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

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Car Corner: February 2024

The electric car market is always evolving. Our Car Corner quarterly blog is the Drive Green Team’s way of providing you with the latest insights, trends, and updates! We are committed to delivering a thorough update to keep our readers well-informed and empowered with the necessary knowledge to secure the best deal on the perfect car.

Picture of Ezra Messinger Ezra Messinger

Time to Comment on the Clean Energy Transition in Massachusetts

For many years, there has been a lot going on in terms of Massachusetts energy and climate policy, but this year may top them all. We are seeing an unprecedented number of opportunities for citizens in the Commonwealth to speak out on a wide range of issues – grid modernization, strengthening the Clean Energy Standard, establishing a Clean Heat Standard, and energy policy in general. We encourage you to comment on topics that interest you. Here’s a list for your perusal, with text from the relevant agencies.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

How to Get Trusted Advice on Heat Pumps for your Home

Converting our heating systems from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps is an urgent step in our process of cleaning up our act in the face of mounting climate catastrophes. Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island have ambitious goals and generous incentives to speed that transition, but figuring out when and how to make the switch for your own property remains a complicated question.

Loie Hayes

New Rules for Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

Back in December, we wrote about how the rules for what electric vehicles (EVs) qualify for the federal tax credit were going to change in 2024. Those changes did kick in January 2024, but so did new rules about how to claim the federal tax credit that we hadn’t expected. This blog will go over which vehicles qualify and how to claim the credit. The main kicker: you must purchase from a dealership that has registered with the IRS, whether you claim the credit when you purchase the vehicle or when you file your taxes.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Data Shows: Retail Electricity Suppliers Love to Greenwash

If there's one thing we hate at Green Energy Consumers Alliance, it’s greenwashing. This is the practice of exaggerating or lying about the worthiness of a good or service with respect to environmental impact. Our organization exists to help people find their way to economically and environmentally sound energy solutions. So, it breaks our hearts when we see some companies take advantage of the fact that it’s often easy to make a product sound better than it is. Case in point: Renewable energy in the electricity market.  

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Everything you need to know about the Massachusetts MOR-EV rebate program in 2024

As we step into the new year, electric vehicle enthusiasts and potential buyers in Massachusetts have reason to celebrate with the latest updates to the Massachusetts MOR-EV program. This groundbreaking initiative, aimed at promoting the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across the state, has undergone several enhancements over the last several months, making it even more attractive for consumers. In this blog, we will do a bit of a refresher on all the programs under the MOR-EV umbrella: MOR-EV Standard, MOR-EV Used, MOR-EV+,MOR-EV Trucks, plus talk about MOR-EV Trade-in and the exciting new point-of-sale feature.

Picture of Devan DiLibero Devan DiLibero

Strengthening the Massachusetts Clean Energy Standard

This month, the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking comments on a discussion documentabout potential new rules to strengthen the Mass. Clean Energy Standard (CES), which sets a minimum percentage of electricity sales that must come from new clean energy sources. According to the discussion document, DEP is considering these changes to align the CES with the greenhouse gas reduction requirements of the Clean Energy and Climate Plan and specific emission sublimit for the electricity sector. Green Energy Consumers has reviewed the discussion document, is very pleased by the proposed changes, and encourages citizens to express support.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Phasing out Fossil Fuels at Home: A Step by Step Family Journey

The science is clear. We all must phase out fossil fuels, the sooner the better, but no later than 2050.  But there is no one path for us all on the journey to zero carbon. Each family’s situation is different from their neighbor’s. In my family’s case, we are not all the way to zero yet, but we are making good progress. Hopefully, this story will generate some ideas for your household.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

The Future of Gas in Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Utility-supplied natural gas (methane) is the primary heating fuel in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, supplying 52% and 54% of homes, respectively. Given their mandates to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, both states are exploring strategies to transition away from their prevalent gas distribution systems. However, reducing and ultimately eliminating emissions from the heating sector, and doing so in a manner that minimizes costs to utility consumers and the state, is a formidable policy challenge. It will be an interesting journey, but one that must be taken.

Amanda Barker & Carrie Katan

Upcoming 2024 Changes to the Federal Clean Vehicle Tax Credit

The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is a central pillar of the Biden administration’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change; and the federal Clean Vehicle Tax Credit is a key part of the administration’s approach. In 2024, that incentive changes in two ways: it becomes available at the point-of-sale and new battery provisions kick in that will likely reduce the number of eligible vehicle models.

Picture of Ezra Messinger Ezra Messinger

Massachusetts Funding Opportunities for Electric School Buses

A note from Green Energy Consumers: Every now and then, we like to feature a guest blog on our website. With this blog, we’re happy to feature Milia Chamas and Orly Strobel from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, who’ll tell you all about current opportunities for funding for electric school buses in Massachusetts.

Picture of Milia Chamas & Orly Strobel Milia Chamas & Orly Strobel

Offshore Wind Critical to Preservation of a Livable & Equitable Future

The climate crisis demands a fundamental cultural shift in our energy system. Revolution Wind 1 and the South Fork Wind projects off Rhode Island’s coast meet a critical need for large-scale carbon-free electricity generation in the Northeast. Two stewards of historic and cultural structures, the Preservation Society of Newport County and the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation, recently positioned their organizations at odds with these projects in a group of appeals that cite alleged impacts to ocean views.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

Massachusetts Residents: Take Action For Smart Charging Rates for Electric Cars

If you drive an electric car, it matters when you plug in and charge – both in terms of the emissions caused by the generation of each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you consume and in terms of the costs you are imposing on the system as a whole. There are lots of tools at our utilities’ disposal to encourage electric vehicle (EV) owners to charge when both emissions and costs are low, but unfortunately, in Massachusetts, our utilities are behind. Now, we have an opportunity to advocate for a smart charging policy, called a “time-of-use rate,” before the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) at a virtual public hearing at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, December 13. Here’s how to take action.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Watch Out for Misinformation About Electricity Suppliers

Green Energy Consumers Alliance has been supporting a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that would stop retail electricity suppliers from signing up new customers on an individual basis. The bill would not affect municipal aggregation. The legislation has been sponsored by Rep. Frank Moran and Senator Brendan Crighton in collaboration with Attorney General Campbell and with the support of Governor Healey. The bill is a common sense reaction to the fact that the Attorney General’s office has solid data showing how consumers receiving power from competitive electricity suppliers have collectively paid over a half billion dollars more over six years than if they received service from their utility. Low-income families and people of color have been disproportionally targeted and harmed.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Car Corner

The electric car market is evolving rapidly, which offers a mix of excitement and frustration for both enthusiasts and curious customers. The Drive Green team is deeply entrenched in the day-to-day development of the car market, and we’re here to provide you with a comprehensive update in our new quarterly blog series called Car Corner. While the electric vehicle (EV) market has certainly improved since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to understand that issues with lead times still exist, from supply-chain issues to manufacturing delays. Car Corner will be a valuable resource to consumers, where we’ll navigate through the maze of misleading information and share important updates on the market, new EVs to look out for, shifts in state rebates, and some insider tips from dealerships. 

Picture of Ezra Messinger Ezra Messinger

New report: GMA continues to be a success in the Bay State

Our newest report shows how Green Municipal Aggregation (GMA) allows a municipality to contract for cleaner, more affordable electricity for residents. Green Energy Consumers Alliance serves GMA programs in 21 Massachusetts communities and seven Rhode Island communities by providing additional renewable energy above and beyond what is required by state laws.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Introducing the Massachusetts Clean Heat Platform

Green Energy Consumers Alliance and our allied organizations are certain that more legislation is needed if Massachusetts is to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction mandates. This is especially true when it comes to the state's second-largest source of emissions, the residential and commercial building sector. No one bill or policy proposed in this session is sufficient by itself to meet these objectives. However, several complementary policies have been proposed together that would move us away from fossil fuels and towards electrification.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Renewable Propane: A Reality Check

The propane industry has been advocating for the use of renewable propane to reduce emissions for their customer base. According to 2022 American Community Survey estimates, 153,000, or about 5 percent, of homes across Massachusetts and Rhode Island use propane as their primary heating fuel. That is a large enough number to take a close look at what renewable propane is all about. This blog provides a brief introduction to the fuel, if it will ever be affordable, and its climate impacts.  

Picture of Carrie Katan Carrie Katan

The Economics of Battery Supply Chains: Paving the Way for Electric Vehicle Expansion

The electric vehicle revolution is well underway, promising a greener, more sustainable future for the automotive industry. However, despite the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), several significant hurdles are obstructing their widespread adoption. At the forefront of these challenges are supply chain issues, particularly concerning critical components like batteries. Among the most pressing concerns is the heavy reliance on rare and essential minerals, including lithium, cobalt, and nickel, which are indispensable for battery cathodes. We’ve written before about the human rights and environmental issues with mineral mining, and that’s something we’re continuing to learn about. This blog post is more focused on the economic side. Though the supply chain for these vital materials is far from stable, and the necessary infrastructure is not yet fully developed, the last year has seen some significant progress – particularly thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.

Picture of Ezra Messinger Ezra Messinger

Electric Cars & Costs to the Grid

As more and more people switch from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles (EVs), we hear a lot of questions along the lines of “can the grid handle it?” Sometimes that question is about supply and emissions (i.e. will we have enough clean energy resources to supply all the kilowatt-hours of electricity those EVs will need?), sometimes it’s about reliability (can the infrastructure handle it?), and sometimes it’s about costs. We've written before about how we have time and tools to prepare for this transition. This blog specifically addresses the question of the grid costs of increased EV adoption.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

RGGI’s Third Program Review: Charting a Path Towards Zero?

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-invest program among Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector, is currently undergoing its third program review. This means the participating states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, are collectively examining the successes, impacts, and design of their CO2 budget trading programs, and considering updates to the program design. We see this third program review as a real opportunity to strengthen RGGI in a way that would significantly and equitably drive down power sector emissions and have been following the process closely. We have been told that the process will conclude by the end of the year. Here is what we know:

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

Demand Charge Alternatives for EV Charging in Massachusetts

Back in January, we wrote aboutthe approval by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) of $400 million for electric vehicle (EV) charging in Massachusetts. Since then, both National Grid and Eversource have rolled out new incentives for both infrastructure upgrades and charging hardware. (Our incentives pagedetails the incentives available to residential consumers; see this pagefor commercial incentives).In addition to approving these programs to address the upfront costs of installing charging, the DPU approved a new program through 2032 to address ongoing costs for commercial entities (including municipalities): specifically, demand charges.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

What’s Needed in Rhode Island Energy EV Filing

We have been attending Rhode Island Energy’s (RIE’s) quarterly Power Sector Transformation sessions for a few years to learn about and advise on electrification initiatives in the state. At the most recent session, we learned that Rhode Island plans to submit an Electric Vehicle Program Filing with the PUC this Fall. Given that transportation is the largest source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the state, RIE’s EV programming will be a key piece of Rhode Island’s approach to meeting the emissions reduction mandate of the Act on Climate. Recognizing this important role, we submitted this memoto key stakeholders detailing what we think RIE EV programs must include to result in adequate emissions reductions. Below are our four main points:

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

Biodiesel & the Clean Heat Standard

In previous blogs, we expressed strong support for a Clean Heat Standard (CHS) as a policy to decarbonize the building sector. We have also expressed vehement opposition to the notion put forth by gas utilities of allowing renewable natural gas and hydrogen to be considered clean heat. This blog covers the question of whether biodiesel ought to be given credit as clean heat when blended with regular heating oil. Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Massachusetts Electric Car Charging Council Issues Report

Last month, we published a blog encouraging residents of Massachusetts to send in comments to the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Coordinating Council (EVICC) as it was preparing its initial assessment for the Legislature. Dozens of you responded and sent in your thoughts on the state of electric vehicle (EV) charging in Massachusetts – thank you! Now, EVICC has published its Initial Assessment. Here’s what’s in that report and what's next.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

The Bolt is Back! (Well, it will be.)

By far one of the most popular cars in the Drive Green program, the Chevy Bolt not only boasts a good electric range (259 miles) but is currently one of the most affordable electric vehicles (EVs) on the market (starting at $26,500 before incentives). This year has seen a ton of changes for the Bolt: first, we heard that the Bolt would be discontinued, but now, GM has announced they’re bringing it back. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Picture of Devan DiLibero Devan DiLibero

Three Big Changes to Massachusetts’ Rebate for Electric Cars

The wait is over! Massachusetts just announced three new changes to the state rebate program for electric cars, MOR-EV, that will make electric vehicles (EVs) more accessible to more people in Massachusetts. All three changes stem from last year’s climate law, which included several provisions to make EV access more equitable in the Commonwealth.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Oil Prices on the Rise Again

If you’ve been following the economic news, you know that inflation has generally subsided and employment has been strong. But in recent weeks, we have seen a rise in oil prices. Nationally, gasoline prices have risen almost a penny per day for the last month. In New England, wholesale heating oil prices have risen almost two pennies per day. What’s going on?

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Staying the Path Towards Offshore Wind in New England

There has been a lot of news about offshore wind in New England lately. First, some good news: Vineyard Wind 1, an 800MW project contracted with Massachusetts, is currently under construction and expected to be up and running by the end of the year. The project is expected to produce enough power for more than 400,000 homes and create approximately 3,600 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) job years. In Rhode Island news, The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)for Revolution Wind 1, a 704MW project with 400MW contracted with RI and 304MW contracted with CT. This FEIS is the second to last step before final approval, which is expected by the end of the summer.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

A good Clean Heat Standard would apply to gas, oil, and propane. Not electricity.

In Massachusetts, both the legislative and executive branches are considering a Clean Heat Standard (CHS) to reduce emissions in the building sector. We’ve been writing a lot about the CHS lately – how it wouldhelp get climate funding for public housing, should encourage electrification, and would allow consumersmore flexibility in home electrification. As the state starts getting into specifics, one thing is clear: a good CHS would apply to gas, oil, and propane, not electricity.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Rhode Island Update: DRIVE EV & E-Bike Rebate Programs

UPDATE: The DRIVE EV and Erica Niedowski e-bike rebate programs have paused application acceptance until the week of September 18, 2023, due to funding issues.

 

July is a big month for Driving Rhode Island to Vehicle Electrification (DRIVE EV) announcements! Last July, Rhode Islanders were thrilled to learnthat the DRIVE EV rebate had been re-instated. This July, we learned that the program is taking a brief pause (as of July 11) before it resumes on August 1, 2023.

Picture of Devan DiLibero Devan DiLibero

Tell Massachusetts About Your EV Charging Needs

Updated July 26 to add third public hearing and how to submit written comments!

Last year’s climate law in Massachusetts set up an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Coordinating Council (EVICC) that has been meeting since the spring to prepare a report on the Commonwealth’s electric vehicle (EV) charging needs. This month, EVICC is hosting three public hearings for residents to share their experiences and inviting written public comment.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Why we sent a Shave the Peak Alert for July 6

On July 5, we sent thousands of our followers a “Shave the Peak” alert because of the high forecasted peak electric demand on July 6. Shave the Peak is our program designed to inform people, via text and email alerts, how and when to reduce their power usage on days when peak demand rises above 22,000 MW. The electric demand forecasted on July 6 by ISO-New Englandfor July 6 was 22,700 MW. The actual peak electric demand on July 6 was recorded as 22,389 MW at 5:50 PM. Note that without behind-the-meter solar, peak demand would have been 24,264 MW.

Rebecca Toomey

Rhode Island Must Increase its Capacity to Make Climate Progress

Rhode Island has committed to combating climate change by adopting one of the strongest climate policies in the nation: An Act on Climate, committing the state to 45% emissions reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050. While Rhode Island is at the forefront of aggressive climate policy, it is not alone. California, New York, and Massachusetts all have similar emissions reductions targets and the ultimate goal of net zero by 2050. The difference is that these states have all backed up their commitment by making budgetary allocations for decarbonization. Rhode Island has just recently taken a modest step towards funding its decarbonization efforts.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

Victory in New Building Decarbonization at the Eleventh Hour!

Late into the last night (early morning on June 16, actually) of session, the RI General Assembly passed S855 Sub A requiring the RI building code commission to adopt the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) within 3 months of its publication, which is expected this Fall. Rhode Island is now set to become the first state to adopt the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This legislation was one of Green Energy Consumers’ top priorities this legislative session, especially since the state currently uses only the 2018 IECC with weakening amendments. Adopting this code will mean that new buildings in Rhode Island will be more energy efficient and have much lower emissions than ever before.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

Public Housing Needs Climate Funding: A Clean Heat Standard Will Help

Through the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), Massachusetts is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the entire economy, including the transportation, electricity, and building sectors (45% by 2030 and net zero by 2050). The building sector includes about 73,000 public housing units for the most vulnerable people in society. Rents are pegged to 30% of the residents' incomes. Public housing has been chronically underfunded for decades, leading to a multi-billion dollar capital backlog that reduces building efficiency and dramatically impacts tenants’ quality of life. So naturally, if we want to reduce the energy consumption of public housing and improve conditions for its residents, we need to be serious about where the funding will come from.

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

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.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Rhode Island Picks up the Pace on Clean Cars & Trucks

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!

Anna Vanderspek and Amanda Barker

A Clean Heat Standard Would Bring Flexibility to Home Electrification

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.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Drive Green Resources Translated Thanks to QARI Drives Green

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!

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

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

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.

Building Decarbonization & Building Decarbonization

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.

Changes to Massachusetts Electric Car Rebate Program Expected July 1

Update from July 2023: We do not have a firm date by when to expect many of the changes described in this blog. The MOR-EV website says: “Rebates for eligible plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) will be phasing out of the MOR-EV program. Eligible PHEVs purchased or leased on or before June 30, 2023 will have 90 days from the purchase or lease date to submit their application for a $1,500 rebate. PHEVs purchased or leased after this date will not be eligible for a MOR-EV rebate. Stay tuned for additional information about expanded MOR-EV programs to be launched during the summer of 2023.

We will keep this blog updated as we learn more!

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

EPA Proposes Ground-Breaking New Vehicle Emissions Standards

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.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

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

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.

Glen Ayers, Guest Blogger

ACT School Bus: Accelerating School Bus Electrification in the Commonwealth

A note from Green Energy Consumers Alliance: We are BIG fans of electric school buses. We’ve written about them on our blog, we advocate for state policy to make it easier for school districts to get them, and we educate community members on their benefits. We are very happy to feature this guest blog from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center on its school bus program, ACT School Bus.

School bus fleet electrification projects are on the rise nationwide, and new federal and state funding programs offer an opportunity for underserved public school districts to be some of the earliest adopters of electric school buses in the United States. In 2022, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the Clean School Bus Program, a rebate program that will provide $5 billion over the next five fiscal years (FY22 through FY26) to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission vehicles. EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, along with other state and federal programs, has the potential to deploy thousands of zero-emission school buses each year. MassCEC has launched a program called ACT School Bus to help Massachusetts school districts apply for and complement federal funding for electric school buses. Keep reading to find out how your school district can take action!

Harriet Slaats & Orly Strobel

Electric Cars That Qualify for Federal Tax Credit to Change on April 18

Back in January, we reported that the federal government was delaying the implementation of the complicated new battery and mineral requirements for the federal tax credit for electric cars, known as the Clean Vehicle Credit. Last week, the Treasury Department released the guidance we’ve all been waiting for. Here’s what you need to know about these upcoming changes to the federal tax credit.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Massachusetts Adopts Clean Car Standards. Rhode Island... Slow-walks.

Today (March 31, 2023), the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that Massachusetts has formally adopted the Advanced Clean Cars II standards (ACCII). This is great news – and a BIG thank you goes out to all of you who submitted comments in support of these standards at DEP’s hearing earlier this year! The ACCII standards will ensure that Massachusetts residents have access to the full range of electric vehicle model choices and that the Commonwealth phases out the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. Rhode Island, meanwhile, is slow-walking on these important standards.

Anna Vanderspek and Amanda Barker

Rhode Islanders: Take Action for Clean Cars

Important legislation is being heard TODAY in Rhode Island that would direct the Ocean State to adopt advanced vehicle emissions standards out of California as long as they are more stringent than federal law. Adopting such standards, like Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Trucks, is crucial to Rhode Island’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 45% by 2030, as required by an Act on Climate. Rhode Islanders can take action to support this important legislation by testifying at a hearing TODAY (Thursday, March 30) or submitting written comments. Here are all the details you’ll need.

Anna Vanderspek and Amanda Barker

The Latest IPCC Report & What It Means for Massachusetts & Rhode Island

On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)released its most recent report, whichstatesin no uncertain terms that we need to increase the pace of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, the IPCC report said we must reduce carbon emissions by two thirds by 2035.With the release of the report, United NationsSecretary General António Guterres called on developed nations to achieve net-zero emissions by as close to 2040 as possible, rather than the 2050 date that has been the standard – and the date around which Massachusetts and Rhode Island climate policy has developed. What does this latest international call for urgency and speed mean for our work here in Massachusetts and Rhode Island?

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

Transportation Electrification Bills That Matter in Massachusetts

Per the Clean Energy & Climate Plan for 2025 and 2030, Massachusetts must reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector 34% by 2030 for the economy as a whole to cut emissions in half compared to 1990. Last year’s climate bill made some good progress on this front: adjusting the state’s MOR-EV rebate, creating a fund to support the build-out of charging infrastructure, committing to a phase-out of new gas-powered cars by 2035, and setting timelines for MBTA bus fleet electrification. Though a promising start, there’s much more to be done. Here are the transportation electrification bills we’re prioritizing this legislative session. This list may change as the session progresses, but here’s what we have our eye on now.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Municipal Aggregation Comes to Rhode Island! Greener power at lower cost.

We're excited to announce the start of something good in Rhode Island. Seven cities and towns have adopted “green municipal aggregation” as a way to add more renewable energy to their electricity supply affordably. Here’s the Magnificent Seven: Barrington, Central Falls, Narragansett, Newport, Portsmouth, Providence, and South Kingstown. Better yet, starting in May, customers enrolled in these aggregations will pay a lower rate than what would be charged by Rhode Island Energy.

Green Energy Consumers Alliance

How on Earth will the grid handle all these heat pumps & EVs?

In the course of our work promoting the electrification of transportation and heating, we are often asked how the grid is going to hold up with the increased demand caused by heat pumps and electric vehicles (EVs). Recently, one of our favorite state legislators said he gets that question frequently too. So, here’s our response.

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

Phasing Out Fluorescent Light Bulbs Can Protect Health & Lower Energy Bills

Fluorescent lights are a common sight in offices, garages, and basements—but they contain toxic mercury and use far more energy than newer alternatives. By phasing out fluorescents in favor of efficient LED bulbs, Rhode Island and Massachusetts can avert a needless health risk, save families and business money on utility bills, and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Amanda Barker & Carrie Katan

New Price Caps for Federal Tax Credit for Electric Cars

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Treasury Department made a change to the federal tax credit for electric vehicles (EVs) that changes the list of eligible vehicles for 2023. This is the second big update to the federal tax credit this year, following the January decision to postpone the implementation of the complicated battery and mineral requirements in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

It’s Cold. Here’s What Happens to Electric Cars in Winter.

With winter in full swing, let’s talk about the change in range for electric car drivers. It’s no secret that cold temperatures reduce the range of a vehicle, whether electric or gas-powered. Recently, we hosted two webinars on the topic – one focused on winter driving in general and one focused on winter road trips. What better way to spend time indoors in the freezing cold today than catch up on the recordings?

Picture of Devan DiLibero Devan DiLibero

Massachusetts Residents: Take Action for Clean Cars!

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently filed the regulations needed to adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) regulations. As we’ve written before, these regulations are crucial for Massachusetts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030. Now, there’s a chance for YOU to support these key rules, either by testifying in person before DEP on January 30 or submitting written comments by February 9. Here’s all you need to know to act.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

$400 Million For Electric Car Charging in Massachusetts!

Way back in the summer of 2021, the electric utilities in Massachusetts – Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil – proposed bold new electric vehicle programs to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). For the next year, the DPU engaged in a formal process to weigh the utilities’ proposals. Green Energy Consumers served as an official “intervenor” in this docket, which means we advocated for what we thought the DPU should approve. Now, finally, a year and a half later, the DPU has issued its order, unleashing hundreds of millions of dollars for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next four years via Make Ready programs and rebates for charging installation (those are two separate but complementary things, as we’ll talk about below!).

May 2023 update: The utility programs are now live and taking applications! You can learn more about how much is available in incentives for residential consumers (single family, 2-4 unit buildings, and 5+) and how to apply here on our website.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Lifecycle Emissions of Electric Cars vs. Gasoline

When we talk about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles (EVs), we get a lot of questions about the lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of EVs vs internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Electric cars don’t have tailpipe emissions when running on electricity, but battery manufacturing is an energy-intensive process. So how does the math work out? According to this report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), EVs have far fewer global warming emissions over their lifetime than ICE cars.  Inthis blog, we'll break down the research from UCS and explain how EVs are cleaner and produce less total GHG emissions.

Kelly Shin

Two states & their Decarbonization challenges

Rhode Island and Massachusetts both have mandates to reduce statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels: 50% for Massachusetts and 45% for Rhode Island. Let’s take a look at the approaches they’re taking in the building sector, specifically – what they have in common, what’s different, and what might work.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Yet Another Update on the Federal Clean Vehicle Credit

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) signed into law by President Biden in August 2022 fundamentally changed the structure of the federal tax credit for electric vehicles (EVs). Now, we’ve learned that the U.S. Treasury is delaying implementation of one key piece of the IRA, which means more vehicle models than expected may be eligible for incentives for a short time at the beginning of 2023. 

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Rhode Island Can & Must Phase Out Gas Cars

Rhode Island has led the nation in the electric sector, with the first offshore wind farm in the country off of Block Island and the groundbreaking law to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2033. Unfortunately, concerning the transportation sector, the state is lagging behind several states. This year, we are advocating for Rhode Island to adopt a key set of regulations coming out of California: the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) standards. 

Anna Vanderspek and Amanda Barker

Our Review of the Massachusetts Clean Heat Commission Report

On November 30, the Massachusetts Clean Heat Commission released its long-awaited report with recommendations for “strategies and policies to achieve deep emissions reductions from heating fuels in the state.” We’ve been waiting for this report for a long time (see our open letter to the Commission from January 2022 here), but it’s important to note that the report does not set policy itself.  We expect the report to be well-read by Governor-Elect Maura Healey and the legislature – the ultimate deciders for what happens now.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Seriously, hydrogen is not for heating homes & businesses

A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog explaining why renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen should not be mixed in with natural gas (methane) and sent through pipes to heat buildings. That blog focused on RNG – how there’s not enough to go around, that we don’t really know how much it will cost, and that getting to net-zero carbon emissions means phasing out combustion in all its forms. This blog will focus on the other fuel some stakeholders are pushing: hydrogen.

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

Guest Blogpost: The Magic School Bus

A note from Green Energy Consumers Alliance: We are big fans of electric school buses. You might've read our recent blogpost about the electric school buses coming to Massachusetts and Rhode Island thanks to new grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Today, we're excited to share a guest blogpost from Block Island about their new electric school bus, which was donated by the Solar Initiative (not funded by the EPA). Many thanks to Cindy Davis of the Solar Initiative for this post!

Cindy Davis

New Electric School Buses Coming to Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Earlier this summer, we wrote about applications being open for the Clean School Bus Program. Now, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced who got awarded – and school districts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are on the list!

GECA staff and partners with an electric school bus in Beverly, MA.

Malia Ching

Another Data Point in Favor of Municipal Aggregation: Eversource Rate Hike

Late on Friday afternoon, November 18, Eversource filed its Basic Service power supply rate (excluding delivery rates) for its eastern Massachusetts territory for the period of January 1 through June 30, 2023, with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). That supply rate came in at 26 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), up from 15.8 cents/kWh for the same period in 2022 and 11.8 cents/kWh in 2021.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

A Buyers’ Guide to EV Charging Speeds

If you’re shopping for a new electric vehicle (EV), there may be several key features you’re looking for: trunk space, driving range, and other attractive styling options that may sway your decision for you. As more EV models come out and the technology improves, it’s possible that you’ll have a hard time comparing EVs on what’s probably a very important spec to you: charging speed. Truth be told, technical information about charging speed can be hard to understand. 

In this blog, we'll tell you all you need to know to compare EV charging speeds - information that will come in handy for your next road trip! 

Kelly Shin and Mal Skowron

Renewable Natural Gas & Hydrogen are NOT the Answers to Home Heating

If you haven’t seen it yet, you will. Gas utilities everywhere are putting out propaganda that they can decarbonize the gas that flows through our pipes to heat our homes and businesses. National Grid, one of the major utilities in Massachusetts and New York, has produced a document with its vision of a clean energy future. If you read through the paper carefully, you will see how important it is to the gas utility to mix Renewable Energy Gas (RNG) and hydrogen with natural gas (fracked methane). Whether it’s in the public interest is a different question.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Is Mass Save capable of phasing out natural gas?

Massachusetts and Rhode Island have both committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions economy-wide to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Achieving these required reductions means zeroing out emissions associated with heating our homes and businesses, which means phasing out the combustion of fossil fuels for heat.

Our two favorite states have had nation-leading energy efficiency programs for many years and those programs have saved an impressive amount of electricity, heating oil, propane, and natural gas. But are these programs up to the task of actually phasing out fossil fuels by 2050?

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Why are energy prices so high this winter & where are we headed?

In recent weeks, gas and electric utilities have been announcing steep price hikes for the next few months – some starting on November 1 and some starting later. Consumers of heating oil and diesel fuel have also seen extraordinary retail price increases compared to a year ago. It’s a topic that Green Energy Consumers Alliance has been monitoring with an eye toward the short run and the long run. So, when our good friends at Metro West Climate Solutions asked for a presentation on why energy prices are so high this coming winter and where are headed, we were happy to oblige and join them for a webinar on October 25. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Boston Globe Feature: How The DPU Is Preventing Communities From Lowering Utility Bills - And Carbon Emissions

In case you missed it, the Boston Globe did an excellent story exposing how the Mass. Department of Public Utilities has been poorly managing applications of cities and towns to adopt municipal aggregation.

Read the full article

Green Energy Consumers Alliance

What's Up With the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Rebate?

Massachusetts’ rebate program for electric vehicles, MOR-EV, has been critical to the growth of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the Commonwealth. This summer, Governor Baker signed into law An Act Advancing Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, which made important changes to the state EV rebate program. Those changes, however, have not yet come into effect. Here’s a summary of what changes are coming, when we think they might actually happen, and what’s causing the delay. 

Update: On November 17, 2022, the Department of Energy Resources announced that the MOR-EV rebate for battery-electric vehicles has been increased to $3,500. The DOER press release also stated that plug-in hybrids will continue to be eligible for a $1,500 rebate as long as they have at least 25 miles of electric range. DOER has not yet increased the final sales price limit from $50,000 to $55,000. You can read more about these changes in this more recent blogpost.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Plan Ahead: Cold Temperatures & Tight Supply Bring Higher Heating Costs this Winter

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its annualWinter Fuels Outlookon Oct. 12, predicting that heating costs this winter will increase significantly. Natural gas heating in the Northeast is expected to increase by 23%. For households that heat with oil, you can expect to spend 27% more this winter than last.A combination of two factors is driving this winter’s trend: cooler weather and higher prices due to supply constraints.

Loie Hayes

Why We Support the Fair Share Amendment

Green Energy Consumers is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which means we cannot support or endorse a candidate running for public office in an election. However, we can – and do – support policy proposals, including ones being decided via a ballot question in an election. This fall, we urge you to VOTE YES on Question 1, the Fair Share Amendment. We see it as an important tool in the toolbox in the race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s why. 

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

The biggest barrier to EV charging you’ve never heard of

This fall, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is considering proposals from National Grid, Eversource, and Unitil that could make it more economical to operate DC fast charging stations. The proposals could be a big step forward in expanding much-needed charging infrastructure in the Bay State.

But is the DPU considering how to maximize all potential co-benefits of the proposal? In this blog, we’ll explain the new ideas under consideration by regulators and what’s still missing to achieve a smart energy policy that will drive Massachusetts towards the emissions reduction needed to meet its climate goals.

Mal Skowron

Why We Need Building Performance Standards in Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Background

Recently, we posted a blog on one policy, the Clean Heat Standard, to decarbonize the building sector.  Consider it one tool in the tool chest and understand that it’s usually not possible to make anything with just one tool. With this blog, we will explore a complimentary policy – Building Performance Standards (BPS).

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

What the Inflation Reduction Act Means for Massachusetts & Rhode Island

On August 16, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest investment in fighting climate change on the national level this country has ever seen. The IRA is a huge deal and fundamentally changes the game for our work here at the state level. On August 31, we held a webinar to discuss the IRA and its impact on three levels: on individual consumers who want to go green, on towns and cities, and on the state. Here is the webinar recording, as well as a summary and clips of each individual section. Enjoy!

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

One Day, Two Kids, 600+ Miles: From Massachusetts to Virginia in an Electric Car

When we talk about electric cars at Green Energy Consumers, we often get questions about road trips. How do you drive hundreds of miles with a battery electric vehicle? How do you plan where to charge? Does it take forever? That's why we love featuring real stories from real people about their experience driving electric. Here's a guest blog from our friend Nicole about her family's trip from Massachusetts to Virginia in a fully-electric car. (This blog refers to the different types of charging and plugs. If you need a refresher, check out our charging basics page!)

Nicole Cooper, Guest Blogger

Guest Blogpost: Mass Fleet Advisor

Note: At Green Energy Consumers, we know that we need to rapidly electrify all forms of transportation – especially including medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which disproportionately contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and localized air pollution. We're excited to post this guest blogpost from Jenny Kritzler at CALSTART and Kristen Patneaude from PowerOptions, who are working with MassCEC to offer Mass Fleet Advisor. If you have a private or nonprofit fleet that you'd like to electrify, read on!

What Candidates for RI Governor Think about Phasing Out Gasoline

Last week, the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI) hosted a forum for candidates running RI Governor to discuss their plans for the environment if elected. The forum covered several of Rhode Island’s most pressing environmental issues, including environmental justice and implementation of the Act On Climate. But one question stood out.

Moderator Ed Fitzpatrick of the Boston Globe asked: To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, should Rhode Island set an end date for the last sales of new gasoline-powered automobiles like some other states?

Mal Skowron

Introducing QARI Drives Green - 绿色驾驶

In the nearly seven years since we launched Drive Green, Green Energy Consumers has interacted with tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents through a combination of in-person events and online offerings. We have helped nearly 1,000 drivers get an electric vehicle (EV). We’re proud of that work, since we know we need to rapidly electrify transportation to fight climate change and better public health.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

We Like the Massachusetts Climate Bill. The Governor Must Sign It.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts House and Senate both passed a major new climate bill, An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind. The legislation now goes to Governor Baker for signature. The bill is basically what we expected: a combination of the House’s emphasis on offshore wind, the Senate’s emphasis on electric transportation, and some new policies in other areas. Overall, we are very pleased with the 96-page bill. Here are our views on some of the key provisions – and what you can do to get this over the finish line. 

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

How to "Shave the Peak" when the electric grid is dirtiest

Peak Alerts! Protect our climate by reducing your electricity use on weekdays from 5-8pm

Starting Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

According to Accuweather, we're headed for a prolonged stretch of hot weather through July 31st. Over the next few days, you might hear from your local utility or our electric grid operator, ISO-New England, that our electricity system will be stressed. If you care about air quality and the cost of electricity, the next two weeks are a time to pay attention to when you're using energy. In this blog, we’ll explain how weather affects the power grid, and how we can collectively try to cope.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

The Electric Sector in the Massachusetts Clean Energy & Climate Plan

This blog covers strategies outlined in Massachusetts’ final Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the electric power sector. For more background on the CECP for 2025 and 2030, read this blog.


Thanks to policies like the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) and the Clean Energy Standard (CES), the Commonwealth has made significant progress in cleaning up the electricity supply in Massachusetts. For the rest of this decade, we will need to build on and accelerate that progress to meet the GHG reductions required by the Climate Roadmap bill that passed in 2021. In this blog post, we’ll go over what the Clean Energy & Climate Plan (CECP) has in store for the electricity sector and Green Energy Consumers' thoughts on that plan!

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Buildings in the Massachusetts Clean Energy & Climate Plan

This blog covers strategies outlined in Massachusetts’ final Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the buildings sector. For more background on the CECP for 2025 and 2030, read this blog.


Residential and commercial heating and cooling contributed 29.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents to Massachusetts’ emissions in 1990, or about 15% of total GHG emissions. The newest draft of the state's Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) now calls for a 49% emission reduction by 2030 relative to 1990 in the heating sector (virtually the same percentage decrease as the economy-wide target of 50%).

For the last several years, we have seen emissions fall significantly from within the electricity sector, while building emission reductions have been more stubborn. Here’s what the CECP says we’re going to do about that, and our take on those strategies.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Transportation in the Massachusetts Clean Energy Climate Plan

This blog covers strategies outlined in Massachusetts’ final Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector. For more background on the CECP for 2025 and 2030, read this blog.


Transportation is the largest source of GHG emissions in Massachusetts and the state’s ability to meet its 2025 and 2030 GHG requirements will hinge largely on this sector. The final CECP requires reductions in the transportation sector of 18% by 2025 and 34% by 2030. In 2020, with all the reduced travel due to the pandemic, we reached 22% reductions under 1990 levels. But otherwise, transportation emissions have remained stubborn, as the green bar in the graph below demonstrates.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Final Massachusetts Clean Energy & Climate Plan is Out. Now What?

On June 30, 2022, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) released the final draft of the Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) for 2025 and 2030. This document outlines the key strategies the Commonwealth will use to reach the statutorily-required 50% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under 1990 levels by 2030. We have been advocating for a strong CECP since the first version was published at the very end of 2020. It includes the "how" on reducing emissions from buildings, transportation, and electric power.

Here’s our take on this final version, and what advocacy is needed moving forward.

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

How the Clean School Bus Program Can Transform Our School Bus Fleets

Cleaner school buses are just on the horizon! Recently the EPA announced the new Clean School Bus Program (CSB), which aims to replace school buses with more sustainable versions over the next five years with a whopping $5 billion as funding. For the first round, the EPA is offering $500 million worth of rebates, and applications are already open! If you are a decision-maker in your town, or an advocate trying to influence those decision-makers, take note: the deadline is August 19th!

Eden Floyd

The RI General Assembly is taking the climate crisis seriously: a recap of the busiest legislative session

A note from Larry Chretien, Executive Director: This blog was written by Kai Salem and Mal Skowron as a wrap up of the super strong 2022 legislative session of the Rhode Island General Assembly. Kai is moving on from Green Energy Consumers to attend law school at Columbia University. There’s a huge need for energy lawyers who put people and the planet first. In her four years here, Kai made her mark as an energy advocate working in the public interest. We wish her the best and are thankful for what she accomplished. 

Kai Salem & Mal Skowron

Green Power at Lower Cost: Municipal Aggregation is a Huge Success in Massachusetts

As recently covered by the Boston Globe, Green Energy Consumers is excited to present our new report on the great economic and environmental benefits brought to the Commonwealth through what we call Green Municipal Aggregation (GMA) programs. Our report includes data on over 200 communities and we show how there are opportunities to build upon a great record of success to achieve even more if the state government provides the support aggregation deserves.

Finding great Heat Pump installers and advice

Green Energy Consumers has launched a new Heat Pump program designed to connect consumers with trusted expertise. As prices for heating oil and natural gas continue to respond to the worldwide supply shortage, this is a great summer to investigate whether a heat pump would make sense for your home.

If you've wondered how to assess your home's suitability for heat pumps, find installers, or compare their varying bids, we recommend you register for this new program by clicking below. And, of course, read on!

Get help with heat pumps

Find the best contractor for you

Because the heat pump market in Massachusetts and Rhode Island is still relatively young, it’s sometimes hard to know if an installer has enough experience to do a good job. Likewise, heat pump systems can be designed in various ways, and many consumers lack the training to be able to compare designs. Our program makes it easier for energy consumers to find trusted vendors and independent advice. 

Loie Hayes & Larry Chretien

Massachusetts should follow Rhode Island to zero-emission electricity

Rhode Island just passed legislation that requires the state’s electric suppliers to procure 100% renewable electricity by 2033, using the highest quality (“Class I” or “new”) Renewable Energy Certificates. The Massachusetts legislature, meanwhile, isn’t considering a Renewable Portfolio Standard update in the climate bills that have been passed by the MA House and Senate and are currently being negotiated in the conference committee. 

Kai Salem

Rhode Island leaps ahead towards 100% renewable electricity!

Rhode Island makes history!  Late Tuesday afternoon, the RI House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing a bill to update the Renewable Energy Standard to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2033. Rhode Island is now set to become the first state to reach that total level of commitment towards wind, solar, and other qualifying power sources. This was Green Energy Consumers’ top priority this legislative session, and its passage builds on advocacy we have done for years to establish and increase the Renewable Energy Standard. 

Kai Salem

3 Climate Policies to Get RI Back on Track for 2030

UPDATE on June 8th: S2274 (100% Renewable) passed the Senate; all eyes are now on the House bill, H7277. The bill was amended to reach 100% by 2033, which would still make RI the first state to reach 100% renewable electricity. We need your help NOW to make sure this bill becomes law.

Contact your State Representative by Tuesday to ask them to vote yes on H7277.

S2583 (offshore wind procurement) also passed the Senate! Encourage your State Rep to support H7971 when you make your call. Thank you to the leaders who have worked to pass these bills. 

Originally published May 5th, 2022

Rhode Island is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. A month ago, the state released worrying emissions data that shows the state’s GHG emissions in 2018 were up 15% from 2016, including increases in all sectors, with one of the biggest jumps in emissions coming from our electricity sector. This new data puts into question whether the state will be able to meet its 2020 climate goal, set in the 2014 Resilient RI Act. And it underscores the challenge before Rhode Island in meeting the 2021 Act on Climate mandate of 45% emissions reductions from the 1990 baseline in 2030.

Kai Salem & Mal Skowron

Heads up: the federal EV tax credit for toyota is about to phase out

Important update: The new federal tax credit set up by the Inflation Reduction Act means this blogpost is out-of-date as of January 1, 2023. Check out our Rebates & Incentives page for the latest!

If you are looking to purchase an electric vehicle from Toyota, like the Toyota Prius Prime or the Toyota RAV4 Prime, you should know that the federal tax credit will soon start phasing out. The federal tax credit is capped at 200,000 electric vehicles (EVs) sold per manufacturer and Toyota is expected to reach this cap before June 2022. Here’s what this means if you’re in the market! 

Picture of Devan DiLibero Devan DiLibero

Heating Oil Consumers Are Facing a Crisis Next Winter

Although Spring is in the air and we have so many current events of great importance, there’s reason to think about how difficult next winter will be for heating oil consumers. For months, we have seen rising energy costs – natural gas, electricity, and gasoline.  But this blog is about the heating oil market as it would affect consumers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the rest of New England.  Consider this to be an open letter to our federal delegations to Congress, Governor Baker, Governor McKee, and state legislators.  Heating oil in New England has been well over $5 per gallon since March, over two dollars higher than last winter. Unless it gets a lot better, the price of heating oil will cause misery for hundreds of thousands of families.

Loie Hayes & Larry Chretien

Getting to 100% Green Electricity: It’s only a matter of when.

Green Energy Consumers Alliance has a long history, going back to 1997, of supporting Renewable Energy Standards (RES), a policy that requires electric suppliers to deliver renewable energy. These mandates have worked in a large number of states to bring wind and solar power onto the grid, dramatically reducing its carbon intensity. Today, we can appreciate the immense potential our region has for offshore wind that delivers clean, affordable power to the states and creates jobs. In 2022, we see both the opportunity and necessity for the Bay State and Ocean State to leverage the power of the RES and the potential of offshore wind to make sure we meet our 2030 climate goals. We urge policymakers in both states to up the RES to 100% clean electricity by 2030. We further support policy that will accelerate offshore wind procurement. Offshore wind and 100% by 2030 are like peanut butter and jelly: good alone, but much better together.

Kai Salem & Larry Chretien

What the MA Senate Climate Bill Says About Phasing Out Gasoline

The Massachusetts Senate made big news last week by passing a massive climate bill that tackles transportation, buildings, and our electricity supply. This bill is supposed to put the pedal to the metal so that the state has the policies it needs in place to achieve the emissions reduction targets included in last year’s Climate Roadmap bill: first and foremost, a 50% reduction in economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions under 1990 levels by 2030. Here’s what this bill means for our efforts to phase out gasoline in Massachusetts – and the key next steps.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Another Great Year for Climate Legislation in Massachusetts? Apparently. Let’s Hope.

In 2021, Governor Baker signed comprehensive climate legislation called An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy. That law set a more aggressive timeline for mandatory emissions reductions (50% by 2030, net-zero, and 85% by 2050), strengthened the definition of “environmental justice communities”, and will definitely impact the state. But while the ink is barely dry, it certainly appears that the House and Senate are moving towards yet another significant climate bill to send to the governor sometime in the next two to three months.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Exploring with Absolute Confidence

For the past three years, my spouse and I have been enjoying our retirement by taking extended camping and paddling trips throughout the Northeast, driving our 2019 Kia e-Niro EV. In this blog, we’ll use our most recent trip as an example of a typical two-week camping/paddling adventure, discuss all the gear we pack onto and into the car, and how we avoid suffering from any range anxiety.

Glen Ayers, Guest Blogger

Daily Beast: "Green" competitive suppliers are a rip-off

"I want to make sure that my electricity is coming from coal," said no one ever.

Renewable energy is different in that people do want to make sure it's on the grid, in ever increasing numbers. That's why so many people think about buying green electricity, and why they get duped by competitive electricity suppliers.

Our Executive Director Larry Chretien is quoted in a recent article by the Daily Beast that tackles the topic of competitive electricity suppliers, their shady practices, and their greenwashed products. Here we've reposted his comments from the article, and we recommend you read the whole thing.

Green Energy Consumers Alliance

Rhode Islanders:  National Grid is still your utility, at least for now.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge Brian Stern put a pause on PPL's purchase of Rhode Island's electric and gas utility from National Grid. This pause is temporary and will allow for the judge to hear the Attorney General's case on why the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers misunderstood the laws that govern this transaction. Specifically, the judge said that since the Division failed to take into account either potential ratepayer or climate change impacts of the sale, the Attorney General is likely to succeed in its appeal. Additionally, the judge determined that if he let the sale close prior to the appeal being done, there would be no reasonable way to undo the transaction, so it must be paused until he can finish a full review of the case.

Kai Salem & Larry Chretien

Feebates:  A smart, fair way to fund EV rebates

Without question, the electric vehicle (EV) revolution is underway.  At some point later this decade, we will see cost-parity, meaning that the upfront cost of an EV will be comparable to its fossil fuel-burning counterpart. Given that EVs cost so much less to operate and maintain, that point will be the tipping point. However, we have to reach that point and, for most consumers, state level incentives will be needed to spur adoption to the levels necessary for states to meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2025 and 2030.   

The math on fuel savings

The fast rise in gas prices is making lots of people consider switching to an electric vehicle. It is cheaper to drive a mile on electricity than it is to drive a mile on gasoline everywhere in the US. The average driver in Massachusetts or Rhode Island saves about $600 in a typical year by switching to an electric car for two reasons:  

  1. Electricity is cheaper than gasoline 
  2. Electric cars are more efficient, so they consume less energy to travel the same number of miles
Mal Skowron

The Code is the Key

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote that DOER had announced its proposed regulations to up the energy requirements in Massachusetts’ base and stretch energy codes. DOER has also proposed a new “specialized opt-in,” which municipalities may choose to opt-up to and which complies with the Climate Roadmap Statute’s requirement for a definition of net-zero to be added to code. 

We call upon you to write to DOER by March 18th with your comments on the code. Read on for our thoughts on the code as well as a few talking points for your comments.

Kai Salem

Rhode Island Bill Creates Roadmap to Advance Future of Electric Transportation

Last week, Rhode Island legislators Sen. Alana DiMario and Rep. Terri Cortvriend introduced bills setting a target of 100% of new cars registered being electric vehicles by 2030. The legislation (H. 7653 and S. 2448) creates a process to plan for the infrastructure and other changes involving cars, trucks, and public transportation in order to meet the 2030 target, which is critical for the state to meet its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions under the Act on Climate. Following Rhode Island’s withdrawal from the Transportation and Climate Initiative, the bill represents a new approach to tackling pollution from transportation, the region’s largest source of emissions.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Powering Municipal Aggregation with Offshore Wind

Last week, with a resounding vote of 144-12, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Offshore Wind and Clean Energy bill. It will now go to the State Senate. We are especially thrilled because we worked hard to get provisions introduced that would help municipal aggregations access offshore wind. With the championship of Rep. Tommy Vitolo and Rep. Dylan Fernandes, and the support of Speaker Ron Mariano and Energy Committee Chair Jeffrey Roy, our provisions were adopted!  

Kai Salem & Larry Chretien

And so it goes – the relationship between fossil fuel dependence and war continues

I’m old enough to have been in junior high school when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo against the United States in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. That was the first of two serious “oil shocks” to the economy in that decade. 

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

What the Sale of Narragansett Electric Means for RI's Clean Energy Future

Update (March 9, 2022): Green Energy Consumers Alliance strongly supports the work of RI Attorney General Peter Neronha and MA Attorney General Maura Healey to make sure this sale is fully vetted before being going through. Last week, Attorney General Neronha appealed the Division's decision, which will bring it to the review of the Superior Court. And the Massachusetts Supreme Court granted Attorney General Healey's motion for a stay on a permit for the sale, which means that the transition to PPL is currently on hold. The RI Superior Court's review begins this month.

Update (February 23, 2022): The Division of Public Utilities and Carriers issued an order today to approve the sale with no additional conditions. Although we think this was the wrong decision for Rhode Islanders, we will work with PPL, regulators, and the General Assembly to ensure that PPL can help the state meet its Act on Climate goals. 

One of the biggest questions in Rhode Island’s clean energy future is on the verge of conclusion: will Pennsylvania-based utility PPL succeed in buying National Grid’s Rhode Island electric and gas utilities? If the sale goes through, PPL will become the new utility company for almost all Rhode Islanders.

Kai Salem

RI Needs to Assess the Climate Impacts of Transportation Spending

Transportation is the largest source of climate-warming emissions in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, so Green Energy Consumers Alliance is focused on finding policy solutions to advance low-carbon alternatives to gasoline. How the states structure their transportation budgets will be a key factor for how they expect to meet 2030 climate mandates. 

Mal Skowron

Cracking the Code on Building Sector Emissions

On February 8, Massachusetts energy officials proposed regulations that would require new residential and commercial buildings to be significantly more energy efficient. The proposal would establish a new energy code statewide, in addition to a more rigorous “stretch code” that cities and towns can adopt.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

What’s Plan B for active mobility?  

The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) is a multi-state effort to phase down our dependence on gasoline and diesel fuels and to kickstart investments for cleaner, more affordable transportation options. In November 2021, the governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island withdrew support for the program. We're disappointed because without TCI, it's unclear how the states will achieve the emissions reductions needed to meet their climate goals. 

Anna Vanderspek & Mal Skowron

This Winter Adds to the Evidence: We’re Slow Walking on Climate Action

For those of us in the climate action movement, it’s tiring to ask the question, “What will it take to get policymakers to see the climate crisis as something deserving big, rapid changes in how we produce and consume energy?” Evidently, it’s not forest fires, melting glaciers, heat waves, or hurricanes. This winter, the climate crisis, and our fossil fuel addiction are leading to other consequences: expensive electricity and lots of oil burning. And yes, we’re still not seeing nearly enough action.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Stand up for Clean Trucks!

Updated March 2022 - If you’re a Massachusetts or Rhode Island resident, you may have taken action in February in support of heavy-duty vehicle electrification. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks not only contribute to climate change but also release nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) which are hazardous to human health. Massachusetts is considering adopting two important regulations coming out of California that will help bring down these emissions – the Advanced Clean Trucks rule (ACT) and the Heavy-Duty Omnibus rule (HDO). (Rhode Islanders, we need you to push for the adoption of these rules too!) Here’s everything you need to know to make your voice heard in either state.

Ryan Corvese

Drive Green: A Year in Review

There’s no doubt about it, 2021 was a rough year for the auto industry and consumers looking for a car. The industry has suffered from the chip shortage, other supply chain issues, and not to mention the Chevrolet Bolt battery issues resulting in a stop-sale. As a result, prices rose across the board for both new and pre-owned vehicles, inventory has been scarce, and new model years have had their release dates postponed.

Picture of Devan DiLibero Devan DiLibero

Our New Tool to Help You Find a Used EV

When we launched our Drive Green program back in November 2016, if you wanted an electric car, your only option, essentially, was to buy a new car. Yes, there were some older Nissan LEAFs available, but not many, and they didn’t have a whole lot of range. Fast forward five years and things have changed – there are more electric vehicle (EV) models on the market, and more and more of them are coming off three-year leases, which means, finally, a used EV market is growing. If you’re looking for a used EV, we have a new tool to help you find it.

Compare Used Electric Cars

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

In Memory of Malcolm Brown, New England's first wind power hero (and mine, too)

If you know Green Energy Consumers Alliance, you know we are really into wind power.  That’s because wind power is abundant and the lowest cost, zero-emission energy available.  Today, the talk is all about huge off-shore wind farms. But to get to this point, things had to start in the beautiful coastal town of Hull, Massachusetts.  And with an amazing character named Malcolm Brown.  Sadly, Malcolm passed away recently. But he remains in my memory and if you’re into wind power, please read on.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Electric Cars and Mineral Mining

Electric Vehicles & Mineral Mining: What We’ve Learned 

People often ask us about the raw materials in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, their implications on human rights and the environment, and what’s being done to lessen the impact. We are also concerned about these issues. As an organization doing state-based work, we are not experts in the global supply chain questions at the heart of these concerns. However, we are determined to educate ourselves and share what we learn. As a first foray, we’ve taken a deep-dive into one metal – cobalt – since it is the focus of most of the questions we receive. Here is what we’ve found. 

Adrianna Lovegrove

What's Plan B for better transit?

The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) is a multi-state effort to phase down our dependence on gasoline and diesel fuels and to kickstart investments for cleaner, more affordable transportation options. In November 2021, the governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island pulled out of the program. We're disappointed because without TCI, it's unclear how the states will achieve the emissions reductions needed to meet their climate goals.

The program is not dead – TCI can move forward any time three states agree to move forward – but the delay is a huge setback for climate action. To learn more about TCI itself, check out this webinar from February 2021.

This blog post is the first of a series to explore what's at stake if MA and RI don't come up with a Plan B to fund a cleaner transportation system. 

Anna Vanderspek & Mal Skowron

Moving from Massachusetts to Colorado in an Electric Car

This summer I moved from Massachusetts to Colorado and decided I was going to make the move in its entirety with just my electric vehicle (EV). I’ve had a 2019 Chevy Bolt for two years now and this was the longest trip I had ever done with it. It was a new experience for me, visiting places I had never been before, and it put the feasibility for long-distance road trips with an EV to the test. Acknowledging the gaps in public knowledge surrounding the logistics of driving an EV, never mind a 1,900 mile road trip, it was evident that sharing this experience could be useful to others. So here we go! 

Xavier Pereira

The Transportation Climate Initiative is on life support. Do states have better ideas for reducing transportation emissions?

Earlier this week, we learned that Connecticut Governor Lamont withdrew his support for the regional Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI). When that news hit, we knew it was going to put pressure on the governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island to follow suit. On Thursday, a spokesman for Governor Charlie Baker said that Massachusetts will not move forward with TCI because there is no longer a multi-state commitment. We haven’t yet heard from Rhode Island Governor McKee, but we anticipate a similar statement.   

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

The Public Gets It: We Have to Phase Out Gas-Powered Cars

There’s so much climate-related news right now that it’s hard to keep up: from the negotiations in Glasgow to the details of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the still-to-be-determined future of the Build Back Better Act. But here’s one piece of good news you don’t want to miss: a recent poll demonstrates that the public gets it. We have to phase out gas-powered cars.

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

Act On Climate was a big step for RI. Now let’s work quickly to implement it

You may be reading more about climate policy in the news because of COP26, the global conference in Glasgow to address the climate crisis hosted by the United Nations. This work is important for the sake of international cooperation and because climate change is a global issue. However, work on the international scale doesn’t replace the need for strong leadership on the local and state level to enact policies that align with the vision of COP26, as I recently argued in the Boston Globe alongside our allies at The Nature Conservancy. 

Mal Skowron

Your chance to influence RI's EV charging plan

A bill passed in June 2021 requires the state of Rhode Island to develop a plan to improve statewide access to electric vehicle (EV) charging by January 1, 2022. The state has initiated a stakeholder engagement process to solicit feedback from organizations and individuals about what the plan should look like.

If you’re an EV driver (or if you’d like to drive an EV, but lack of charging infrastructure is holding you back), you’re an expert on this topic. We encourage you to share your experience with the public charging network and what ideas you have to improve charging infrastructure in RI at an upcoming public session. 

Mal Skowron

Say Yes at the DPU part Two: A Modern Grid and Smart Meters for Massachusetts

Updated October 8th. Recently, we posted a blog about the proposals by Massachusetts’ investor-owned utility companies (Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil) to expand their electric vehicle (EV) programs through 2025. Alongside the proposals for what the utility companies can do to support EVs, the utilities have filed their second round of Grid Modernization Plans (GMPs), continuing the work begun in grid modernization filings in 2018. This time, the filings include plans for the statewide roll out of smart meters. In the coming months, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will deliberate over the utilities’ Grid Modernization Plans and Advanced Meter Implementation Plans.  

Kai Salem

Massachusetts needs more EV charging. Electric utilities have a plan.

Updated October 8th. More electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is on the horizon in Massachusetts. The investor-owned utility companies (Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil) recently submitted proposals to expand their EV programs through 2025.

In the coming months, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the public agency responsible for utility oversight, will review the ideas and decide whether the proposals will be executed as is or with modifications.

Mal Skowron

Where to learn about electric cars? Radio, online, in-person & more

Electric vehicles are already a smart and practical choice for many drivers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. However, the conventional wisdom is that electric cars aren't ready for primetime yet. For this reason, in addition to offering discounts on electric vehicle purchases, our Drive Green program spreads awareness about the benefits of EVs, including cleaner air, a safer climate, better driving experience, and lower cost of ownership. 

Mal Skowron

Step into the Future with the New 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

Hyundai has just announced that its first ever all-electric crossover SUV, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, is available for pre-order. This vehicle is truly impressive:

  • Range: The Ioniq 5 is available with both RWD and AWD. The RWD option will get you 300 miles of range; the AWD option will get you 269 miles. These numbers are still estimates, not yet verified by the EPA, but they're still exciting!
  • Charging: The Ioniq 5 will also have a very fast charging capability. With an 800V electrical system, the Ioniq 5 can fill a battery from 10% to 80% in less than 18 minutes or add 62 miles in 5 minutes at a DC Fast Charger. To compare, a level 2 charger can do that in a little under 7 hours. Hyundai has partnered with Electrify America to offer unlimited free 30-minute chargers at any Electrify America charging station for the first two years of ownership.

Adrianna Lovegrove

Should Massachusetts phase out rebates for new oil- and gas-fired systems for heat and hot water?

Recently I was asked by the Boston Globe to write 350 words on why the Mass Save energy efficiency program should phase out rebates for new oil-fired systems for heat and hot water. Another writer took the opposite view and readers were invited to vote for their preferred argument. The Globe’s request was reasonable and so I wrote my piece, but in this expanded blog, I can better address some important points in the discussion.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Guest Blog: How Massachusetts cities & towns are leading our transition to clean energy

As mayors representing a diverse group of communities across Massachusetts, we are in a unique position to be on the front lines of how the big global issues manifest from block to block in our neighborhoods. One of the many ways we see this is in how our residents want to power their homes and businesses. Their message to us is clear: they want cost-effective solutions that speed our transition to clean and renewable energy, and they want innovative and meaningful ways to help them combat the climate crisis.

Be A Fan Of Fans

Compared to parts of the country that have much greater summer cooling needs, New Englanders have more options to keep ourselves comfortable affordably and sustainably. Unless you have someone in your home who needs central air conditioning for health reasons, we encourage you to look to room air conditioners and fans, particularly ceiling fans. Here are some tips, offered by the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Tell your MA state Legislator to get engaged on clean transportation!

As frequent readers of our blog will know, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. The cars, trucks, and buses on our roads are also responsible for pollution that causes direct and widespread harm to human health – harm that disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color. Right now, there’s something you can do about it: get your legislator to attend an upcoming briefing on bills that will work on these issues!

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

National Grid wants to Sell Its Rhode Island Business. Is that in the public interest?

A few months ago, news broke that National Grid planned to sell the Narragansett Electric and Gas Companies to a Pennsylvania-based company named PPL. In its deal with PPL, National Grid hopes to gain PPL’s business in the United Kingdom in exchange for Rhode Island’s electric and gas customers. However, this is not a done deal: over the coming year, Rhode Island regulators are charged with reviewing whether the sale is in the “public interest.” The Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities’ decision will have significant impacts not just on the two companies, but on consumers, state policy, and climate action.

Our enemies are gasoline and the internal combustion engine

From 1982 to 2016, Green Energy Consumers Alliance focused our attention on building energy for homes and businesses. But in 2016, alarmed at the rise in greenhouse gas emissions from cars, we became aware of the potential of vehicle electrification as a measure to reduce those emissions. Since we are an alliance of consumers and, at our core, connect energy users to cleaner options through our program offeringswe looked outside the house and began our Drive Green program in order to educate people about electric vehicles (EVs) and to give them a chance to get one at a more affordable price.

Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

Introducing the 2022 chevrolet bolt eUV

During the early years of the electrification era, the choices in electric vehicles were slim. The earliest version of the Nissan LEAF offered a comforting dose of normalcy but unfortunately was accompanied by a small electric range. Then came the super-suave Tesla with more of everything, including the sticker price. But it wasn’t until the Chevrolet Bolt came on to the scene that consumers finally had a car to choose that was highly functional and affordable.

Adrianna Lovegrove

The Rise of the *Electric* SUV

For the last two decades, the Toyota Camry has been the reigning champion of passenger cars in the Unites States. But behind the scenes, the Toyota RAV4 had been steadily gaining speed in the race for most popular car and finally took the top spot in 2019. The Toyota RAV4 sold nearly 450,000 cars with it's slow and steady approach. In the end, the Toyota Camry didn't just lose its top spot, it came in with a measly 337,000 models sold, snatching eighth place.

Adrianna Lovegrove

The Texas power problem – our perspective

Our hearts go out to Texans. The cold, snow, ice, power outages, and water shutoffs have gone way past inconvenient for people there. It’s caused death and misery.  Although we’re not experts on the Texas grid system as much as we are in New England, we’ve noticed a lot of confusion and deliberate misinformation surrounding the blackouts

The confusion about the power system is understandable; it's complicated and largely operates behind-the-scenes. It’s only until there’s a major crisis that we take a look behind the curtain. Unfortunately, the grid’s complexity makes it a ripe opportunity for the financially and politically motivated to spread “alternative facts.”  

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Mass. residents, we need you to act on the Clean Energy & Climate Plan

In December 2020, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs filed its first draft of the 2030 Clean Energy & Climate Plan (CECP). The plan outlines specific strategies to ensure that the state’s carbon emission limit is met by 2030.

Although it's a good first draft, public comment and participation can steer the final draft to be even better. The deadline for submitting comments has been extended to March 22, 2021. In addition to the blogposts we've already written about the transportation and electricity sections of the CECP, we’ve submitted all of our feedback on the plan early, which you can read here. Here are our main takeaways.

Mal Skowron

Get Excited for these upcoming Energy webinars

In addition to our BIG DEAL panel on Phasing Out Gasoline later this month, we've got awesome webinars coming up on climate policy, installing solar, and electric cars. And they're all free!

Adrianna Lovegrove

How good is the Mass. Clean Energy and Climate Plan for cleaning up the grid?

The Baker administration released their ten-year Clean Energy & Climate Plan (CECP), which is open for comment through February 22. The comment period for the CECP is an excellent opportunity to set the Baker Administration on course to tackle climate emissions within multiple sectors of the economyYou can read the whole plan here. 

We’re working on our formal comments on the whole plan and will share them soon. Meanwhile, here are our comments on how the plan would treat the electricity sector. 

February 12 Update: The deadline for submitting comments has been extended to March 22, 2021, but Green Energy Consumers Alliance submitted our feedback early. Read it here. 

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

What Mass. gets right (and wrong) about transportation in the Clean Energy & Climate Plan

If you follow Massachusetts climate policy, you’re probably not very happy with Governor Baker for his recent veto of the Climate Roadmap bill. Though we’re disappointed with his decision, we’re optimistic that lawmakers are ready to refile the legislation and override another veto if necessary.

Anna Vanderspek & Mal Skowron

Governor Baker - your climate bill veto was based on bad accounting

On January 14, Governor Baker pocket vetoed Senate Bill 2995, An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Climate PolicyThe bill was passed by the legislature too late in the session to override the veto.  The governor wrote a five-page letter of explanation that we did not find persuasive. Already, the bill has been refiled and we are optimistic that the bill will be passed again andif it is vetoed, the legislature will override.  

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

New Massachusetts climate Policy and what advocates must do now

Although 2020 did not go as we expected, it looks like we may be reaping the rewards of hard work on climate policy in the early days of 2021.  In the past few days, the Massachusetts executive and legislative branches have made steps toward sweeping policy changes, some of which are the culmination of lots of hard work by legislators and advocates. This blog was edited on January 15 to reflect legislative updates since its original posting. 

Kai Salem & Larry Chretien