NEW EDF Roadmap for Accelerating Decarbonization in the Electric Utility Sector
Lessons from New York’s REV initiative provide criteria for eliminating fossil fuels
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today released a whitepaper that examines the approach New York has taken to transform its 100 year-old electric system from a centralized, one-way grid to a multi-channel network of power and information. The paper, Driving Environmental Outcomes Through Utility Reform: Lessons from New York REV, is a roadmap for electric utilities seeking to accelerate decarbonization, or the elimination of fossil fuels.
“New York leads the way in shaking up the old monopoly utility business model,” said Elizabeth B. Stein, Senior Manager, New York Clean Energy Law & Policy at EDF. “Pushing electric utilities to provide supportive platforms for innovation and create opportunities for customers and service providers ensures everyone in the marketplace is well-positioned to adopt clean energy measures.”
Through “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV), its comprehensive energy initiative to rebuild, strengthen, and modernize the electric grid, New York State has managed to deliver new business opportunities, policy outcomes, and environmental benefits that help move the state toward its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The state’s comprehensive regulatory reform is removing barriers to an evolving clean energy transition by setting up a platform for pursuing robust energy efficiency and renewable energy goals, and creating new opportunities for business and consumers.
Key learnings from NY REV provide fundamental criteria for electric utilities’ modernization efforts to bring about environmental benefits: 1) building smart platforms to deploy clean energy resources cost-effectively, 2) aligning utility earnings with environmental outcomes, and 3) engaging customers as market participants.
“Utilities can now manage electricity demand with a whole range of distributed energy resources including solar, storage, and electric vehicles springing up at the distribution edge of the grid,” said Ferit Ucar, Senior Clean Energy Economist at EDF. “New York is taking advantage of this new reality to modernize utility incentives, and align them with the state’s climate and energy goals.”
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