There is so much happening these days it’s hard to track everything, but if you haven’t heard much about the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI), you will soon. It’s an idea that could result in a compact of 11-states (plus D.C.) in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to address transportation emissions. It would do so by setting a cap on emissions, a cap that declines over time.
In January 2020, Governor Raimondo signed an Executive Order setting a goal of meeting Rhode Island electricity demand from 100% renewable sources by the end of the decade. Back in January, we wrote that we’re skeptical that another study will result in the action we need. Over six months later, where does Rhode Island stand on 100% renewable electricity?
On Wednesday, September 23, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom of California issued an executive order that announced California would require all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state to be Zero-Emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035.
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.
Protecting and strengthening energy efficiency programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been core components of Green Energy Consumers’ advocacy for years. We urge utility efficiency administrators and state officials to build energy efficiency programs that have ambitious energy savings targets, incorporate equity, and invest in deep, innovative efficiency measures.
This summer marks a pivotal moment in energy efficiency programs in Rhode Island: 2020 has already seen the publication of an Efficiency Programs Potential Study—that is, the first study in ten years to identify new efficiency opportunities—as well as a revision of the regulations governing efficiency programs. Now, National Grid, alongside stakeholders (including Green Energy Consumers), is working to draft the next Three Year Efficiency Plan, which will guide the programs from 2021 through 2023.
Unfortunately, the first draft of the 2021 – 2023 Three Year Plan is insufficient to meet RI policy goals or comply with state law that efficiency programs be “cost-effective, reliable, and environmentally responsible.”
Last month, we predicted that summer temperatures might drive high demand — high enough to cause a peak day! Indeed, despite the depressive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional electricity demand, weeks that saw 90+ degree days across New England were enough for us to call peaks on July 20th, 27th, and 28th. A peak electricity demand day is a day on which extreme weather (usually hot temperatures) leads to a spike in electricity demand; these spikes are associated with more expensive and polluting electricity than usual.
In the United States car market, big cars rule. In April 2020, crossovers, pickups, and SUVs together made up 70% of new vehicle sales in the “light” vehicle market. 70%! As we work to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), it’s clear that we need competitive EVs in these segments. There are already some excellent larger EVs available – check out the Hyundai Kona Electric, Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), Kia Niro EV and PHEV, Audi e-tron, or Tesla Model X on our Drive Green page. And we’ve previously written about the electric pick-up trucks headed our way. But automakers have announced or released several larger EVs that we’re keeping our eyes on. Here are the electric SUVs that we think are the ones to watch in 2020 and early 2021.
This week, after about four months of lower-than-usual demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand is climbing to normal hot weather levels—enough to cause a potentially expensive and polluting peak day.
On peak days, we remind New Englanders to turn up the thermostat, turn off lights, and delay charging devices or electric vehicles—all to attempt to lower the peak electricity usage of the day and avoid turning on dirty power plants. But efficiency and conservation are important year round—in fact, as we have written many times, energy efficiency is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce emissions and save consumers money.
What if there were a simple, free policy that would save money, water, and energy year round, all without any effort from consumers or any impact on the economy? This magical policy exists, and it’s called appliance standards! In the coming weeks, we need your help to update appliance standards in Massachusetts.
It is mid-June 2020 and another day of unrest in America. As I scan the news, I learn that the environment has been under attack. Again. President Trump recently signed an executive order to dismantle the process requiring environmental reviews of large infrastructure projects, including oil and gas pipelines. I also learn that the administration is proposing restrictions that would further weaken air pollution controls. As I dig more, I find out that it could get a lot worse for clean water too.
Sadly, I am not surprised. It has been 4 years of chipping away at environmental protections; it’s a long list covering everything under the sun, from vehicle efficiency standards to wildlife protection. I shut down my laptop and step outside. I need fresh air.