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Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity?

Progressive cities and states have begun enacting policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, one of the leading sources of such emissions in the United States. The same jurisdictions have also generally committed to pursuing decarbonization equitably, without exacerbating the disadvantages faced by historically marginalized communities. Electrification is currently a favored policy for decarbonizing buildings. This Article examines the potential for building electrification to impact tenant energy costs through a case study of New York City.

Comment on Shelley Welton, Rethinking Grid Governance for the Climate Change Era

In Rethinking Grid Governance for the Climate Change Era, Shelley Welton has incisively described the underexplored institutional role of regional transmission organizations (RTOs) in facilitating decarbonization. As an attorney who advocates within the RTO stakeholder process, and before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the federal courts, I see firsthand how the RTO processes for identifying and addressing emerging issues can succeed or be derailed, and the limitations in FERC’s ability to proactively set these processes and their outcomes straight.

Comment on Rethinking Grid Governance for the Climate Change Era

In Rethinking Grid Governance for the Climate Change Era, Prof. Shelley Welton makes a compelling case for why “U.S. grid governance must be redesigned to accommodate a new era of regulatory priorities that include responding to climate change.” As the operators of regional electricity markets and managers of the transmission grid, Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) “must play a pivotal role” in achieving clean electricity goals.

Rethinking Grid Governance for the Climate Change Era

One central but under-scrutinized way that fossil fuel companies impede the clean energy transition is by essentially running the United States’ electricity grid, writing its rules to favor their own private interests. In most of the country, the electricity grid is managed by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs). RTOs are private membership clubs in which incumbent industry members make the rules for electricity markets and the electricity grid through private mini-democracies—with voting privileges reserved for RTO members—under broad regulatory authority.

Building Better Building Performance Standards

Policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels are increasingly turning to building performance standards (BPSs) to reduce buildings’ contributions to climate change. A key question in designing BPSs is what “metric” the standards should use to gauge a building’s performance. This Comment provides general background information on the case for regulating energy use in buildings, reviews the two general categories of metrics in existing BPSs and explains why an energy efficiency-based standard is superior to a greenhouse gas-based standard, and highlights the findings from a study of N