We have sent six “Shave the Peak” alerts this summer, signaling high peak electric demand days. 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 the forecasted electric demand is above 22,000 MW.
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...Read more
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As summer approaches, thousands of our followers are preparing to “Shave the Peak.”
Shave the Peak is our program designed to inform people, via text and email alerts, how and when to reduce power use on days when demand for electricity is significantly higher than usual.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Energy standards have changed our electricity and auto industries for the better. Now it’s time to bring the same idea to how we heat our buildings.