Rapid advancements in technology, low gas prices, and policy choices have already led to significant changes within the electric power markets. In New York and New England, for example, coal-fired generation has declined by more than 80 percent since 2005. Looking ahead, there are more changes to come with continued advances in technology, further adjustments to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (the nation’s first carbon trading market), and new clean energy targets. The Northeast states have been successful in cutting carbon pollution from the electric sector while growing their economies. Now, they have broader ambitions to reduce emissions economy-wide. This will require more policy innovation, more investments, and a smarter and more nimble electric grid.
These changes create challenges, but also exciting new opportunities for the region. The future of the electric system will include more interconnected devices, more intermittent renewables, and a more distributed grid. This report, Power Switch, explores the trends that are reshaping the electric power markets in the Northeast, and the future challenges and opportunities for the states in this region. The report's companion video can be found here.