The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

We Saw A Peak: Will We See More?

Posted by Kai Salem & Yaima Braga on Saturday, August 01, 2020 @ 10:46 AM

Last month, we predicted that summer temperatures might drive high demand — high enough to cause a peak day! Indeed, despite the depressive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional electricity demand, weeks that saw 90+ degree days across New England were enough for us to call peaks on July 20th, 27th, and 28th. A peak electricity demand day is a day on which extreme weather (usually hot temperatures) leads to a spike in electricity demand; these spikes are associated with more expensive and polluting electricity than usual.

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Tags: Electricity and the grid, Energy efficiency, Climate change

Looking for an electric SUV? Here’s what’s coming.

Posted by Tori Yanco on Wednesday, July 08, 2020 @ 07:06 PM

In the United States car market, big cars rule. In April 2020, crossovers, pickups, and SUVs together made up 70% of new vehicle sales in the “light” vehicle market. 70%! As we work to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), it’s clear that we need competitive EVs in these segments. There are already some excellent larger EVs available – check out the Hyundai Kona Electric, Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), Kia Niro EV and PHEV, Audi e-tron, or Tesla Model X on our Drive Green page. And we’ve previously written about the electric pick-up trucks headed our way. But automakers have announced or released several larger EVs that we’re keeping our eyes on. Here are the electric SUVs that we think are the ones to watch in 2020 and early 2021.

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation

Appliance Standards & Shave the Peak: Action Week for Efficiency

Posted by Kai Salem on Tuesday, July 07, 2020 @ 08:59 AM

This week, after about four months of lower-than-usual demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand is climbing to normal hot weather levels—enough to cause a potentially expensive and polluting peak day.

On peak days, we remind New Englanders to turn up the thermostat, turn off lights, and delay charging devices or electric vehicles—all to attempt to lower the peak electricity usage of the day and avoid turning on dirty power plants. But efficiency and conservation are important year round—in fact, as we have written many times, energy efficiency is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce emissions and save consumers money.

What if there were a simple, free policy that would save money, water, and energy year round, all without any effort from consumers or any impact on the economy? This magical policy exists, and it’s called appliance standards! In the coming weeks, we need your help to update appliance standards in Massachusetts.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts, Energy efficiency

The Violence of Pollution: The Injustice of Rolling Back Clean Air Protections

Posted by Paola Massoli on Thursday, July 02, 2020 @ 02:11 PM

It is mid-June 2020 and another day of unrest in America. As I scan the news, I learn that the environment has been under attack. Again. President Trump recently signed an executive order to dismantle the process requiring environmental reviews of large infrastructure projects, including oil and gas pipelines. I also learn that the administration is proposing restrictions that would further weaken air pollution controls. As I dig more, I find out that it could get a lot worse for clean water too.

Sadly, I am not surprised. It has been 4 years of chipping away at environmental protections; it’s a long list covering everything under the sun, from vehicle efficiency standards to wildlife protection. I shut down my laptop and step outside. I need fresh air.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Climate change

The surprising overlap between heat pumps and electric cars

Posted by Mal Skowron on Wednesday, July 01, 2020 @ 10:02 AM

We at Green Energy Consumers Alliance like to connect the dots between technology, markets, and policy to help people make smart green energy choices. Electric cars help dramatically lower the carbon footprint of passenger vehicles, just as electric heat pumps replace the fossil fuels used to heat our homes; this is why we’re helping people to make the switch to both. But there’s an overlap between these two technologies that we find interesting and important.

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation

Massachusetts Expands MOR-EV Program

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Saturday, June 27, 2020 @ 09:15 AM

At yesterday's Massachusetts Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Commission's quarterly meeting, the state announced a change to the MOR-EV rebate program. This important electric vehicle incentive will now be available to commercial fleet owners, as well as individual residents of the Commonwealth. We applaud the state for taking this step and are encouraged by conversation that further program changes may follow. In fact, we have a couple of ideas...

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Electric vehicles/Transportation

Municipal Aggregation in Massachusetts is Being Slowed Down by State Government: Consumers & The Environment Are Paying The Price

Posted by Larry Chretien on Friday, June 26, 2020 @ 03:30 PM

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, about 85% of the population is served by investor-owned electric utility distribution companies - Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil. By law, their customers have three options for how they would get their electricity supply. The first option is to stick with the utility’s Basic Service. The second is to select, by yourself for just yourself, a “competitive power supplier”. And the third is to receive the supply service from a community’s municipal aggregation program.

Although municipal aggregation has proven itself to be the superior option for consumers both economically and environmentally, Massachusetts government, especially the Department of Public Utilities, has failed to support the model to the extent necessary to achieve important policy goals.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts, Green municipal aggregation

The EVs of the Seas - Cargo Ships, Sailboats, Yachts, and ferries

Posted by Tori Yanco on Friday, June 26, 2020 @ 10:00 AM

When we think of pollution and the emissions associated with transportation, planes, trains, and automobiles are often the first modes of mobility that come to mind. Cars in particular have been at the forefront of the electrification conversation, for good reason -- according to the EPA's 2017 report on US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a cumulative 82% of transportation emissions came from passenger vehicles and medium to heavy duty trucks combined. (Transportation accounted for 29% of overall GHG emissions, so that 82% of transportation emissions translates roughly to ~24% of total GHG emissions.) We've written extensively on vehicle electrification, and our Drive Green program works to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). Now we'd like to take a look at EVs nautical counterpart -- boats.

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation

Shave the Peak in the Era of COVID: Summer is Coming

Posted by Kai Salem & Yaima Braga on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 @ 02:53 PM

Last month, we covered some of the impacts that COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home orders have had on our electric grid. This month, the pandemic has continued to drive low electricity demand and record low electricity prices. Even better, low demand and higher than ever solar production has led to a greener grid. But as temperatures rise and stay-at-home orders relax this summer, can we expect low demand, prices, and emissions to continue?

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Tags: Electricity and the grid, Energy efficiency, Climate change

5 things I learned from buying a used electric car

Posted by Mal Skowron on Thursday, June 18, 2020 @ 12:03 PM

Due to the popularity of certain electric luxury sedans and SUVs, electric cars have the reputation of being expensive and inaccessible to most consumers. In reality, many new EV models are priced around what the average car-buyer is paying for a new car in the U.S. these days (i.e. $37,000) even before federal and state incentives.

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