Collaborative discussions between developers, regulators, and non-governmental organizations are taking place throughout the country to examine regional scale energy development opportunities. These efforts range from watershed-scale hydropower planning to coordinating the multi-state infrastructure needs in preparation for the arrival of next-generation electric vehicles.
In Connecticut, Essex is working with the Governor’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (EVIC) and also supporting Northeast Utilities’ leadership role in the Regioanl Electric Vehicle Initiative (REVI) to advance electricity as a clean, cost-effective alternative fuel for the transportation sector. Working groups of utilities, automakers and other stakeholders are being supported in neigboring states as well.
In Rhode Island, Essex is working with the State Economic Development Commission, the Pawtuxet River Authority, the Conservation Law Foundation, industry, and local municipalities to explore opportunities to pursue regional, watershed scale hydropower planning. The initiative blends energy development, jobs creation, and watershed restoration to achieve regional economic and environmental benefits. The projects represent opportunities to turn existing liabilities into community assets that capitalize on new net metering laws to provide on-site power generation that can off-set retail power rates and significantly reduce the electric costs for local businesses.
In Massachusetts, the Partnership is assisting the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and other stakeholders in a similar study of regional hydropower development opportunities that can contribute to the community’s goal of sustainable energy independence. By working closely with state and federal regulators on the design and operation of these projects we are able to minimize potential environmental concerns and expedite the licensing and permitting process. In a similar fashion, the Partnership recently worked with a consortium of Vermont utilities and regulators to conduct a statewide study of long-term energy generation opportunities.