Our Methodology

Modeling EnergyVision 2030

Approach to EnergyVision 2030

EnergyVision 2030 shows that it is viable for states to redouble efforts in the near-term to support and expand clean energy markets in ways that will put the Northeast (New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) on track to meet a scientifically directed target of 80% emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2030. The report draws a straight line from today’s emissions to the 2050 requirements, concluding that in 2030 emissions need to be reduced by approximately 45% from 1990 levels.

To understand the specific steps the region needs to take to reach this 45% reduction target, Acadia Center performed modeling analysis using the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) System to examine the entire energy system of the Northeast. Three scenarios were developed to assess the options that states have to reduce their emissions:(1) a Baseline Scenario (“business as usual”) that projected emissions in 2030 without any policy changes, (2) the Primary Scenario that will achieve the 45% reduction from 1990 levels, and (3) an Accelerated Scenario that examines options for ambitious states that want to lead the region in reducing emissions. In each scenario, the energy system was analyzed by sector: buildings, transportation, industries and electricity generation. Waste and agriculture sector emissions were forecasted outside of the LEAP model based on historical trends.

For each sector in the Primary Scenario, Acadia Center analyzed combinations of penetration levels of clean energy technologies that will lead to the necessary reductions from 1990 levels. In the Primary and Accelerated Scenarios, clean energy technologies and the forecast of their growth are based on literature reviews, commitments made by states, demonstrated achievements and likely technological advances. Each scenario was constructed using existing data and technology-informed forecasting.


Modeling was conducted using the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) System, supplemented with external modeling as needed. For all three scenarios, top-down projections of energy consumption and production were put into LEAP to generate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across all sectors of the economy.

Most of the Baseline Scenario inputs were based on the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) 2016 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) “Reference Case” fuels consumption forecast and the New York and New England Independent System Operator’s electricity forecasts. These projections were then modified for renewable generation based on recently approved state plans or legislation, including the Clean Energy Standard (CES) in NY, a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) increase in Rhode Island, and hydropower import authorizations.

For the Primary and Accelerated Scenarios, changes to the baseline consumption were made based on forecasts of clean energy technology penetrations in different sectors. These forecasts were constructed external to the LEAP model and are described in more detail below. The electric generation mix and corresponding fuel consumption required to meet the demand was determined using LEAP’s dispatch model, which evaluated solutions for eight different time periods of average seasonal demand.

The full Technical Appendix is available for download on the Materials page.

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