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

A Clean Heat Standard Ought to be About Electrification — That Means Lowering Electricity Rates

Posted by Larry Chretien on Friday, May 26, 2023 @ 10:56 AM

Decarbonizing buildings means putting an end to burning stuff in order to stay warm – whether methane, oil, or propane. The sustainable way to keep ourselves warm is through high-efficiency heat pumps (air-source or ground-source). That’s not just us talking, that’s the conclusion that Massachusetts has come to with its Clean Heat Commission report and Clean Energy and Climate Plans for 2030 and 2050. It’s also now policy for the state of New York. But this blog is not about whether we should electrify the heating sector. It’s this: People will switch to heat pumps and away from fossil fuels faster if we reduce electricity rates to make heat pumps more affordable.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts, Energy efficiency

Rhode Island Picks up the Pace on Clean Cars & Trucks

Posted by Anna Vanderspek and Amanda Barker on Monday, May 22, 2023 @ 05:30 PM

A little over a month ago we published a blog celebrating Massachusetts’ formal adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II standard and pointing out that Rhode Island was slow-walking on the standard. We are happy to report that Rhode Island has since picked up the pace! Governor Dan Mckee has announced that Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) will adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) and Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) standards. This is great news – and a big thank you goes out to Governor Mckee and the RIDEM team, as well as to Senator DiMario and Representative Cortvriend for sponsoring legislation (S195/H6055) calling for Rhode Island to implement the standards. And thank you to all of you who submitted written testimony and showed up at the hearing in support!

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Electric vehicles/Transportation, Rhode Island

A Clean Heat Standard Would Bring Flexibility to Home Electrification

Posted by Larry Chretien on Monday, May 22, 2023 @ 02:36 PM

Most of us still burn fossil fuels to heat our buildings, make hot water, cook, and dry our laundry. But recently, there’s been a welcome surge of interest among consumers in ways to switch to cleaner, more efficient heat pumps, induction stoves, and electric clothes dryers. To reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, we have to keep it up until we zero out our use of methane, oil, and propane. Towards that end, we have been giving many presentations on how federal and state incentives can make home electrification more affordable and how a Clean Heat Standard (CHS) would set us on a steady path toward zeroing out those emissions. In this blog, we want to highlight one particular benefit of a CHS: the flexibility it gives consumers in when and how they get off fossil fuels.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Energy efficiency, Home heating, Phasing out fossil fuels

Drive Green Resources Translated Thanks to QARI Drives Green

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Thursday, May 18, 2023 @ 02:00 PM

About one year ago, we published a blog announcing our new partnership with Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. (QARI). Since then, we’ve been hard at work, jointly hosting events about electric vehicles (EVs) and clean transportation and otherwise raising awareness about the benefits of EVs among the QARI community in and around Quincy, MA. A huge part of that work has been focused on making information about EVs accessible to people who do not speak English or are more comfortable learning in another language. We’re excited to share that our Drive Green website resources about EVs are now available in multiple languages thanks to this partnership!

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation

Electricity Suppliers: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Posted by Larry Chretien & Mikaela Hondros-McCarthy on Tuesday, May 09, 2023 @ 01:00 PM

Regular readers of our blogs know where we stand on options consumers have for receiving power supply. To recap: For customers of investor-owned utilities, you are better off, and the planet is better off if your community has green municipal aggregation than if you are on the utility’s Basic Service. And more than likely, you are going to pay more than you should if you choose a competitive electricity supplier on your own.

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Tags: Electricity and the grid, Green municipal aggregation

Building Decarbonization & Building Decarbonization

Posted by Larry Chretien, Amanda Barker & Carrie Katan on Monday, May 08, 2023 @ 03:00 PM

In Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and most other states, the building sector is second only to transportation in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For states that have already passed laws committing to serious GHG reductions, there is no way to avoid making a timely transition to clean heat (i.e. switching from methane, heating oil, and propane to electrification).  

But what’s a decarbonizer to do, exactly? Let's assess some of the options that are on the table for state governments. Spoiler alert: These are all excellent policies, but each one is insufficient. None of them are capable on their own of reducing building sector emissions 50% by 2030 or to net zero by 2050. But together they can.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Energy efficiency, Phasing out fossil fuels

Changes to Massachusetts Electric Car Rebate Program Expected July 1

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 @ 11:36 AM

Last year, Massachusetts passed a monumental climate law, An Act Driving Clean Energy & Offshore Wind. Among very many other things, the climate law called for significant changes to the state rebate program for electric vehicles, MOR-EV. Though some of those changes have been implemented, others have been on hold since the bill passed. Now we have learned that several more will come into effect on July 1. Here are the details.

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

New List of Electric Cars for Federal Tax Credit

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Friday, April 21, 2023 @ 05:19 PM

Earlier this month, we published a blog warning that the list of electric vehicles (EVs) that qualify for the federal tax credit would change on April 18, when the battery requirements written into the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) finally kicked in. The big day has arrived and we now know which vehicles meet the battery requirements, at least for now.

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation

EPA Proposes Ground-Breaking New Vehicle Emissions Standards

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Thursday, April 20, 2023 @ 09:02 AM

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released historic new proposed emissions standards for vehicles, both light-duty and medium- and heavy-duty. To meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the US as a whole must phase out the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. So far, the US is not on track to meet this challenge, but these new standards would set the country on the path to meeting this goal. These proposed regulations are the strongest emissions standards ever proposed by the EPA and the federal government’s “most aggressive climate regulation” ever.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Electric vehicles/Transportation, Climate change, Phasing out fossil fuels

There and Back: A Cross-Country Camping Trip in an All-Electric Vehicle

Posted by Glen Ayers, Guest Blogger on Thursday, April 13, 2023 @ 01:00 PM

My wife Mary and I just returned from a 2-month, 8,181-mile winter camping road trip, traveling from Massachusetts to California and back in our 2019 Kia e-Niro fully electric (64 kWh battery) crossover SUV. Along the way we spent 58 nights in a tent with our two dogs, mostly in the desert southwest, so calling it “winter camping” needs to be qualified. For most of the nights, the temperatures were well above freezing, though there were definitely a few chilly nights at the end of January when we began our trip, and a few more out west, especially when camping at higher elevations.

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation, Guest blog/Member spotlight