Electric operators in New England have been both generating more electricity from natural gas and importing more hydroelectric generation from Quebec over the past decade. These two sources of electricity are displacing the use of coal and oil as generation fuels in New England.
New England states have several reasons to further limit their use of electricity generated from fossil fuels. Constraints on some of the pipelines delivering natural gas into New England have contributed to higher natural gas prices and made electricity relatively more expensive. Also, all New England states have renewable portfolio standards (or in Vermont, a nonbinding goal) requiring that a certain percentage of their electricity comes from renewable sources. Goals and qualifying renewable sources differ by state. For instance, Rhode Island's goal is 16% renewable electricity by 2020 and New Hampshire's is 24.8% by 2025; both states have limits on the size of hydroelectric facilities whose generation qualifies.
Several New England states also have energy efficiency resource standards or goals, which act like renewable portfolio standards, but are for implementing energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is among the reasons for relatively little change in total system demand over the past decade in New England, despite 3% growth in total population from 2004 to 2012.
Finally, New England states are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based regulatory program that places a cap on carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. The cap is reduced over time, encouraging states to generate more of their electricity using low- or zero-carbon sources. (DOE-EIA)