Action Plan To Accelerate Strategic Electrification in the Northeast

At the first level of analysis, 80 percent carbon reduction has been shown to be both possible and economic. However, to avoid the worst impacts from climate change, we need to move more aggressively to build a low carbon economy. This includes taking advantage of the cycles of new construction, renovation, and the purchasing of large manufactured goods such as cars and appliances.

The broad strategies of how to achieve 80 percent carbon reduction are remarkably simple to articulate:

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    Dramatically improve the efficiency of energy use

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    Decarbonize the electric grid through the use of distributed as well as large scale renewable energy sources for electricity generation

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    Move as many end uses as possible to renewable electricity

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    Use lower carbon fuels for remaining needs

In recent years, Northeast states have made significant progress with forward-moving pathways developed for two of these four strategies.

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Efficiency

As a group of states, the Northeast has led the U.S. in energy efficiency for many years, a result of public policies such as energy efficiency resource standards and mandates, lead-by-example initiatives, building energy codes and appliance standards.

Renewables

As part of decarbonizing the grid, the last large coal-fired power plant in New England closed in May 2017, and New York’s last coal plants are slated for closure by 2020. Renewable portfolio standards and other policies have significantly increased the use of renewable energy for electric generation, and further expansion is expected as the cost of renewable energy and storage continues to decline.

Powering end uses with electricity instead of fossil fuels in a way that increases energy efficiency and reduces pollution, while lowering costs to customers and society, is necessary to reduce carbon emissions by 80% in the Northeast while driving economic development.

Regional Commitments to carbon reduction in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

Direct Fossil Fuel End Use in New York and New England

  • Commercial: Heat
  • Commercial: Water
  • Commercial: Other
  • Industrial: Process
  • Industrial: Other
  • Transport: LDV (Gasoline)
  • Transport: HDV (Diesel)
  • Transport: Other
  • Residential: Heat
  • Residential: Water
  • Residential: Other

Three Key Strategies

NEEP’s analysis points to three critical elements to a strategic electrification pathway that benefits consumers, businesses and the environment. These are:

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Advanced Electric Technologies

Deep Energy Efficiency

Grid Integration

Strategies & Actions

The following series of actions are near-term (one to five years) steps to accelerate long-term market transformation for strategic electrification to displace the use of carbon intensive fuels. While regional carbon emission targets are set for 2050, it is critical to develop and implement near-term actions to build traction, develop new strategies, and achieve successes to build upon. The proposed strategies and actions will build awareness, increase market share, and reduce costs. These actions and related research create the early pathways that will maximize benefits to society and initiate broader market action.

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    Establish Goals, Policies, and Programs for Strategic Electrification with Deep Efficiency

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    Build Public-Private Relationships to Accelerate Strategic Electrification Activities

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    Protect Consumers

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    Support Market Development for Key Electrification Pathways

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    Encourage Local Leadership

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    Prioritize Low-Income Consumers as a Near-Term Focus

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    Advance Strategic Electrification with Thermal Efficiency in Homes and Buildings

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    Provide Public and Consumer Outreach and Education

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    Address Grid Preparedness to Effectively Manage New, Dynamic Loads

NEEP was founded more than 20 years ago as a non-profit to accelerate energy efficiency in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Today, it is one of six Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations (REEOs) funded, in part by the U.S. Department of Energy to support state efficiency policies and programs. Our long-term shared goal is to assist the region to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050.  For more about our 2017 strategies and projects, see this 2-page overview or these project briefs. You can also watch this brief video regarding our history.

Disclaimer: NEEP verified the data used for this white paper to the best of our ability. This paper reflects the opinion and judgments of the NEEP staff and does not necessarily reflect those of NEEP Board members, NEEP Sponsors, or project participants and funders.