Acadia Center works strategically with partners on advancing New York energy and climate change policies: energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon pricing, beneficial electrification, utility innovation, and equity.
New York’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of 2019 is an example of national leadership on innovative ways for states to act on climate. As New York works to meet the challenge of these goals — achieve 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035, 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040, reduce economy-wide emissions by 85% by 2050, and ensure that no fewer than 35% of climate benefits occur in disadvantaged and environmental justice communities — Acadia Center is working with partners to provide accurate information and data and pathways to successful implementation. By drawing from our regional experience in New England and New York, we can offer best practices and practical approaches.
Our work in New York
Acadia Center has long worked with New York partners on regional initiatives such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) and climate issues affecting the Independent System Operator in New England (ISO-NE) and the New York ISO (NYISO). We increased our engagement in New York State’s energy and climate issues with the commencement of the state’s “Reforming the EnergyVision” (REV) initiative in 2014. Earlier that year, Acadia Center issued our original EnergyVision framework for how states can build a low carbon clean energy economy: increasing energy efficiency in buildings; transitioning to clean power; updating the rules that govern the utilities and power grid; and electrifying buildings and transportation. Acadia Center brought its data and experience with these issues in New England states and policy ideas into coalitions focused on New York. We engaged in most of the NY Public Service Commission and other proceedings addressing Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) issues and focused on areas where our capacities offered the most value: on solar policy and pricing; energy efficiency expansion; utility rates; and building heating. Our climate and energy analysis work is producing data-driven materials on how New York can expand its clean energy markets to meet goals.
Energy Efficiency and Clean Buildings
- Setting Ambitious Energy Efficiency Goals: As New York evaluated its approach to energy efficiency goals, Acadia Center’s data analysis and policy expertise helped to demonstrate that the state should upgrade its investment levels and energy savings goals to meet those successfully being achieved in neighboring states, particularly Massachusetts and Rhode Island (two of the leading efficiency states in the nation). Acadia Center advocated for a planned progression to ramp up savings goals, in line with what Massachusetts and Rhode Island had done over the prior decade. Many electric and gas utilities that operate in New England are also dominant utilities in New York State, which allows Acadia Center experts to apply their knowledge of utility positions and performance across state lines, and is another example of the need for a regional approach. Acadia Center’s information and recommendations were highly influential and, with many leading energy voices, New York is now on a path to harness more of the most cost-effective energy resource New York can use: energy efficiency.
- Clean Building Heating: Acadia Center develops information and policy recommendations to raise awareness about the opportunity to transition New York homes and businesses from their high reliance on fossil heating fuels – oil, propane, and natural gas – to clean, cost-effective electric heat pumps. Our Clean Heating Pathways report demonstrates why New York can benefit from clean, modern electric heating. We are a member of Renewable Heat Now, a statewide coalition focused on building heating, and as a lead co-convenor of the Smart Heat Collaborative, a regional network forum to expand participation and dialogue on clean heating pathways with stakeholders in New York, New England and mid-Atlantic states.
- PowerHouse: Acadia Center is developing an extensive research report on how New York buildings can convert to clean heating and other clean energy technologies. The upcoming PowerHouse report will point to the numerous benefits of shifting from fossil heating and cooking directly to electric options. It will show the interrelated consumer, cost savings, public health and indoor air quality benefits when clean energy technologies are deployed to work together, and paint a data-driven picture of how New York’s building stock can shift to be part of a healthier, more equitable clean energy future.
Clean Electricity: Advancing Consumer and Climate Goals
- Utility Rate Reform. When utilities proposed increasing their monthly fixed charges that consumers would have to pay – regardless of how much electricity they used – Acadia Center spearheaded a coalition of parties that intervened in rate cases and made the point that these rate proposals harmed consumers, were regressive, not supported by empirical data and would send the wrong signals to consumers to use energy efficiently. The Fixed Charge Coalition that ensued won the first ever roll-backs in fixed charges in New York and set the stage for a new way to evaluate rate policy and clean energy.
- Reforming the Energy Vision (REV): New York’s ambitious REV framework set a national example for state action to rethink the decades old approach to the role of utilities and the energy grid. New York embraced a new vision that puts consumers, climate and clean energy at the center of an energy system. Acadia Center intervened in virtually all of the key REV proceedings to apply its grid innovation and clean energy data and policy recommendations.
Regional Climate Initiatives
Acadia Center has long worked on regional initiatives that bring multi-state policy approaches to climate policy. We are helping to coordinate stakeholders and share information in the following initiatives:
- Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): Acadia Center’s leadership work on RGGI includes coordinating the regional stakeholder communications that provide a forum for discussing issues, developing strategies, and creating policy positions by those working to support RGGI and influence the investment of the funding stream it creates.
- Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI): As with RGGI, Acadia Center works to coordinate regional TCI discussions with stakeholders, sharing information, concerns and strategies. A particular focus is moving Northeast and mid-Atlantic states to adopt an aggressive approach to investing in necessary transportation improvements that particularly benefit low-income communities, which have historically been disproportionately shut out of access to transportation options while suffering from the pollution and health impacts our fossil based transportation systems impose.
- Regional Clean Building Heating: Acadia Center works with partners to lead the Smart Heat Collaborative, a multi-organization effort to share information and strategies on advancing clean heating in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. Acadia Center believes that regional interactions are powerful tools to press states to act, share best practices and influence entities that operate on a regional basis, such as many electric and gas utilities.
Acadia Center has a tradition of working closely with numerous coalitions and partners in New York, such as Renewable Heat Now, the Fixed Charge Coalition, RGGI and TCI.