Electricity Policy

       

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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

G&T co-ops: Regional approach may offer chance to cut cost of EPA rule compliance

G&T co-ops: Regional approach may offer chance to cut cost of EPA rule compliance

October 24, 2014—Representatives from two large G&T cooperatives recently reminded state and federal energy officials from several Midwestern states not to overlook the interests of consumers in regional planning. Industry representatives told a conference sponsored by the Midwestern Governors Association last month that sound regional solutions should be considered as utilities work to meet E...

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US, Europe press UN handbook to note ‘modest’ cost of climate change fight

US, Europe press UN handbook to note ‘modest’ cost of climate change fight

The US and European Union have asked the UN to stress the low cost of fighting climate change in a draft handbook the UN is compiling, a leaked document obtained by Reuters showed. The US wants the handbook to show more clearly that the costs of action “will be almost insignificant relative to projected growth.” In more than 2,000 comments on the UN draft obtained by Reuters, some governments also s...

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SolarCity offers investors 2-4% bonds; firms add solar as corporate perk

SolarCity offers investors 2-4% bonds; firms add solar as corporate perk

Having raised over $200 million in its third debt offering in three months, SolarCity is now turning to crowdfunding to raise more funds at lower costs. The company says buying its solar bonds (e.g., 4% interest for 7-year maturity) is relatively simple: Open an account, deposit funds, and those funds are repaid at 2% to 4% from payments from residential and commercial projects throughout the US. It...

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Ga. Power nabs 6.5 cent/kWh solar buy; named 'IOU of the Year' by Solar Assn.

Ga. Power nabs 6.5 cent/kWh solar buy; named 'IOU of the Year' by Solar Assn.

Georgia Power concluded its recent RFP for utility-scale solar power by entering into power purchase agreements for the output of 10 proposed solar facilities with a combined capacity of 515 MW, Southern Company's largest utility subsidiary said in a regulatory filing made public on Tuesday. According to the utility’s filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission, Platts reported , the average p...

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China slashes its ambitious goals for installing offshore solar wind power

China slashes its ambitious goals for installing offshore solar wind power

China has severely cut back plans to install offshore wind installations because of the cost and complexity of the technology, according to a Bloomberg report. China now expects to install about 2,000 MW of offshore wind by 2015 and 10,000 MW by 2020, the National Energy Administration estimates. That’s less than its 2011 goal to generate 5,000 MW of power from offshore wind turbines by 2015 and 30,...

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Will key 345 kV Missouri line segment come under Missouri PSC regulation?

Will key 345 kV Missouri line segment come under Missouri PSC regulation?

By Robert Marritz

October 23, 2014— Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green said earlier this week that he will rule against a subsidiary of Ameren Corp. in a legal issue concerning the need for state regulators to approve a 100-mile, 345 kV power line. Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois is planning to build the line across northeast Missouri to the Iowa border.

Ameren has sought a judicial declaration ...

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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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