New Englanders Welcome the Clean Energy Transition
Recent focus groups underscore widespread enthusiasm for clean energy and urgency for electrification in New England. In the summer of 2023, Barr Foundation sponsored six focus groups with homeowners in each New England state and a final group with renters to gain further insights. They were particularly interested in discussing electrification, which has become a central part of climate strategies in the region. In alignment with the climate poll, respondents had an overwhelmingly positive perception of clean energy, but they also had questions about implementation, the costs of the energy transition, and how their own lives might change in the future. Many respondents viewed the clean energy transition as inevitable; they encouraged incentives and policies at the state and federal level that further clean energy development. A factor which gave participants pause was grid reliability; participants were concerned about the ability of the electric system to handle the transition of the power supply and the addition of many heat pumps and electric vehicles. Residents’ hesitation to adopt clean technologies is tied to costs, and most are unaware of incentives that are already available to them (or will be soon). People like heat pumps (once they know what they are). Rooftop solar is considered a luxury. Participants like the idea of clean heat standards+.