Understanding the complexity of energy markets is crucial to forming smart, viable policy decisions. Acadia Center analyzes the mechanisms and outcomes that will best leverage resources and protect consumers and the environment. Acadia Center’s team works collaboratively with major employers, consumer advocates, and policy makers to advance clean energy initiatives that consider all economic perspectives.
The cleanest, lowest-cost power plant is the one that doesn’t need to be built. The savings-first concept guides Acadia Center’s advocacy of policies that mandate purchasing all cost-effective energy efficiency before turning to other supply. In homes and businesses, that means fewer dollars spent on fuel or power, and more money stays in the local economy. Acadia Center works to protect consumers’ investments in efficient and clean energy, advocating rate structures and programs that are fair and accessible for all, including the most vulnerable populations. At the planning level, efficiency can defer or avoid the need for new infrastructure, which benefits all ratepayers.
Policy solutions can level the playing field so clean alternatives compete fully and fairly with fossil fuels and incumbent technology. A low-carbon fuel standard for example, takes into account the full lifecycle emissions of various fuels, which allows for alternatives to thrive in the market. Similarly, states adopt Renewable Portfolio Standards to boost the amount of clean power in the supply mix. At the state and interstate or interregional levels, reforms are needed so the cleanest options are considered before planners default to investing in large, supply-side infrastructure.
Accounting for Emissions
Acadia Center advocates solutions that account for the real cost of polluting fuels and charge for the right to dispose of carbon pollution in our shared atmosphere. In the electric power sector the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states reduce power plant emissions significantly while generating economic and health benefits in the region, and this effective model can and should be exported to other states. In other sectors of the economy placing a direct price on pollution through a carbon tax can reduce emissions by promoting changes in behavior and leveling the playing field for cleaner energy supplies.
Acadia Center develops innovative policy structures that get results. Statewide mandates to purchase all cost-effective efficiency along with stakeholder councils that represent all customers and oversee implementation have won national recognition for their effectiveness. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory cap and trade program to reduce GHGs, and is now being looked to by EPA and others as a model for cutting carbon emissions in the power sector. These policies are the result of careful research and extensive collaboration with a network of peers and policy leaders.
Staying at the Table
Real impact happens over time. Acadia Center’s mission reaches beyond designing the policy or enacting the law. The long-term work includes regulatory proceedings; official budgets, plans and rates; stakeholder councils and appointed committees. Acadia Center’s staff commits the time, advocacy and support needed to see a solution through.
Good solutions have measurable results, and Acadia Center is involved in evaluating and publishing the impacts of climate and energy policies. The RGGI Auction Tracker, for example, measures the volume of carbon allowances sold, and also calculates the savings and macroeconomic benefits that states and consumers gain. Acadia Center also works to design and improve official measuring tools, such as those used to evaluate statewide energy efficiency investments or the methods for assessing energy infrastructure needs.
Acadia Center develops effective policy reforms that are directly informed by years of experience in on-the-ground implementation. Acadia Center’s staff members are capable and respected experts in economics, policy, and law, and they combine the passion for public service with professional ability.
Common Challenges and Shared Solutions
Climate change is a problem that doesn’t obey party lines, borders or divisions among sectors and classes, so solutions have to transcend those boundaries, too. Acadia Center’s outcome-oriented approach seeks to maximize the long-term benefits for all involved. Partnerships and cooperation with allies from all sectors— including business, community, consumer and health—are part of this successful strategy. Acadia Center also advocates policy models that institutionalize stakeholder participation in key processes like energy planning.
Solutions to Scale
By focusing our efforts on the state/provincial and regional levels, Acadia Center has been able to circumvent national gridlock on climate and energy issues and apply our efforts where they may generate the greatest traction. The pioneering models are relevant and viable elsewhere, and these best practices have been exported to other jurisdictions as well as exploring ways to scale them to the national or cross-border levels.
Acadia Center finds solutions that produce real change. Good ideas, grounded by quality research, and framed in ways that resonate with consumers, employers and government can lead to meaningful progress and new directions.
Credible, Sophisticated Research
Acadia Center’s staff has the expertise and the data to understand complex policy issues and market dynamics from multiple perspectives. Analysis is meticulously researched, updated and cross-checked to ensure that the results are accurate and relevant. Over a decade, the CLEAN Center and its staff have developed a reputation for top-quality work.
Good information is only useful if it reaches the intended audience. Acadia CLEAN Center’s materials include visualizations, charts, white papers and tracker reports. Each publication is designed with target readers and viewers in mind. The data is distilled to address the key questions, and the context—political, environmental, economic—is always factored in to the analysis.
Answers and Action
Acadia Center’s recommendations are driven by hard data and analysis, not ideology or special interests. That neutrality facilitates non-traditional alliances and reaches all stakeholders—government, business and public interest groups. With the wealth of data in Acadia’s CLEAN Center has the capacity to answer tough questions, fast and respond to urgent issues with facts that cut through confusion or misinformation. Acadia CLEAN Center is a go-to resource for fellow advocates and for decision makers.