Blog: Boston Q2 - Maintaining Boston’s Momentum with Smart Buildings and Grid Modernization

- Michael Ramsey, AEG Fellow               

As part of Advanced Energy Group’s mission to facilitate the energy transformation of our cities, the Q2 Series is focused on Smart Buildings and Grid Modernization. The overarching problem is that building operations account for 75% of the nation’s energy consumption, and 70% of the grid is over 25 years old. Increasing costs of energy, threats of climate change, and developments in energy policy and technology require buildings and the grid to be improved upon.

The vision leading cities are working towards include energy efficient buildings that possess Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). Smarter buildings with self-generation and improved efficiency would be linked to a modernized grid, one that is Digital, Distributed, and Decarbonized. Additionally, a clear market mechanism would exist to incentivize and sustain development. These advancements would make the energy system much more stable, resilient, and sustainable. A recent step towards this direction is the Department of Public Utilities' (DPU) May 10, 2018 Order that “authorizes Massachusetts’ utility companies to make $220 million in investments in grid modernization technologies over the next three years to upgrade their distribution systems to improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid.” (DPU Press Release)

Boston is one of these leading cities and it is consistently credited as one of the nation’s leader in energy efficiency. This is a product of Massachusetts’ ongoing Climate Action Plan, which surpassed expectations by reaching its target of 25% GHG emission reductions years ahead of the 2020 deadline. This is a victory to be celebrated and sets an example to learn from. Such drastic changes would not have been achieved if it were not for the collective goal-setting, dialogue, and collaboration among various stakeholders.         

Despite this substantial progress, it is just one piece of the energy transformation puzzle. Moving forward, the City of Boston has laid out a Community Energy Study that envisions its districts having DERs. Continued stakeholder dialogue and collaboration to move forward and take effective action will be needed to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. AEG’s Q2 Boston Stakeholder Breakfast aims to facilitate this dialogue among diverse stakeholders to aid Boston’s continual energy transformation. AEG’s goal for stakeholder engagement is to make connections and foster collaboration between the players so they can and produce action-oriented results. The Q2 stakeholder series will be facilitated by Ken Horne, Director for Smart Grid, Navigant. Discussion leaders will include:

  • Dennis Villanueva, Senior Manager, Energy & Sustainability - ‎Partners HealthCare System

  • Joe Dalton, Project Director, MATEP LLC/Longwood Medical (Engie)

  • Jim Hunt, SVP for Regulatory Affairs & Chief Communications Officer, Eversource Energy

  • Judith Judson, ‎Commissioner, ‎Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

  • Chris Parent, Director, Market Development at ISO New England

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Advanced Energy Group is a stakeholder member-supported organization committed to developing and delivering advanced energy policies and solutions in key cities.  Stakeholder sessions are by invitation only.  For details of our programming please visit:

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