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

Rhode Island Needs a Better Energy Efficiency Plan

Posted by Kai Salem on Monday, August 24, 2020 @ 01:03 PM

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.”

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Energy efficiency, Rhode Island

Appliance Standards & Shave the Peak: Action Week for Efficiency

Posted by Kai Salem on Tuesday, July 07, 2020 @ 08:59 AM

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.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts, Energy efficiency

The Violence of Pollution: The Injustice of Rolling Back Clean Air Protections

Posted by Paola Massoli on Thursday, July 02, 2020 @ 02:11 PM

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.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Climate change

Massachusetts Expands MOR-EV Program

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Saturday, June 27, 2020 @ 09:15 AM

At yesterday's Massachusetts Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Commission's quarterly meeting, the state announced a change to the MOR-EV rebate program. This important electric vehicle incentive will now be available to commercial fleet owners, as well as individual residents of the Commonwealth. We applaud the state for taking this step and are encouraged by conversation that further program changes may follow. In fact, we have a couple of ideas...

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Electric vehicles/Transportation

Municipal Aggregation in Massachusetts is Being Slowed Down by State Government: Consumers & The Environment Are Paying The Price

Posted by Larry Chretien on Friday, June 26, 2020 @ 03:30 PM

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.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts, Green municipal aggregation

Q&A with Rhode Island energy leaders: Highlights from our May 18th Spring Meeting

Posted by Priscilla De La Cruz on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 @ 03:35 PM

This is the first blog of a three-part series focused on renewable energy development and climate progress in Rhode Island. 

Keep reading for highlights from our virtual Spring Meeting on May 18.

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Tags: Renewable energy, Energy policy & advocacy, Green municipal aggregation, Rhode Island

Where's the peak in the era of COVID?

Posted by Kai Salem & Yaima Braga on Thursday, May 21, 2020 @ 09:28 AM

Over the past two months, the world’s daily patterns have changed drastically. As we know from Shave the Peak, even small changes to routines, especially during peak hours, can have an outsize impact on the emissions, costs, and fuel mix of our electricity system. So it’s no surprise to see that the pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home orders have shifted many aspects of the electricity mix, here in New England and beyond. In fact, the average cost of electricity during March was the lowest in market history, in large part because of the pandemic.

So what’s going on in our electricity mix, and why? And perhaps most importantly, what lessons from the pandemic’s impact on the electric system should we be taking into the future?

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Tags: Renewable energy, Energy policy & advocacy, Electricity and the grid

Hey Congress – please fix the federal tax credit for electric cars

Posted by Larry Chretien on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 @ 12:10 PM

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.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Electric vehicles/Transportation

Massachusetts Formalizes Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050...What's the Plan for 2030?

Posted by Eugenia T. Gibbons on Tuesday, May 05, 2020 @ 10:49 AM

The Baker Administration recently issued its much-anticipated letter of determination formalizing Massachusetts’ commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a requirement first referenced in Baker’s 2020 state of the state address. Adjusting the GWSA to reflect scientific consensus and mandating pursuit of an ambitious long-term target is welcome news. But what does it mean for state-led clean energy and climate action in the immediate term?


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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy, Massachusetts

Our Energy World in the COVID-19 Era

Posted by Larry Chretien on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 @ 12:54 PM

All of our minds are on the virus itself and its impacts on the health of ourselves, our loves ones, and the economy. We are grieving for those who have passed on and worrying for those who are losing work. So it’s understandable if you’re not interested in thinking about energy at this time. But, if you are, please join this discussion of how the pandemic could change the ways we produce and consume energy.

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Tags: Energy policy & advocacy