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An Escape from the “Jaws of Delusion”: Planning for the End of Cheap Gas

In 2013, Marty Kushler, senior fellow at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), gave a presentation in Chicago on gas efficiency programs. He argued that one should not make decisions about programs with lengthy multi-year effects based on the record-low spot market prices for domestic natural gas.  Gas at that time was $2…

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Surf’s Up: Catching the IIJA Wave

I’m learning how to surf. For my birthday, my kids got together and bought me a surfboard. One day last summer I spent about three hours in the waves off of Popham Beach in Maine trying to figure things out. After about 60 attempts — no kidding — trying to catch a wave, I finally…

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Participating in Power: A Practical Guide to Utility Resource Plans for Local Governments

To meet 21st century decarbonization and social equity priorities, utilities need to transform the way they plan power sector investments. One of the most important opportunities to encourage these changes is to become an effective participant in the development of a utility integrated resource plan (IRP). An IRP shapes the thinking of utility executives, regulators,…

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How Electrifying Trucks Can Help Roadside Neighborhoods Breathe Easier

We know that electrifying trucks, as we wrote last month, can reduce significant amounts of air pollution; it can also have significant health benefits, particularly for frontline communities. Analysis by Alexander Meitiv and Ann Xu for Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute finds that, by electrifying just 40% of existing, predominantly diesel-fueled medium-and heavy-duty vehicles in the…

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RGGI’s Program Review Offers a Chance to Revisit Local Air Quality Needs

While there is substantial evidence that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has been very successful at reducing carbon and other emissions across the multi-state region, there is still important work to be done to document and ensure air quality improvements at the local level — especially in frontline communities that either host fossil-fuel power…

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Revisiting the Public Good, Part 2: What Do We Mean by “Good”?

Simple terms can provide a useful framework and help us understand complex things. Raising children, for example, is a highly involved, lengthy and expensive undertaking, but can be reduced to a couple of words: You want your kids to grow up to be strong and kind. Utility regulation is no different, even utility regulation in…

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Revisiting the Public Good, Part 1: A Better Understanding of “Public”

Ensuring the “public good” has been a central regulatory goal since the US Supreme Court decided Munn v. Illinois in 1876, a case in which the court determined that grain elevators — because of their key role in the ability of farmers to get their goods to market — were affected with the “public interest.”…

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Connecting Cities to the PUC Process

As municipal policymakers take increasingly active roles in moving their cities through the energy transition, they need to know their way around their states’ utility regulatory landscape. RAP and our partners at the Building Electrification Initiative (BEI) tackled this topic recently, inviting representatives of both city governments and state utility commissions to listen in on…

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The EV Transition Is a Challenging Journey, but State PUCs Are Taking the First Steps

RAP’s recent publication, Taking First Steps: Insights for State Utility Commissions Preparing for Electric Transportation starts with the observation that “while no one state agency has clear responsibility for it, utility commissions are taking their first steps toward understanding and developing the electric transportation sector in their state.” Several readers have told me that they…