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

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

Posted by Larry Chretien on Thursday, January 28, 2021 @ 07:45 AM

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. 

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Tags: Renewable energy, Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts

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

Posted by Anna Vanderspek & Mal Skowron on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 @ 04:45 PM

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.

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

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

Posted by Larry Chretien on Thursday, January 21, 2021 @ 05:35 PM

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.  

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts

New Massachusetts climate Policy and what advocates must do now

Posted by Kai Salem & Larry Chretien on Thursday, January 07, 2021 @ 03:53 PM

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. 

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts

Going Beyond 100% Green Power

Posted by Larry Chretien on Monday, January 04, 2021 @ 01:34 PM

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.

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Tags: Renewable energy, Green municipal aggregation, Climate change

TCI: a regional agreement to spur climate action

Posted by Mal Skowron on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 @ 08:15 AM

State leaders in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as Connecticut and Washington, D.C., recently signed an agreement to pursue a regional Transportation & Climate Initiative program. The goal of the policy is to reduce emissions from transportation, the sector that's responsible for over a third of climate-warming emissions in each state. Green Energy Consumers Alliance applauds the leadership of Governors Gina Raimondo and Charlie Baker for their commitment to rein in a growing source of carbon pollution and invest in clean transportation.

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

Can Massachusetts Make EV Charging even More Affordable?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation, Climate change

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

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

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

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Rhode Island

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

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

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

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Home heating