Energy and environmental policy

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E3 offers a unique perspective on energy and environmental policy, thanks to our diverse client base and deep knowledge of energy economics, technology, and regulation.

We are helping shape new energy policies through rigorous analysis for our public sector clients. Our PATHWAYS model provides long-term, economy-wide, decarbonization scenarios that map out trajectories for deployment of low-carbon technologies, illuminate interactions among sectors, predict costs, and identify risks. Policy makers in California relied on our analysis to set the state’s 2030 GHG reduction target and implement cap and trade for the electric sector. E3 has supported regulators and policy makers across North America, including in New York, Idaho, Hawaii, British Columbia, Colorado, and Oregon. We also advise public agencies in India and China.

Private sector clients benefit from our sophisticated understanding of how energy and environmental policies are affecting investment opportunities, asset values, utility operations, and rates. We assist clean technology firms and investors by evaluating the costs and impacts of policies on renewable and fossil generation, transmission and distribution networks, distributed energy resources, electrification, and smart grid applications. Our strategic advice helps electricity and natural gas utilities, project developers, and large energy consumers understand how clean energy policies and goals affect their business decisions.

E3’s services in energy and environmental policy include:

  • Policy analysis
  • Carbon pricing and market design
  • GHG abatement costs and strategies
  • Long-term scenario planning
  • Best practices in energy and climate policy
  • Strategic planning


Energy and environmental policy projects

Hawaiʻi Pathways to Decarbonization | Hawaiʻi State Energy Office, 2023

E3 supported the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office in the development of a report to the State Legislature evaluating long-term pathways to economywide decarbonization in Hawaiʻi and recommending new policies to ensure the achievement of the state’s decarbonization goals. E3 supported the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office in this effort by developing long-term decarbonization scenarios using the PATHWAYS model to explore the tradeoffs between different pathways to achieving Hawaiʻi’s goals.

The report affirms and recommends maintaining the state’s economy-wide emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. The analysis shows that while challenging to achieve, with high levels of energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, and natural carbon sinks, among other measures, this ambitious goal is within reach.

Read the detailed project description.

Energy Storage Market Update and Long Duration Storage Study | Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, 2023

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and Department of Energy Resources (DOER), E3 conducted a study that assesses the current state of energy storage in the Commonwealth, the market outlook for emerging mid- and long-duration storage (LDES) technologies, and potential applications of mid- and long-duration storage, all in the context of providing benefits to ratepayers and achieving the state’s ambitious decarbonization goals.

The study included several modeling and stakeholder engagement elements. Leveraging E3’s pro forma financial model of storage technology costs and a custom-built storage dispatch model, the project team analyzed several storage use cases to help the state understand impacts of current incentive programs. Assessment of future storage value involved loss-of-load probability modeling of the entire ISO-NE footprint using E3’s RECAP model. E3 engaged stakeholders throughout the study process through interviews with more than 50 key stakeholders and two public stakeholder workshops. In the study, E3 shows that the role of energy storage changes to suit grid needs, but that storage requires well-designed state support to encourage deployment and innovation that targets these needs. In addition to writing a report providing study findings, the team worked with DOER to translate findings into policy recommendations for the state.

Read the detailed project description.

Scenario Analysis to Support the 2023 Annual Report | United States Climate Alliance, 2023

E3 provided scenario analysis to support the US Climate Alliance’s 2023 Annual Report which highlighted the progress Alliance members have already made toward reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and using E3’s modeling, detailed multiple scenarios of Alliance-wide GHG emissions through 2050. E3 evaluated Alliance-wide GHG emissions through 2050 using E3’s PATHWAYS model to map out the trajectory of current policies including the Inflation Reduction Act, proposed federal actions, and additional ambitious collective actions for Alliance states or the federal government. These scenarios highlighted the gap between current policies and GHG targets and quantified the impact of incremental measures and actions. E3 also evaluated the benefits and costs of achieving net zero GHG emissions, including health benefits, climate benefits, and direct costs of fuels and clean infrastructure, showcasing net savings through 2050 of decarbonization.

Read the detailed project description.

New York Electricity Grid Emission Factors | NYSERDA, 2020-22

E3 supported NYSERDA in developing a new methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emission factors for New York’s electricity grid. Greenhouse gas emission factors measure the emissions intensity of grid power (the amount of emissions produced per unit of energy generated, such as in metric tons per megawatt-hour). E3 calculated future marginal grid emission factors for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) for New York State for 2023 through 2040, on a month-hour and annual basis. E3 worked together with NYSERDA to write a white paper describing the methodology, results, and recommended applications of the new emission factors, as well as an accompanying database of emission factors for use by stakeholders.

Read the detailed project description.

WRI United States Decarbonization Scenarios | World Resources Institute, 2021

E3 worked with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to develop four scenarios of increasing ambition to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across all sectors of the United States economy using E3’s US PATHWAYS and RESOLVE models. E3 collaborated with WRI to develop robust scenario definitions, collect publicly available data and assumptions, and create interactive spreadsheet results. The goal of the study was to understand the effect of high-impact federal policies on achieving 50% emissions reduction by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. The analysis demonstrates the importance of key near-term building blocks, including: 1) aligning economics for customers and companies to adopt clean energy technologies; 2) aligning policy and institutions to remove barriers to technology deployment; 3) increasing consumer awareness and education to unlock higher levels of adoption; and 4) creating a transition plan for fossil fuel jobs to ensure a smooth transition.

Read the detailed project description.

US Climate Alliance Greenhouse Gas Emissions Scenarios to Net Zero | US Climate Alliance, 2021

E3 provided modeling and scenario analysis to support the US Climate Alliance’s 2021 Annual Report. The report highlights the progress Alliance members have already made toward reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and using E3’s modeling, details multiple scenarios of Alliance-wide GHG emissions through 2050. E3 evaluated Alliance-wide GHG emissions through 2050 using E3’s PATHWAYS and RESOLVE models. The GHG emissions scenarios E3 developed for the Alliance highlighted the gap between the GHG reductions that would be possible with proposed state and federal policies and the reductions necessary to meet established federal targets. E3 also modeled the emissions impacts of the collective actions that would help bridge that gap.

Read the detailed project description.

New York Integration Analysis for Climate Action Council Draft Scoping Plan | NYSERDA, 2021 – ongoing

E3 is supporting NYSERDA in its analysis to inform the Climate Action Council’s Scoping Plan. E3 has developed scenarios showing how New York could achieve carbon neutrality as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). This work includes a detailed analysis of buildings, transportation, industry, electricity generation, non-combustion, low-carbon fuels, and negative emissions using E3’s suite of modeling tools (PATHWAYS, RESOLVE, and RECAP) and parallel modeling efforts at NYSERDA. E3 also assessed the economy-wide cost of decarbonization and compared it to the societal benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and monetized benefits of improved air quality through reduced combustion. E3’s work includes detailed modeling of the CLCPA electric sector targets, including the 70×30 and 100×40 goals as well as technology-specific targets such as the 9 GW offshore wind target.

Cost and Emissions Impacts of Residential Building Electrification in California | Three Utility Study, 2018-19

E3 was retained by three of California’s largest electric utilities – Southern California Edison (SCE), Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) – to explore the consumer costs and emissions reduction potential associated with the electrification of California homes. The study examines costs, savings, and emissions for electric and gas appliances in six different home types in geographical areas covering over half the state’s population. Unlike prior studies, it closely evaluates the consumer cost perspective on building electrification and quantifies GHG emissions savings by home type. E3 found that building electrification would deliver lifecycle cost savings for most home types in the study area. For homes with air conditioning – about 80 percent of the total – the economics are particularly strong: all new construction homes and the vast majority (84 percent) of existing single-family homes with A/C would save by going all-electric. E3 also found that electrification would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from homes – starting today. For example, a Sacramento home built in the 1990s would immediately cut its GHG emissions nearly in half by switching to all-electric appliances; by 2050, with a significantly cleaner electric grid, the GHG savings would grow to over 80 percent (and more, if California achieves carbon neutrality).


Maryland Decarbonization Pathways | Maryland Dept. of Environment, 2017–2019

E3 supported the development of Maryland’s statewide climate plan in collaboration with the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University. E3 developed a Maryland-specific PATHWAYS model for the project to calculate the costs and emissions reduction potential of various measures across the state’s economy, as well as the timeframes in which they would occur. In the project’s first phase, E3 developed a reference emissions case under existing state energy policies that was presented to the Mitigation Working Group of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change; in the second phase, E3 evaluated deeper GHG reduction scenarios with additional and more aggressive measures. The state’s draft climate plan, released by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in October 2019, encompassed more than 100 climate-saving measures – including investments in efficiency and renewables, adoption of electric vehicles, and better management of farms and forests – to reduce GHG emissions 44 percent below 2006 levels by 2030. The final plan is forthcoming in early 2020.


Tory Clark, Snuller Price

Deep Decarbonization in a High Renewables Future: Updated Results from the California PATHWAYS model | CEC, 2015–2018

This project evaluates long-term energy scenarios in California through 2050 using the California PATHWAYS model. These scenarios investigate options and costs to achieve a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. Ten mitigation scenarios are evaluated, with each […]

  • Read the Case Study
  • Publications

    Study of Policies to Decarbonize Electric Sector in the Northwest I Public Generating Pool, 2017 – present

    On behalf of the Public Generating Pool (PGP), a group of hydro-owning public power entities in Washington and Oregon, E3 completed a study exploring the effectiveness of a range of policy mechanisms to decarbonize the electric sector. This study used RESOLVE, E3’s optimal capacity expansion model, to develop optimized generation portfolios for the region through 2050 that capture […]

  • Read the Case Study
  • Publications

    New York GHG scenario analysis | NYSERDA, 2016–present

    E3 is supporting the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in developing a detailed GHG analysis to quantify the infrastructure and policy changes necessary to meet state climate and energy goals. We are evaluating the GHG and cost implications of a variety of scenarios that are consistent with New York’s goal of reducing statewide GHG emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. In this work, E3 developed a user-friendly PATHWAYS model on the LEAP software platform for NYSERDA, as well as other modeling tools to support evaluating costs and options to decarbonize the electricity sector.

    Strategic program development and consulting | DOE Technical Assistance to States, 2008–present

    E3 has been a resource to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Technical Assistance to States program through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2008. Our projects help state governments better understand how to implement energy efficiency programs and how to make them cost-effective. E3 has advised utility commissioners and senior policy staff in Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Dakota, Illinois, Arizona, and other states on major aspects of their program designs. We provide accurate information, guidance, and background based on our knowledge of various states’ decisions, and share our expertise in standard industry practice.

    Decarbonizing pipeline gas to help meet GHG reduction goals | SoCalGas, 2014–15

    E3 worked with the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) to evaluate the potential of decarbonized pipeline gas fuels and the existing pipeline infrastructure to help meet California’s long-term climate goals. “Decarbonized pipeline gas” refers to gaseous fuels—including biogas—with a net-zero or very low GHG impact. E3 used its PATHWAYS model to evaluate two scenarios, one with heavy electrification of buildings and vehicles and one with a mix of electrification and decarbonized pipeline gas. Both were found capable of meeting the state’s 2050 climate goals with comparable total costs within the ranges of uncertainty that we evaluated. The results of the study suggest that the use of decarbonized gas distributed through the state’s existing pipeline network would complement a low-carbon electrification strategy. SoCalGas has used the results of this study to inform its energy and climate policy positions in California.


    California’s 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan | CARB, 2016–2017

    E3 supported the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in developing an updated “Scoping Plan” strategy for achieving California’s 2030 greenhouse gas target. California Senate Bill 32 (Pavley, 2016) requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. E3’s analysis evaluated the GHG and cost implications of different 2030 scenarios that are consistent with the state’s current policies and GHG target. For this project, E3 updated the California PATHWAYS model to reflect scenarios and input assumptions requested by the CARB. The model results were translated into inputs to a macroeconomic model (REMI) in analysis performed by the CARB to evaluate impacts to statewide economic growth and jobs. E3’s study results were presented in public stakeholder workshops and are reflected in the final Scoping Plan published in November 2017.