At Green Energy Consumers, we talk a lot about the importance of energy efficiency and conservation. But, for a few hours every year, reducing our energy usage becomes especially important: on the hottest and coldest days of the year, energy use is the highest and electricity is dramatically more expensive and polluting. These high-demand days are called peak days, and we’re calling on our members to help us Shave the Peak by taking straightforward steps to reduce energy usage for a few hours on these days.
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...Read more
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Electricity and the grid (5)
For over a hundred years, the rap on electricity was that you could not store as usefully as you could store oil, gas, coal, and wood. That has made matching power supply with demand a challenge. More recently, we have been told by New England utilities and their ally, the so-called “Independent Operator of New England” (ISO-NE) that increasing amounts of wind and solar, intermittent resources, will make the challenge even harder.
How do we upgrade our electric grid to accommodate more renewables and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring affordability for all customers? This is a question PP&L and others in the energy community have been tackling through the ongoing electric and gas rate case proceedings at the Public Utilities Commission. In 2017 National Grid submitted a proposal to the Public Utilities Commission to increase gas and electric rates to maintain service reliability and upgrade the system. And now after several months, it appears that a consensus has been reached.
Original artwork from Mass. College of Art and Design student, Erin MacEachern, created for People's Power & Light/Mass Energy
Rhode Island is actively adding more solar, electric vehicles (EVs), and other distributed sources of energy across the state. These clean technologies are essential to reach our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and offer more choices to consumers. These sources also create unique costs and benefits, as well as new demands on our antiquated electric grid.
I had the pleasure of being at Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey’s press conference at which she released a report detailing how 500,000 residential consumers who chose competitive electricity suppliers have been ripped off and green-washed.
On January 17, 2018, ISO New England (“ISO”) released a draft of its Operational Fuel Security Analysis. This study lays out many different possibilities for a 2024/25 winter, assessing the electric grid’s reliability under a varying array of assumptions. ISO’s main finding is clear: adding more renewables and more imports, and increasing the availability of LNG deliveries and backup oil during supply emergencies, will all contribute to improved system reliability.
The average Massachusetts and Rhode Island household uses about 600 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity every month. At about 20 cents for every kWh, this amounts to an electric bill of $120 a month. Here’s a guide to better understand where that money is going.
We’ve written several blog posts about the environmental, health, and economic benefits of electric vehicles. Understanding these benefits helps to drive consumer demand for EVs, which helps to accelerate their adoption. When it comes to fully transitioning away from gas-powered cars, consumer demand is one piece of the equation, but the build-out of charging infrastructure is the other. There are important decisions to be made in this regard. Here I explain what is taking place and how you can weigh in to the public process.
Before we get into how electric cars can run on sunshine and wind power, let’s talk about old-fashioned cars that run only on gasoline engines. Some good news is that because of federal fuel efficiency standards (known as Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency), cars in 2025 will be much more efficient, on average, than today. Officially, carmakers will have to meet a standard of 54.5 miles on average for passenger cars and light trucks in 2025, which is about what a Toyota Prius (the version that does not plug-in) gets today. If we focus on emissions of carbon dioxide, the average new non-electric car in 2030 will emit about 182 grams per mile, down from 248 grams in 2017. That’s a nice reduction in carbon emissions of about a third.
The bad news is that we need to do much better. Don’t despair, because we have more good news. We can do much better, by adopting electric vehicles, whether they are plug-in hybrids (like the Chevy Volt or Prius Prime (which does plug-in) or all-electric battery powered (like a Tesla, the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt).
One of our members called recently asking for help finding information on competitive electric suppliers, the electricity supply companies that often claim to offer cheaper rates – and sometimes greener power – than the Basic Service offered by her electric utilitiy. More than likely, you’ve also received a knock on the door or something in the mail from competitive suppliers. So many suppliers had contacted our member that she felt she should find out what they were offering. She was particularly interested in renewable electricity options, but didn’t know who to trust.