12 Jun 2014
By Scott Hempling
The value of economic demand response is so great that our collective interests should not wait on lengthy appeals of a D.C. Circuit panel’s decision to preserve this option. Instead, FERC, the states, utilities, generators, and Congress have alternatives to continue this cost-saving practice without running afoul of the D.C. Circuit’s action.
he day before my first appellate argument, at the Ninth Circuit in April 1989, I went to court to observe. One pair of opponents, having finished before the judges, continued arguing in the hallway. We could keep arguing too, for the months and years that will pass while the full D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court review last month’s D.C. Circuit panel opinion. Or we can bear down and find ways to make demand response work. This essay proposes some actions, categorized according to who can take them: generators, FERC, retail utilities, states, municipalities and Congress.
29 Apr 2014
by Ken Dragoon
There are many potential avenues to developing economically viable options for energy storage. Reaching any of these goals will be a powerfully transformative element of a more modern and efficient electricity grid.
nergy storage has become one of the hottest topics in the electric power industry today, as evidenced by a burgeoning number of new studies, conferences, technological breakthroughs and new policies. The interest in energy storage is inevitably linked to rapidly rising penetration levels of variable energy resources—primarily wind and solar. Perhaps the most significant recent development is California’s adoption of an energy storage procurement target for the state’s three investor-owned utilities to acquire 1,325 MW of energy storage by 2020.
25 Mar 2014
by Scott Hempling
Microgrids can enhance security and local control for discrete locations on the larger interconnected electric grid. The relationships and mutual responsibilities of the microgrid and the external grid need to be carefully defined, however. Here is a framework for doing just that.
icrogrid policy, if carried out cost-effectively, offers two distinct benefits: democratization of demand, allowing consumers to custom-design their own services; and diversity of suppliers, allowing consumers to choose providers based on their merits. Whether these benefits emerge will depend on how well state legislatures and commissions resolve questions about market structure, customer responsibility and utility compensation. This article identifies the main questions, along with the legal and economic principles necessary to answer those questions.
21 Apr 2014
by Raya Salter
With huge investments needed to modernize the electricity grid, it’s imperative that all parties at interest have a voice both in determining the rules by which utility improvements are judged and ensuring that the environmental and efficiency promises of the smart grid are achieved.
ithin the last decade, several states, including Illinois, began considering or adopting laws and regulations to enable utility investment in smart grid technologies. The Electricity Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2011 (EIMA) ushered in $3.2 billion in smart grid investments for the Illinois utilities, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and Ameren Illinois (Ameren). EIMA produced the largest electric infrastructure investment Illinois utilities will have made in a generation. The law was the product of negotiations and collaboration between several stakeholders, including the two utilities and consumer advocates. Ultimately, EIMA mandated performance rates, including express metrics for success, designed to ensure that the investments deliver consumer benefits within a 10-year time frame.
05 Mar 2014
by Hon. Carla J. Peterman and Melicia Charles
By legislation and regulatory decision, California has recognized that its long-term clean energy and environmental goals are not likely to be met absent a viable storage economy. Regulators have set forth an open, flexible process intended to lead to that result.
I. The Changing Needs of California’s Electric Infrastructure
alifornia energy policy supports an ambitious transition from conventional fossil generation to renewable and other clean resources. Policies such as the state’s 33 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard, zero net energy goals, the Governor’s Zero Emission Vehicle Plan, and now energy storage targets are positioning the state to attain this future. Imbedded in this vision is the expectation that California will achieve these policy goals while promoting greater efficiency, reliability, affordability, and increased safety.