New External Resources
LPDD.org is being continually updated with new, external legal resources. Below is a selection of recently added resources of special interest:
- IREC Report, Enabling Equitable Electric Vehicle Shared Mobility Programs: This February report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council surveys new models of transportation planning that integrate shared mobility programs and the role of utilities in creating equitable EV shared mobility programs. It goes on to review case studies of five EV shared mobility programs that feature public-private partnerships and utility support. Based on these case studies, the report provides overarching recommendations to enable the build-out of more equitable EV shared mobility programs in the future.
- Connecticut’s Energy Storage Solutions Program: In January, the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority launched an energy storage support program, for which both residential and commercial customers may be eligible. The Energy Storage Solutions Program is designed to deploy 580 MW of behind-the-meter battery storage throughout Connecticut by the end of 2030. The batteries can serve as backup power supply in the event of an outage, and under the program, they can also be tapped by the electric distribution companies to feed the grid during times of peak demand, thereby helping to enhance grid resiliency. The program was developed over the past two years as part of PURA’s broader effort to modernize the electric grid. It also follows the legislature’s passage of Public Act 21-53, which established a statewide goal of deploying 1000 MW of energy storage by 2030.
- Massachusetts Heat Pump Incentives Expanded: In January, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved a major rewriting of the state plan that provides energy efficiency incentives to consumers. Unlike previous versions of the Mass Save plan, these revisions center on curbing global warming by encouraging people to switch from oil or gas to electric heat or renewable sources, and also include provisions to help make the transition more affordable to people in disadvantaged communities. Among the $4 billion in new incentives are hundreds of millions of dollars for electric heat pumps, which, for the first time, will be available to gas customers looking to move off of fossil fuels.
- ACEEE Report, Building Electrification: Programs and Best Practices: This February ACEEE report analyzes 42 programs to electrify buildings in the residential, multifamily, and commercial sectors and identifies trends, common approaches, and best practices. Though these programs are mainly found in states with ambitious climate targets, such as California and New York, there are examples of electrification efforts in many states across multiple climates, regions, and political environments to learn from. The report finds that most electrification efforts focus primarily on space heating and hot water, which together represent the two largest direct uses of fossil fuels and corresponding sources of GHG emissions in buildings in the United States.
- LA’s Planned Oil and Gas Well Ban: In January, the Los Angeles City Council voted to draft an ordinance that would ban new oil and gas wells and phase out existing wells over a period of five years. The ordinance will declare oil wells “non-conforming” with the city’s land use requirements. A city commission will now study how to phase out more than 5,200 existing oil and gas wells. LA is home to the highest concentration of urban oil fields in the nation. Recent estimates suggest that 500,000 city residents live within a half-mile of a well, putting them at risk for a variety of health hazards resulting from air pollution and toxic chemical usage.
- Report on Subsidies for Electric Heavy Duty Vehicles: This January issue brief from Resources for the Future analyzes the CO2 reductions possible under various potential subsidies for electric transit buses and certain trucks. It offers a new computational model that accounts for the effects of subsidizing 30 percent of the up-front purchase cost of transit buses, day cabs, and sleeper cabs to estimate the uptake, fiscal costs, and CO2 benefits of these subsidies through 2035, relative to a baseline case that does not include the subsidies. This analysis is meant to represent recent legislative proposals, such as the commercial vehicle investment tax credit included in both the Clean Energy for America Act and the Build Back Better Act.
- California Tightens 2032 GHG Targets and Boosts Renewables, Batteries: In February, through its ongoing Integrated Resource Planning process, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a 35 million metric ton (MMT) 2032 electric sector greenhouse gas planning target, which is more stringent than the previous 46 MMT target. The CPUC said this target imputes the state’s electricity needs being met by 73% Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) resources and 86% greenhouse gas-free resources by 2032. For comparison, in 2021, half the power generated in the California Independent System Operator’s grid came from natural gas. The rest was from solar (21%), wind (12%), nuclear (10%), hydro (7%) and other resources (1%), according to federal energy data. The decision adopts a preferred portfolio of resources that includes about 25,500 MW of new renewables and 15,000 MW of new storage and demand response resources by 2032.
- Bellingham WA Electrification Ordinance: In February, the City Council of Bellingham, WA, approved an ordinance to require new commercial buildings and new apartment buildings more than four stories high to use electricity for heating and water heating, meet certain energy-reduction standards and use solar energy or provide rooftop space for eventual solar energy installation. Bellingham is just one of the latest municipalities to adopt a natural gas ban for certain new buildings, advancing a national trend that began in California, but is now sweeping other jurisdictions.
In January, members of the LPDD team met with the American Bar Association’s Section on the Environment and Energy Resources to discuss pro bono opportunities for lawyers to engage with the project. Video of that presentation is available here.
Also in January, members of the LPDD team presented at the Drawdown Festival 2022’s model towns panel on resources that LPDD.org provides for local policymakers and activists. That presentation can be viewed here.
Not sure how to support our work? Check out our Get Involved page to see the many avenues by which lawyers can join us, and get in contact!
This update highlights and summarizes recent additions to the Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization (LPDD) website, which houses actual and model laws addressing the causes of climate change in the United States.
The Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization Model Law Project (LPDD-MLP) is a pro bono effort to draft model laws for use by legislators at the federal, state and local levels to support their efforts to achieve deep reductions in fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. The project is based on recommendations from the groundbreaking book Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (Michael Gerrard and John C. Dernbach, eds., 2019). The work is supported by Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Widener University Commonwealth Law School’s Environmental Law and Sustainability Center. Dozens of law firms and individual lawyers are contributing to this pro-bono effort as drafters, peer reviewers or in reaching out to policymakers.
Our website, LPDD.org, contains over 50 model laws that are a starting place for discussion and collaboration among elected officials, non-profit groups, and the private sector for enabling the U.S. to address climate change by reducing U.S. GHG emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. The site includes several Top 10 lists for some of the key categories, like electric vehicles, PUC’s, buildings and other topics as a short-hand introduction. In addition, the site references hundreds of other actions that states and other governmental bodies have taken to move towards decarbonization more rapidly. By providing policymakers the tools to achieve deep decarbonization, the Project will help achieve a restructuring of the energy economy, thus alleviating the worst effects of climate change, which are disproportionately suffered by marginalized communities, while providing such positive benefits as economic security, social equity, and environmental justice (EJ).
Please contact us to talk about getting involved in drafting and peer reviewing legislation, to provide suggestions and feedback on the drafts and to talk about how we can help you support your climate change efforts.