A statement from Dean Seavers, President of National Grid, US
“National Grid believes significant and urgent action is needed to combat climate change and has long supported reasonable decarbonization policies and strategies – including the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Climate Accord,” said Dean Seavers, president of National Grid, US. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining affordability and resiliency, is paramount for National Grid.”
Achieving the 2030 target economically implies dramatic reduction in the reliance on the most expensive and polluting heating fuels: fuel oil, propane, and kerosene. This entails a rapid transition from these fuels to heat electrification, reaching 28% electrification of residential space heat by 2030 through a mix of air- and ground-source heat pumps (see Table 1). By 2030, roughly 3.85 million homes are envisioned to be utilizing heat pumps, requiring an average annual rate of conversion of almost 300,000 homes and businesses.
In contrast to the electricity and heat sectors, emissions from transportation are effectively unchanged since 1990. Vehicle electrification provides a promising pathway, as cost and performance of the underlying battery technology has seen step-change improvements in recent years. The automotive industry is responding with scores of plug-in vehicle models arriving in the showrooms of most every manufacturer in the next few years.
Today, zero-carbon electricity comprises over 50% of Northeast electricity generation. About 25% is from renewable electricity, including large-scale hydro. To position the region to achieve 2030 targets, total zero-carbon generation must increase to 67% of supply, with the renewable electricity share rising to nearly 50%, outpacing both RGGI and targets set in state-level RPS (Figure 3). All major classes of renewable resources figure prominently in the Pathway: onshore and offshore wind, distributed and large-scale solar, and hydro power.
The Northeast has taken concrete steps to move toward a clean energy future, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, achievement of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in all states, and nation-leading investments in energy efficiency. But much more will be required. Given the pace of emissions reduction required, strategic planning and a focus on cost-effectiveness have never been more critical.
The Pathway achieves the 40% by 2030 target (see Figure 2) by prioritizing three mutually-reinforcing transitions:
1. Accelerate decarbonization of the electric sector.
New York and all six states in New England have aggressive, long-term, economy-wide CO2 emission reduction targets, with five having set a goal of reducing emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. According to the most recent data, the Northeast has achieved a 16% economy-wide reduction from that benchmark.