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.
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.
A priority for Green Energy Consumers Alliance is increasing New England’s clean energy supply while delivering lower costs to consumers. In both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the following facts prevail about our electricity supply options:
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.”
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 economy. You 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.
On January 14, Governor Baker pocket vetoed Senate Bill 2995, An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Climate Policy. The 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 and, if it is vetoed, the legislature will override.
As wind and solar projects proliferate and people acknowledge the benefits of renewable energy, more consumers are voluntarily choosing 100 percent green power. Some have done that through our Green Powered program and others through their city or town municipal aggregations (also known as community choice programs). If you are in that growing minority, we applaud you. But please consider going above and beyond 100%. This blog explains why and how easy it is to do.
It’s imperative that we all switch from internal combustion engines to electric cars for several compelling reasons. The most important is that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions enough to save the planet depends upon it. But what’s particularly exciting is: we can magnify the benefits of EVs by managing when we charge them.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, about 85% of the population is served by investor-owned electric utility distribution companies - Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil. By law, their customers have three options for how they would get their electricity supply. The first option is to stick with the utility’s Basic Service. The second is to select, by yourself for just yourself, a “competitive power supplier”. And the third is to receive the supply service from a community’s municipal aggregation program.
Although municipal aggregation has proven itself to be the superior option for consumers both economically and environmentally, Massachusetts government, especially the Department of Public Utilities, has failed to support the model to the extent necessary to achieve important policy goals.
By all accounts, the recession caused by COVID-19 is hammering the auto industry in the United States and worldwide. Many factories are closed and dealerships have laid off most of their employees. Not surprisingly, members of Congress from some states most affected – Michigan, Ohio, and Alabama – are working on ideas to stimulate demand for new cars. Details are scant but as reported in the Washington Post on May 6, it appears to be along the lines of a “Cash for Clunkers” program.