Barr Foundation Knowledge Center

This collection includes publications and resources from our partners and in our program areas, both current and legacy. These resources are completely free to access and download. Most of these works were funded by the Barr Foundation. We may occasionally feature items relevant to our program areas which were not funded by Barr. Please be aware that views expressed are not necessarily those of the Barr Foundation. We encourage you to search our collection and suggest potential content to include (use "Suggest an Addition"). For questions or assistance, please contact
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Justice in 100 Metrics: Tools for Measuring Equity in 100% Renewable Energy Policy Implementation

January 1, 2021

This report reviews existing literature and compiles equity metrics for the implementation of 100% renewable energy policy. Initiative for Energy Justice created this literature review for energy regulators and communities engaged in energy rulemaking proceedings in particular. The content may also be adapted to address equity initiatives within utilities, and used by advocates in independent efforts to hold utilities accountable to equity standards. The resources provided are meant to provide a flexible basis from which to expand systems of accountability regarding equity goals in the implementation of 100% renewable energy (or 100% clean energy) policy.

Climate - Clean Energy

Results of the Connecticut Clean Energy Survey fielded by Global Strategy Group

October 14, 2021

An October 2021 survey of Connecticut voters on clean energy shows broad support for clean energy solutions and a strong concern that climate change is already a crisis and getting worse.Description:A survey fielded by Global Strategies Group in October 2021 showed Connecticut voters view clean energy as an imperative to protect the climate and public health and safety.88% of Connecticut voters surveyed think that climate change is either a problem or a crisis, and eight in ten voters surveyed think it's getting worse. A significant majority of voters support a plan to transition to zero emissions by 2050 (68%) and zero carbon electricity (70%).Solar and wind are hugely popular among Connecticut voters, who support increasing their use in the state's energy mix by wide margins (87% and 74% respectively), while voters overwhelmingly support using less oil and coal (71% and 72%, respectively).Voters are generally split on whether gas is a clean energy source, suggesting there is more work to do in public messaging and education about the role that gas plays in worsening carbon emissions.Connecticut voters see a move toward clean energy as having potential to positively impact health and safety, with voters of color particularly optimistic. An overwhelming majority of Connecticut voters are ready for the state government to take bold action on a range of clean energy initiatives, with repairing leaking gas pipes at the top of the list (91% support), followed by provide incentives for people to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient (88%), incentives to homeowners to switch from propane, oil, or gas heating to cleaner alternatives such as heat pumps and funding for startup and emerging clean energy tech companies (both at 75%).

Climate - Clean Energy

Results of Energy Polling Survey fielded by Global Strategy Group

September 30, 2020

A September 2020 survey of Massachusetts voters on clean energy shows increasingly negative attitudes towards gas and other fossil fuels and heightened concerns about air pollution and public safety amidst the COVID crisis.Description:A survey fielded by Global Strategies Group in September 2020 showed Massachusetts voters continue to view clean energy as an imperative to protect the climate and public health and safety.65% of Massachusetts voters surveyed are ready for bold and decisive action to address the climate crisis, including a complete transition to clean and renewable energy statewide.Massachusetts voters trust scientists and public health experts above all others to convey the facts on energy issues. 85% of Massachusetts voters surveyed trust scientists and 82% trust public health experts to provide them with information on energy issues.Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support using more solar and wind to generate electricity and a majority supports reducing our reliance on gas. 88% support using more solar, while 85% support using more wind. 52% support reducing reliance on gas.Finally, as the poll was conducted in the midst of the COVID crisis, in terms of stimulus spending to build back from COVID, providing assistance to people to pay their energy bills (86% support) and more incentives for energy efficiency (79% support) topped the list for Massachusetts voters followed by strong support for incentives to switch to cleaner heating alternatives such as heat pumps (68%).

Climate - Clean Energy

Field Notes: Equity & State Climate Policy

September 5, 2019

For more than a decade, states and cities across the country have served a leadership role in advancing science-informed climate policy through city, state and multi-state efforts. The rapid pace by which state climate policy is emerging is evidenced by the number of new laws, directives and policies adopted in 2018 and the first half of 2019 alone. Currently, there is an active ongoing dialogue across the U.S. regarding the intersection of climate and equity objectives with efforts targeted at addressing needs of disadvantaged communities and consumers. This climate/equity intersection is due to several factors, including recognition by many cities and states that climate change is and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations and will exacerbate existing stressors faced by disadvantaged communities and consumers. Research indicates that a greater proportion of environmental burden exists in geographic areas with majority populations of people of color, low-income residents, and/or indigenous people. It is well known that certain households (including some that are low-income, African American, Latino, multi-family and rural) spend a larger portion on their income on home energy costs. States and stakeholders are realizing that a transition to a low-carbon future by mid-century will require significantly increased participation of disadvantaged communities and households in the benefits of climate and clean energy programs.

Climate - Clean Energy; Climate - Mobility; Climate - Resilience

Energy Storage: The New Efficiency

April 19, 2019

This report, which describes how states can use energy efficiency funds to provide incentives for energy storage, is a publication of Clean energy group (CEG), with appendices containing several white papers prepared by the applied economics Clinic under contract to CEG. This report explains the steps Massachusetts took to become the first state to integrate energy storage technologies into its energy efficiency plan, including actions to 1) expand the goals and definition of energy efficiency to include peak demand reduction, and 2) show that customer-sited battery storage can pass the required cost-effectiveness test. The report summarizes the economics of battery cost/benefit calculations, examines key elements of incentive design, and shows how battery storage would have been found to be even more cost-effective had the non-energy benefits of batteries been included in the calculations. The report also introduces seven non-energy benefits of batteries, and for the first time, assigns values to them. Finally, the report provides recommendations to other states for how to incentivize energy storage within their own energy efficiency plans. Four appendices provide detailed economics analysis, along with recommendations to Massachusetts on improving its demand reduction incentive program in future iterations of the energy efficiency plan.

Climate - Clean Energy

What's the Score? A Comparative Analysis of Massachusetts Municipal Light Plants' Clean Energy and Climate Action Performance

January 1, 2019

The transition to clean electricity is an urgent priority for Massachusetts, but not all electricity customers have had the opportunity to contribute to this effect. 14% of the electricity used in the Commonwealth is provided by Municipal Light Plants (MLPs) that are not keeping pace with the investor-owned utilities held to the State's clean energy policies and goals. The Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN) is working to change that.Until now, there has never been a centralized survey, data collection, or ranking of Massachusetts MLPs on climate solutions. As a supporter of municipal leadership on climate action and local decision-making, MCAN set out to explore the potential of Municipal Light Plants (MLPs), public electricity providers owned and controlled by municipalities, to lead the way on climate action. This report provides the first comprehensive examination of how MLPs are addressing clean energy.

Climate - Clean Energy

Carbon Free Boston: Social Equity Report 2019

January 1, 2019

This Carbon Free Boston: Social Equity Report provides a deeper equity context for Carbon Free Boston as a whole, and for each strategy area, by demonstrating how inequitable and unjust the playing field is for socially vulnerable Bostonians and why equity must be integrated into policy design and implementation. This report summarizes the current landscape of climate action work for each strategy area and evaluates how it currently impacts inequity. Finally, this report provides guidance to the City and partners on how to do better; it lays out the attributes of an equitable approach to carbon-neutrality, framed around three guiding principles:1) plan carefully to avoid unintended consequences2) be intentional in design through a clear equity lens3) practice inclusivity from start to finish.

Climate - Clean Energy; Climate - Mobility; Climate - Resilience

Zero Energy Buildings in Massachusetts: Saving Money from the Start

January 1, 2019

In May of 2018, USGBC MA, in partnership with Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, held a Zero Net Energy Municipal Summit at Roxbury Community College during which we asked participants: What are the barriers to building ZE buildings? The number one cited obstacle was cost, followed by regulations. This report seeks to understand whether the notion that additional first costs for ZE buildings is an outdated perception or a reality, and to identify policy and regulatory changes to make building ZE the standard.This report highlights only a sampling of the work done by the amazing practitioners we have here in the Commonwealth, practitioners who work each day toward zero energy buildings. With the combined efforts of our building industry professionals, the researchers at our great colleges and universities, our citizen advocates, our elected leaders, our state agencies, and the innovative businesses in Massachusetts, we will transform the way we build. Massachusetts is already a national leader and is uniquely positioned to take the next step and show the world how ZE buildings can reduce carbon emissions all while having a thriving economy.

Climate - Clean Energy

Carbon Free Boston: Summary Report 2019

January 1, 2019

Carbon Free Boston was developed through comprehensive engagement with City staff, utilities, neighboring municipalities, regional authorities, state agencies, industry experts, and community representatives, among others, and was supported by comprehensive analysis using models that project feasible pathways to carbon neutrality by 2050. To ensure meaningful and actionable outcomes, we looked across scales and considered opportunities and challenges associated with specific actions at the city, state, and regional levels. We also addressed disparities in communities' capacity both to mitigate climate damages and to benefit from the transition to a carbon-neutral city.Supporting technical reports and other resources are also available on the project web site:

Climate - Clean Energy; Climate - Mobility; Climate - Resilience

Massachusetts Battery Storage Measures: Benefits and Costs

July 1, 2018

This Applied Economic Clinic white paper provides the calculations and assumptions necessary to estimate complete 2019 benefit-cost ratios for battery storage measures in Massachusetts, using a methodology identical to that of the program administrator's own "BCR Model" spreadsheets for the 2019-2021 and previous three-year efficiency plans. The resulting Massachusetts benefit-cost ratios for battery storage in 2019 are:2.8 for a single-family home battery under the low-income efficiency program3.4 for a multi-family apartment complex battery under the commercial and industrial efficiency programsThe benefits of electric battery storage outweigh their costs, and, therefore, must be offered by Massachusetts electric program administrators to their customers, in accordance with the Green Communities Act. This white paper reviews the calculation of a value for battery storage of the cost and each type of benefit included in Massachusetts' cost-effectiveness assessment: avoided energy, avoided energy demand reduction induced price effects (DRIPE), summer generation capacity, winter generation capacity, electric capacity DRIPE, transmission, distribution, and reliability, non-energy benefits, and non-embedded environmental costs. Of these benefits, avoided capacity costs are by far the most substantial.

Climate - Clean Energy

Assessing Energy Efficiency in Massachusetts

February 1, 2018

On behalf of the Conservation Law Foundation, this report, prepared by the Applied Economics Clinic (AEC), investigates how well Massachusetts' energy efficiency programs are reaching under-served communities and hard-to-reach families. In 2017, Massachusetts' "Mass Save" energy efficiency programs ranked number one in the annual efficiency scorecard produced by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for the seventh consecutive year. Mass Save's ranking is not, however, a good indicator of whether or not low-income households are getting the services they need. At present, it is not possible to answer this question completely because Mass Save program administrators have access to - but do not include in publicly available statistics - information regarding low-income households, under-served communities and hard-to-reach families. Working with limited data, AEC found that there are substantial differences in energy savings among Massachusetts' towns, and lower-income communities are receiving lower efficiency savings. This report presents maps and other figures showing differences in efficiency savings, income, and other community characteristics like language abilities and renter status for both Massachusetts towns and neighborhoods within Boston.

Climate - Clean Energy

An Analysis of Community Choice Energy for Boston

September 29, 2017

Community Choice Energy (CCE) allows a municipality to purchase electricity from a competitive supplieron behalf of participating electric customers. CCE would allow Boston to pool customers together, using this greater bargaining power to benefit customers in the City. In addition, through CCE, the City would purchase at least five percent more Class I renewable energy than required under the Commonwealth'sRenewable Energy Portfolio (RPS) law.Currently, 127 cities and towns Massachusetts have adopted CCE—more than one-third of the 351 municipalities in the Commonwealth. Many municipalities that implement CCE procure five percent more renewable energy than is required by the Massachusetts RPS. Some are going even further, such as Brookline, which is purchasing 25 percent more renewable energy than required, and Greenfield, which is purchasing 100 percent renewables.This report reviews commonly asked questions that the City should consider as it assesses whether to adopt this policy.

Climate - Clean Energy

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