representative on the committee, but put together its own priority plan – a memo to the incoming governor.

That plan offers specific prescriptions, bolstered by data, for how to achieve changes in five key areas: transportation, including infrastructure and adoption of electric vehicles which while steady, has been slow; transition to cleaner more resilient local power; improving energy performance and emissions reductions in buildings; reforming rules for the grid; and improving community and individual energy choice – essentially the ability to use more distributed and flexibly designed generation.

“We’re taking an approach that’s not just about clean energy. We’re taking an approach that’s about economic competitiveness,” said Amy McLean Salls, Acadia’s Connecticut director and senior policy advocate. “We also need to put into place the policies and the personnel who also can be thinking innovatively and not looking at the past as the way to the future.”

Read the full article from the CT Mirror here.

Advocates tell Janet Mills that clean energy and better roads will add good jobs

Maine could gain 13,500 jobs and receive a $6.5 billion boost to its economy by shifting toward cleaner energy and upgrading its transportation infrastructure, a clean energy research and advocacy organization said in a memo Wednesday to Gov.-elect Janet Mills.

Acadia Center of Rockport said that modernizing the state’s transportation system alone could produce more than $3.8 billion in new economic benefits, add 8,700 new jobs and create $2.3 billion in public health and other benefits.

Read the full article from Bangor Daily News here.

Maine: Transportation and Energy Reforms Would Bring $4 Billion in Economic Benefits and 13,500 New Jobs

New Analysis Released to Incoming Maine Administration

ROCKPORT, ME – Today, Acadia Center released new analysis showing the impact a shift toward better transportation infrastructure and cleaner energy would have in improving Connecticut’s economic and environmental future. Acadia Center’s “Memo to the Next Governor of Maine” recommends concrete steps that will deliver significant economic, consumer and public health benefits to the state. The analysis shows that modernizing the state’s transportation system alone could produce over $3.8 billion in new economic benefits, add 8,700 new jobs, and create $2.3 billion in public health and other benefits. All told, Acadia Center’s analysis indicates that the state could generate $6.5 billion dollars in consumer and economic benefits and create about 13,500 new jobs in the process.

“Maine must update and improve its energy and transportation systems, and doing so presents a significant opportunity to strengthen its economic future,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center. “This analysis recommends five transportation and energy reforms that will have the most direct impact on Maine’s economy while enhancing quality of life for Maine people and communities. The time is now for Maine’s leaders to act to bring these benefits to residents.”

The memo calls on the new administration to undertake five reforms to achieve these goals and benefits:

1. Modernize transportation infrastructure to improve safety, access, and convenience;
2. Transition power generation to cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient local sources;
3. Improve energy performance in buildings to reduce costly energy use and emissions;
4. Reform energy grid rules to reduce high energy costs and speed energy innovation;
5. Give communities and consumers more control over their energy choices.

“Maine has many immediate needs that must be met to put the state on a path to success in the years to come,” said Kathleen Meil, Acadia Center’s policy advocate in Maine. “This new analysis shows how smart it is to tackle these challenges through the lens of a broader strategy to revitalize key infrastructure and avoid climate pollution.”

“Governor-elect Mills has indicated that advancing the clean energy future and enhancing community resilience are top priorities, and Acadia Center’s recommended reforms lay out a roadmap that promises concrete benefits for all Mainers. These key steps will fix roads and bridges, move the state away from its dependence on oil and gas, and increase accessibility of jobs and services-all while reducing emissions, increasing energy independence, and boosting local industries,” said Meil.

The full memo is available here.


Media Contacts:

Kathleen Meil, Policy Advocate
kmeil@acadiacenter.org, 207-236-6470 ext. 304

Krysia Wazny McClain, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617.742.0054 ext. 107

Maine Leaders, Community Members to Explore the State’s Economic and Environmental Future at Forum

AUGUSTA, ME – On Friday, December 7 stakeholders from across Maine will gather for “Building a Stronger Maine: Navigating the Path to a Clean Energy Future,” a one-day conference hosted by Acadia Center in Augusta, with experts in a wide variety of subject areas presenting. Governor-elect Janet Mills will provide the keynote address.

“Building a Stronger Maine” will explore clean energy and transportation system reforms that can unlock significant economic, consumer, and public health benefits.

Maine has an exciting opportunity to reevaluate its economic strategy and deliver significant benefits to residents through updates to the state’s energy and transportation systems. “Building a Stronger Maine” will gather stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the tools needed for Maine’s clean energy future; the intersections between climate and Maine’s biggest needs, including education, the economy, and public health; and the potential to modernize Maine’s transportation infrastructure to improve safety, access, and convenience.

The forum will also include facilitated discussion of potential barriers along the path to a clean energy future, including the evolving role of electric utilities, infrastructure reforms and reinvestments, and challenges of renewable siting.

WHAT: Building a Stronger Maine: Navigating the Path to a Clean Energy Future, convened by Acadia Center

WHO: Janet Mills, Maine Governor-elect; Lisa Martin, Manager of Strategy and Development, Emera Maine; Michael Stoddard, Executive Director, Efficiency Maine Trust; Ben Lake, Clean Transportation Manager, Greater Portland Council of Governments; Daniel L. Sosland, President, Acadia Center; and others.

WHERE: Dirigo Room, Bangor Savings Bank, 5 Senator Way, Augusta, ME 04330

WHEN: December 7, 2018, 8:30am to 4:30pm

An agenda and list of speakers is available here.


Media Contacts:

Kathleen Meil, Maine Policy Advocate
kmeil@acadiacenter.org, 207-236-6470 ext. 401

Krysia Wazny McClain, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617.742.0054 ext. 107

Connecticut: Transportation and Energy Reforms Could Bring $11 Billion in Economic Benefits and 33,000 New Jobs

New Analysis Released to Incoming Connecticut Administration

HARTFORD, CT – Today, Acadia Center released new analysis showing the impact a shift toward better transportation infrastructure and cleaner energy would have in improving Connecticut’s economic and environmental future. Acadia Center’s “Memo to the Next Governor of Connecticut” recommends concrete steps that will deliver significant economic, consumer and public health benefits to the state. The analysis shows that modernizing the state’s transportation system alone could produce over $6.9 billion in new economic benefits, add 14,900 new jobs, and create $3.7 billion in public health and other benefits. All told, Acadia Center’s analysis indicates that the state could add about $11 billion in new economic benefits and create about 33,000 new jobs through five transportation and energy reforms.

“Making Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure and its energy system work better for all state residents and businesses is smart economic strategy,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “This analysis focuses on five transportation and energy reforms that will have the most direct impact on Connecticut’s economy while also enhancing quality of life for its people and communities. The recommended reforms are achievable, the benefits are concrete, and the time is now to build a stronger Connecticut.”

The memo calls on the new administration to undertake five reforms to achieve these goals and benefits:

1. Modernize transportation infrastructure to improve safety, access, and convenience;
2. Transition power generation to cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient local sources;
3. Improve energy performance in buildings to reduce costly energy use and emissions;
4. Reform energy grid rules to reduce high energy costs and speed energy innovation;
5. Give communities and consumers more control over their energy choices.

“This new analysis underscores how important it is to remake Connecticut’s transportation and energy systems as a core part of the state’s new economic strategy,” said Amy McLean Salls, Acadia Center’s Connecticut Director. “Newly-unleashed investments and innovation will drive economic progress, improve quality of life, and extend benefits to communities and residents who have historically been overlooked.”

“The five recommended reforms complement Governor-Elect Lamont’s plans to create new economic growth and jobs in the state. These reforms will help make that vision of a more prosperous and livable Connecticut a reality,” said McLean Salls.

The full memo is available here.


Media Contacts:

Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director & Senior Policy Advocate
amcleansalls@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 ext. 204

Krysia Wazny McClain, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617.742.0054 ext. 107

Op-Ed: Maine needs a governor who will prioritize clean energy

After a protracted primary campaign and a long week of ranked-choice tabulation, Maine’s gubernatorial slate is set. As voters assess their options for state leadership, two intertwined issues need to rise to prominence: Maine’s economy and environment. To advance both, Maine’s next governor must prioritize a clean energy future.

The good news is that this future is close at hand. With smart energy policy reform based on proven results in other states, Maine can lower energy costs; save residents and businesses money on their utility bills; boost its own economy; grow its workforce with good-paying efficiency, HVAC and solar jobs; and dramatically reduce air pollution.

Read the full article from Bangor Daily News here.

Massachusetts must fill void left by U.S. withdrawal from Paris Agreement (Guest viewpoint)

Op-ed by Daniel Sosland and Peter Rothstein in Mass Live.

Since President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, business leaders, environmental organizations and public officials across the nation have expressed concern for the impact on our climate and economy. The momentum we’ve achieved in building our nation’s renewable and clean energy sector must now be picked up by forward-looking states, cities and businesses around the country. Massachusetts is in a unique position to be a leader in this effort.

Massachusetts has a long history of using policy to bolster renewable and advanced clean energy deployment and innovation. Massachusetts was one of the first states in the nation to enact a comprehensive regulatory program to address climate change with 2008’s Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). Last year, the Commonwealth built upon this leadership with the Energy Diversity Act, supporting offshore wind and other clean energy generation.

These progressive policies and investments in the state’s growing clean energy hub have paid off with strong economic results. A report from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center found that the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy currently employs more than 105,000 people at over 6,700 companies, representing $11.8 billion in investment.

We know the policy tools and technologies needed to reduce climate pollution and accelerate clean energy adoption. Acadia Center’s EnergyVision 2030 shows that deploying a range of market-ready consumer technologies such as electric vehicles and efficient heat pumps to warm and cool buildings can deliver deep emissions reductions over the next 13 years when paired with policies to clean up the power grid.

A report from NECEC found that strengthening one of these policies – a requirement for utilities to purchase clean energy under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – would create thousands of jobs across the region, lower wholesale electricity prices and put us on track to meet our ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Boosting the RPS will also provide long-term market stability and position the Commonwealth to build on its strengths in innovation and advanced manufacturing to capture a significant part of the trillion-dollar global clean energy market.

Massachusetts also needs to modernize its energy grid to support the growth of renewables and empower consumers and communities to control energy usage and costs by adopting clean technologies. Customers need to be provided with information on building energy usage to inform decisions. Barriers to electric vehicles, clean heating technologies and solar energy (in the form of net metering caps) must be removed. And policies must make the benefits of these technologies accessible to all consumers, including low-income families. Pricing carbon will unleash the power of the market to reduce emissions, particularly in the transportation sector, which is now Massachusetts’ largest source of climate pollution. For new and promising technologies such as energy storage, meaningful targets must be paired with enforcement mechanisms and tax incentives to speed deployment.

Policymakers are not solely responsible for driving the clean energy economy. The private sector recognizes that renewable energy is not only good for the planet – it’s good for a company’s bottom line. Renewable energy saved Boston-area hospitals $15 million in just a four-year period – enough to pay for 1,357 of the state’s Medicare enrollees. Big energy consumers like Cambridge-based cloud computing service Akamai are choosing renewables, which will power half the company’s global network operations by 2030.

Here in Massachusetts, we’ve already shown the rest of the country and the world what we can do when city and state governments work hand-in-hand with the business community and the support of the public to pursue clean and cost-effective energy solutions. Given the diminishing support from the federal government to advance a clean energy future, we must work even harder to implement smart energy policies at the state and regional level that grow jobs, drive regional competitiveness and build on the Northeast’s reputation as a clean energy and climate leader. With the leadership void left by our federal government, this work is more important than ever.

Peter Rothstein is president of the Northeast Clean Energy Council.

Daniel Sosland is president of Acadia Center.

Massachusetts Gubernatorial Forum on Energy, the Environment & the Innovation Economy

Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates discussed key environmental and energy issues. Jeff McCormick (I), Martha Coakley (D), Charlie Baker (R) and Evan Falchuk (I) spoke at Suffolk University. Acadia Center’s Peter Shattuck served as a moderator.

Watch the MA Gubernatorial Forum here.

MAgovdebatesnapshot

Gubernatorial candidates fielded questions on energy and innovation in the forum event at Suffolk University