Outside my window in Boston, Massachusetts is a bright winter wonderland. It feels like forever since we’ve seen snow quite like this. Watching the mesmerizing dance of snowflakes and hearing the muffled sounds of wind and diligent snow shovelers offers the perfect time for some introspection about all that has happened this year. What a year it has been!
Strategic electrification – or the conversion of appliances and heating systems traditionally powered by fossil fuels to efficient electric alternatives – is a key piece in the decarbonization puzzle and is growing in interest among states and municipalities looking to reduce their carbon footprint. What differentiates strategic or beneficial electrification from “electrification” is that it must benefit the customer, environment, and distribution grid.
The previous two months were a good demonstration of the checks and balances embedded in state governments. There were three cases of back-and-forth vetoes between governors and their state legislatures, resulting in two energy efficiency “wins” and one “loss”. Let’s take a closer look at these cases.
September is here and, with it, possibly the strangest first day of school in recent history. Remote learning, work from home schedules, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of unemployed, mean many live, work, and play in a full house and rely on energy to connect to the outside world. Soon, heating systems across the country will be switched on for the winter. Consistent and uninterrupted energy to power our lives has never been so important. Unfortunately for many, the pandemic brought economic hardship.
COVID-19 is an unprecedented global pandemic that has impacted our lives in every imaginable way. Even as we adjust, adapt, and begin to reimagine what our future looks like, there is still a lot that is unknown. The energy efficiency and clean energy industry has been quick to respond to the pandemic with moratoriums on utility shutoffs , suspending on-site energy efficiency work, and virtualizing as many processes as possible.
During uncertain times like right now, it can be challenging to predict the future or feel comfortable in the unknown. This year started off with a lot of action around policies for energy efficiency and climate, but things have changed quickly in the last few weeks. In response to COVID-19, a lot of state houses have closed their doors and adjourned early.
NEEP is tracking state legislative sessions across the region and will provide updates as they come. The table below provides an overview of the current status of sessions.
It’s a new year, which means a new opportunity to ramp up policy efforts to decarbonize our economy. We are one month into 2020 and so much has already happened with each state’s legislative session kicking off. The Northeast is responding to a call to action on climate and pushing the bar to ensure that we are carbon-neutral by 2050. Already, a few trends have surfaced, including carbon neutral targets, benchmarking, and energy efficiency planning. Let’s take a look.
As 2019 comes to a close and we look towards the start of a new decade, there is a lot on which to reflect. I think about the calendar year turning to 2020 and know that leaves us with just 10 years to drastically reduce our emissions to prevent catastrophic climate impacts. Ten years doesn’t seem like a long time, yet so much can happen in that time. During the last 10 years, I graduated high school, got my master's degree, and landed my dream job. For climate, it can mean reducing emissions by at least 45 percent.
States throughout the NEEP region recognize the need to address climate change and transform the way we generate and use energy. The global scientific consensus is that we need to decarbonize our economy 45 percent by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050 in order to reduce the chance of exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. We are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and exceeding 1.5 degrees will put us over the tipping point of irreversible damage affecting generations to come.
Fall is upon us, though with typical New England weather, we are in the midst of our first fall and second summer of the season. This is the time of year where we dress for fall in the morning and for summer in the afternoon. It can cause lots of planning challenges! We see some similar state policy activity where some states are wrapping up items from the summer and others are in full swing on new activities this fall. Let’s take a look at recent activity.