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Demand Response is Alive and Well: DR Opportunities in a Post-Order 745 World

Demand Response is Alive and Well: DR Opportunities in a Post-Order 745 World

By Greg Wikler, Stuart Schare, and Brett Feldman

Whatever the outcome of litigation to redress the effects of the D.C. Circuit panel’s decision voiding FERC Order 745, the economic and operational benefits of demand response are so great that many opportunities remain for this largely untapped resource.
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hile the jury is still out on whether the recent D.C. Circuit panel’s decision to overturn FERC Order 745 will withstand an appeals process, many commentators have questioned whether the decision spells the end of demand response (DR) as we know it.  This paper provides a number of reasons for those in the DR industry to be hopeful.

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Three Years of Residential Electric Choice in Illinois, with Opt-Out Aggregation, Yields Results: A Status Report

Three Years of Residential Electric Choice in Illinois, with Opt-Out Aggregation, Yields Results: A Status Report

By Ann McCabe

Illinois residents are becoming accustomed to seeking the best deal for electricity service from an alternate supplier. Beginning in 2011, the ability of cities and towns to contract electric service for their residents through muni aggregation has led to two-thirds of residential customers being served by alternate suppliers. 
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uring the last three years, residential electric switching increased dramatically in Illinois.  By the end of May 2014, more than 3 million residential customers received their electricity from a non-utility provider.  These customers represent about two-thirds of all residential customers; the actual population that switched is significantly greater than the number of meters given the average household size in Illinois.  Illinois has a population of 12.8 million.

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Preserving Economic Demand Response: Promptly and Lawfully

Preserving Economic Demand Response: Promptly and Lawfully

 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.
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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.

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The State and Promise of Energy Storage

The State and Promise of Energy Storage

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.
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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.

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Tracking the Consumer Value of Smart Grid Deployment in Illinois and Beyond

Tracking the Consumer Value of Smart Grid Deployment in Illinois and Beyond

 

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.
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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.

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Electricity Daily

For maximum solar energy when needed, ‘Look West, young woman, look West’

For maximum solar energy when needed, ‘Look West, young woman, look West’

 October 21, 2014 -- There has been growing interest of late in the usefulness of orienting rooftop solar PV panels to face west rather than south. In a blog for UtilityDive , Herman K. Trabish offers an excellent review of recent experience from both California and Texas. Both states’ analyses show that while south-facing PV panels generate more kilowatt-hours than other orientations, west-facin...

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Utilities to seek permits for octogenarian plants as most cost-effective option

Utilities to seek permits for octogenarian plants as most cost-effective option

The future for new nuclear reactors seems cloudy indeed, but the New York Times reports that the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, “are preparing to ask [the Nuclear Regulatory Commission] for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.” Nuclear proponents say that extending plants’ lifetimes is more economical—and a better way to hold down carbon dioxide...

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Austin and its muni utility at odds: How much solar energy can the city afford?

Austin and its muni utility at odds: How much solar energy can the city afford?

Late this summer, the Austin, Texas, City Council committed to a progressive energy policy by calling for a dramatic expansion in solar power generation, to cheers from environmental advocates across the country. But the city’s municipal utility, Austin Energy, has objected, saying  the plan would be too expensive for its customers. Since then, says the Texas Tribune , a debate has ensued over “h...

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Minneapolis, two IOUs, forge unique agreement for greener energy service

Minneapolis, two IOUs, forge unique agreement for greener energy service

The two investor-owned utilities serving Minneapolis have reached an historic agreement that will end the city’s flirtation with setting up a municipal utility and pave the way for establishing a “cleaner” energy system in the city. Midwest Energy News reports that Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy, which provide electricity and natural gas to the city, have signed on to a “clean energy partnership”...

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Second submarine DC line planned to connect Hydro-Quebec to N.E. grid

Second submarine DC line planned to connect Hydro-Quebec to N.E. grid

A proposed HVDC power line carrying electricity from Quebec to New England has moved a small step closer to construction but it’s not Northern Pass. The New England Clean Power Link, which would run from the Quebec border and connect to a key regional substation in southern Vermont, has received a presidential go-ahead, necessary for crossing international borders. More approvals are needed, but t...

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Flawed DR ruling needs SCOTUS review; PJM proposal not good enough, firms say

Flawed DR ruling needs SCOTUS review; PJM proposal not good enough, firms say

By Robert Marritz

October 20, 2014—PJM Interconnection, in response to the recent D.C. Circuit Court decision that vacated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 745 (Electric Power Supply Ass’n v. FERC, D.C. Circuit No. 11-1486), recently released a potential plan for complying with the decision, should interpretation of that decision include capacity as well as energy markets. The proposal, whi...

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Editorials

Teaching the ‘Duck’ to Fly

Teaching the ‘Duck’ to Fly

With apologies to economist Jim Lazar for appropriating the title of his excellent paper, “ Teaching the ‘Duck’ to Fly ,” recently a featured work on the Regulatory Assistance Project website—and to our readers for not pointing your attention to this paper sooner—we shamelessly steal from Shakespeare as well: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy....

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Regulators and the regulated: Has the bright line of propriety become hazy today?

Regulators and the regulated: Has the bright line of propriety become hazy today?

One of the country’s leading utility regulatory agencies, the California Public Utilities Commission, has its hands full. A fireball burst from a Pacific Gas & Electric pipeline 1,000 feet in the air in San Bruno on Thursday, September 9, 2010, killed eight people, flattened dozens of homes, and destroyed a neighborhood. It has now burst into flame again, ending the career of the commission’s ...

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Regulation and Competition in a Time of Change: A Meditation

Regulation and Competition in a Time of Change: A Meditation

Last week I had the privilege of attending the annual meeting of the Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition, which is known for its informality, candid and illuminating talk, and a generally good time. I even had the opportunity to moderate a panel, “Creating Opportunity in a Time of Change,” featuring UBS utility and IPP analyst, Julien Dumoulin-Smith, and the chairman of the Washi...

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The Ohio proposals: Are some suppliers unable to weather market conditions?

The Ohio proposals: Are some suppliers unable to weather market conditions?

The nation’s regional transmission operators generally do a fine job of managing a complex, interdependent grid system and its related power and power services markets. These RTOs and independent system operators (one wishes we would settle on one term) bring order to a Balkanized system of plants, wires, and ownerships. The ISOs and RTOs reduce reserve requirements and provide transmission and ot...

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FERC decisions can’t trump state regulators’ prudence reviews

FERC decisions can’t trump state regulators’ prudence reviews

The Supreme Court’s decision to deny Kansas City Power & Light’s petition for review of lower court decisions upholding Missouri’s disallowance of costs that had been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission interested us; it seemed to cry out for a further look. But on that further look it became clear that KCP&L’s case was simply the proverbial “dog that won’t hunt.”

The case,...

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Climate change, near-term and long-term

Climate change, near-term and long-term

Which is more dangerous, carbon or methane? Odysseus’s choice or Sophie’s Choice?

An excellent op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times by Justin Gillis, “Picking Lesser of Two Climate Evils,” addresses the debate in the scientific community about whether it is more important to control carbon in the atmosphere or methane. Both positions have their advocates, but there is no question that carbon, the less...

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