I am pleased to share our 2022 Year in Review. The through line connecting all of RAP’s work to accelerate the global clean energy transition is best characterized as impact through collaboration. We cemented long-standing partnerships and created new relationships with others diligently working toward a sustainable energy future.
RAP’s achievements are testaments to the power of those collaborations and our commitment to meeting the urgency of the moment.
RAP Recommendations and China’s Markets
The Chinese government set out a new vision for a “National Unified Electricity Market System,” echoing many years of RAP policy recommendations (link in Chinese). The move toward national markets is a major win, and promises to help integrate China’s far-flung renewable energy investments into the grid and weaken provincial-level protections for coal power. RAP is closely engaged with the implementation details to ensure the new vision lives up to this potential. In July 2022, the Southern Grid region launched a major test case for this national policy, beginning the long-awaited trial operation of its integrated five-province regional market.
Decarbonizing the Grid
Our Power System Blueprint lays out the regulatory framework needed to achieve a clean, reliable, equitable and affordable European power system by 2035. Policymakers across Europe are using the interactive toolkit to overcome barriers to decarbonizing their power sectors.
U.S. Department of Energy, States Turn to RAP
With the massive influx of U.S. federal funding, the Department of Energy engaged RAP for technical assistance in partnership with the national labs. We’re also advising states on the most effective investments they can make with those funds.
For example, we helped the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance engage with its state utility commission on public transit electrification. We are also partnering with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to advance distribution system planning at the state and regional level.
Equity in the Energy Transition
In collaboration with Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) and local partners in India, RAP laid the foundation for a multi-year program to bring the benefits of grid-interactive efficient buildings to low- and middle-income families nationwide.
Under the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive, the number of energy poor households benefiting from national energy efficiency programs will significantly increase. As a result of collaborations with the Right to Energy Coalition and SocialWatt, and RAP’s direct technical assistance to policymakers, the directive also includes provisions to alleviate energy poverty.
State agencies across North Carolina are using RAP’s model public access plan to stimulate more meaningful dialogue with the public, especially with systemically marginalized communities and populations with limited English proficiency.
Overcoming Barriers to Distributed Energy Resources
Accelerating the success of the energy transition requires a massive increase in deployment of flexible, distributed energy resources. RAP strategized with public utility commissions in 22 states and territories across the U.S. and five states in India to modernize their regulatory frameworks to advance decarbonization. Highlights in the U.S. include a benefit-cost analysis order in Michigan and an innovative non-wires model in Connecticut that will unlock new distributed energy resources.
RAP and Partners Make Heating Cool
2022 proved to be the year of the heat pump. RAP was instrumental in helping policymakers see heat pumps as a viable solution to electrify heating and cooling across the globe. Through partnerships with CLASP, Agora Energiewende and GBPN, we informed policy wins in China, Europe and the U.S.
Heating Policy Wins
- China’s 14th Five-Year Plan for Building Energy Efficiency and Green Building Development explicitly encourages the use of heat pumps and sets ambitious goals for building electrification.
- REPowerEU, the European Union’s response to the gas crisis, proposes doubling heat pump deployment rates to install 10 million in the next five years. Decision-makers are also considering a ban on new fossil fuel heating systems by 2029.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will remove gas appliances and one-way central air conditioning from the Energy Star “Most Efficient” lists starting in 2023.
Interactive Policy Toolkit
Drawing on these successes, RAP created an interactive toolkit to help policymakers around the world rapidly decarbonize their heating sectors.
The Clash with Gas: RAP Delivers Groundbreaking Thought Leadership
Our team is advising decision-makers as they answer questions around the future of fossil gas, the role of hydrogen and how to protect vulnerable customers. The Clash with Gas: Should It Stay or Should It Go identifies five foundational principles for a more integrated, equitable and resilient energy system. It is part of a series of thought leadership pieces to help policymakers phase out fossil gas.
Clean Heat on the Rise
RAP’s clean heat standard — an innovative approach to phasing out fossil gas for heating — is gaining momentum in Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland and several other Northeast states in the U.S.
We’re bringing this idea to Europe in 2023.
Following tireless engagement by RAP on the benefits of vehicle electrification and smart charging, European Union policymakers issued a landmark decision to phase out combustion engine vehicle sales by 2035!
Diversifying and Deepening our Team
To achieve this global progress, we are expanding and diversifying across every team and program. In 2022, RAP welcomed 12 new team members — including a program director and deputy director of our reimagined India and Global Opportunities Program — who will help us deliver even greater public benefit.
Our team is committed to creating a more efficient and equitable decarbonized energy future and ensuring a sustainable and just transition.
Don’t Miss Our Favorite Reads of 2022
- The joy of flex makes the case for a consumer-centric, smart energy policy that values demand flexibility as a vital, cost effective power system resource.
- EU can stop Russian gas imports by 2025: Our analysis with Ember, E3G and Bellona found that clean energy and energy efficiency can replace two-thirds of the European Union’s Russian gas imports by 2025.
- Power outage rapid response toolkit has information and tools to respond effectively to the misinformation that spreads rapidly in the wake of power grid reliability events.
- 国际视野 | 全国统一电力市场下一步: Published in China Southern Grid’s Energy Observer, this article makes detailed recommendations to ensure new power markets phase out coal power.
In 2023 and beyond, RAP will keep doing what we do best – develop solutions to the questions that regulators and other decision-makers are asking (or should be asking), change the narrative, and leverage partnerships to accelerate change.