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

Can Massachusetts Make EV Charging even More Affordable?

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Friday, November 27, 2020 @ 10:09 AM

We’re big advocates for incentivizing electric vehicle (EV) drivers to charge their cars off-peak by offering them a lower retail price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). “Off-peak” periods refer to times when demand for electricity is low – at these times, wholesale electricity prices and emissions per unit of energy are lower as well. Shifting EV charging demand by setting a price signal (sometimes call a “time-varying rate” (TVR) or “time-of-use rate” (TOU)) is a win for everyone: EV drivers, non-EV drivers, the environment, and our electric grid. Right now, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is considering whether and how to move forward on this issue – and we wanted to give you an update on progress made so far. (Fair warning: if ever there was a blogpost for the policy wonks, this is it!) 

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts, Electric vehicles/Transportation

Electrifying cars, buses, and trucks will save lives. Why wait?

Posted by Mal Skowron on Monday, November 23, 2020 @ 10:14 AM

When we talk about the intersection of transportation and the environmentwe’re often talking about greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, that trap heat in the atmosphere and warm our climate. However, the combustion of fossil fuels also releases co-pollutants – like nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulate matter – that form ozone and smog and make air unhealthy. Unlike greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change no matter where they’re released, co-pollutants have the biggest impact in the communities close to where they’re emitted.  

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation, Climate change

Offshore Wind puts Rhode Island back on track—but it has to be done right

Posted by Kai Salem on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 @ 01:32 PM

Green Energy Consumers Alliance welcomes the recent announcement that Rhode Island will look to procure up to 600 MW of offshore wind. In January, we applauded Governor Raimondo’s goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2030.  Since becoming the first state in the nation with offshore wind turbines, Rhode Island has fallen behind on our clean energy goals. The offshore wind procurement is a necessary and clear step to getting us back on track to a low-carbon future.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Rhode Island

What should we do about gas heat? A problem from Newport to Northampton

Posted by Kai Salem on Friday, November 06, 2020 @ 04:25 PM

Over the past week, many of us here in New England might have turned on our heat as temperatures dipped to near freezing for the first time this fall. For the slight majority of us in Rhode Island and Massachusetts who heat our homes with natural gas, we’re relying on a centrally distributed fossil fuel to keep our homes and businesses warm in winter. On the one hand, natural gas is cheap, and a growing economy calls for more customers to hook up to the pipeline. On the other, we are way over our budget for greenhouse gases. Natural gas releases carbon when burned and causes an even bigger problem when leaked in the form of methane. We have a conundrum on our hands: how do we urgently reduce emissions from our buildings when most of us rely on the natural gas system to supply needed warmth during the winter?

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Home heating

Consumer Reports: Electric cars are cheaper... really!

Posted by Mal Skowron on Friday, October 30, 2020 @ 11:36 AM

A new report by Consumer Reports has found that the average electric vehicle (EV) driver saves between $6,000 and $10,000 in lifetime costs compared to a gas-powered car. Their analysis considered a survey of 10,000 EV drivers and review of depreciation, financing, sale pricesand fuel costs to reach a remarkable conclusion: EVs, like those that are available through our Drive Green program, win out compared to the best-selling, top-rated, and most-efficient cars in their class.  

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation

Policy is rigged to favor gas guzzlers over climate, health, & consumers

Posted by Mal Skowron on Thursday, October 15, 2020 @ 10:00 AM

In April 2020, while the economy shuttered and infection rates for COVID-19 in the US skyrocketed, pickup truck sales exceeded sedan sales for the first time. Passenger cars are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and more people than ever believe man-made climate change is happening. So how are biggest gas-guzzling cars taking over the industry?

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Electric vehicles/Transportation

We Need the Transportation & Climate Initiative and It Must Be Equitable.  Advocates and Governors, Let's Get it Done Right

Posted by Larry Chretien, Anna Vanderspek, Priscilla De La Cruz, & Mal Skowron on Thursday, October 01, 2020 @ 05:31 PM

There is so much happening these days it’s hard to track everything, but if you haven’t heard much about the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), you will soon. It’s an idea that could result in a compact of 11-states (plus D.C.) in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic taddress transportation emissions. It would do so by setting a cap on emissions, a cap that declines over time. 

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Electric vehicles/Transportation, Climate change

Getting to 100% Renewable Energy in Rhode Island

Posted by Kai Salem & Larry Chretien on Monday, September 28, 2020 @ 07:38 PM

In January 2020, Governor Raimondo signed an Executive Order setting a goal of meeting Rhode Island electricity demand from 100% renewable sources by the end of the decade. Back in January, we wrote that we’re skeptical that another study will result in the action we need. Over six months later, where does Rhode Island stand on 100% renewable electricity?

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Tags: Renewable energy, Rhode Island, Climate change

Ending Gas-Powered Car Sales by 2035 is Doable

Posted by Mal Skowron on Friday, September 25, 2020 @ 05:10 PM

On Wednesday, September 23, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom of California issued an executive order that announced California would require all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state to be Zero-Emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035.  

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation, Climate change

Larry went on the Energy Nerd Show to Talk about Smart Charging EVs

Posted by Larry Chretien on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 @ 08:00 AM

It’s imperative that we all switch from internal combustion engines to electric cars for several compelling reasons. The most important is that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions enough to save the planet depends upon it. But what’s particularly exciting is: we can magnify the benefits of EVs by managing when we charge them.

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation, Climate change