Electricity Policy

       

Thu10302014

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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

Enviro suit: NRC illegally modified license for PG&E’s Diablo Canyon plant

Enviro suit: NRC illegally modified license for PG&E’s Diablo Canyon plant

October 30, 2014 -- A lawsuit filed by an environmental group says federal regulators secretly and illegally revised the license for a California power plant, according to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle . Officials with Friends of the Earth say that last year the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. changed an element of the Diablo Canyon power facility's licen...

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Obama’s EPA: We’re open to considering changes in timing of carbon rule

Obama’s EPA: We’re open to considering changes in timing of carbon rule

The Obama administration is considering a change in its timetable to curb carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, a proposal that would give electric utilities more time to meet the reduction targets. The Environmental Protection Agency issued additional information on its proposal after some states and utilities said the required switch to gas from coal by 2020 would cause prices to jump shar...

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Germany’s energy shift needs smarter grid, flexibility—and demand response

Germany’s energy shift needs smarter grid, flexibility—and demand response

Germany’s revolutionary Energiewende (“energy transition”), like other major paradigm shifts, notes a thoughtful Environmental Defense Fund blog , will require cohesive development of many moving parts. Intended to achieve nearly 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, the program is perhaps the world’s most aggressive clean energy platform. But optimization measures for Energiewende have come relativ...

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A World Series of energy efficiency

A World Series of energy efficiency

As we approach tonight’s tossup game 7, it’s been a terrific World Series, in spite of a few blowout games, with many new stars on the Kansas City side coming forward to match San Francisco’s considerable star power. But how many of us have been paying attention to the energy efficiency consciousness of the respective cities and their ballparks? For the San Francisco side, AT&T Park, one of th...

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EPA sends court-ordered coal ash disposal rule to White House for action

EPA sends court-ordered coal ash disposal rule to White House for action

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent the nation’s first-ever regulations on the storage and disposal of coal ash to the White House for final review, The Hill reported . The rule, now in a final review stage, should be published by its court-ordered deadline of December 19, set by the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The rule proposes classifying coal ash as “special wastes” rath...

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Akins tells Wall St.: EPA’s Clean Power Plan puts the grid in serious danger

Akins tells Wall St.: EPA’s Clean Power Plan puts the grid in serious danger

October 29, 2014—In a wide-ranging quarterly earnings call with analysts on Thursday, American Electric Power Chairman, CEO and President Nick Akins elaborated on the company’s plan to shift approximately one-third of its Ohio generating portfolio to its distribution companies, and noted the apparent inability of the PJM market to incent development of new capacity. But apart from AEP’s financial pe...

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Editorials

Seeking to make ends meet in organized markets: What’s wrong with this picture?

Seeking to make ends meet in organized markets: What’s wrong with this picture?

Is there a hidden flaw in the present construct of organized regional markets—the sort that are operated by ISO New England, PJM, ERCOT, and the New York ISO?

They all do a fine job of planning, regional dispatch, coordination, and management of complex markets for power, energy, and ancillary services. Yet, problems continue to poke their heads up, like an annoying game of Whack-a-mole. The reason...

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Guest editorial: New England generators seek a level playing field for resources

Guest editorial: New England generators seek a level playing field for resources

To the editor—In response to an October 20 piece in Electricity Daily , the New England Power Generator Association’s (NEPGA) believes it necessary to clarify its position in the recent petition to the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission (NHPUC) requesting a review of the state’s affiliate rules. In a petition filed in September, and granted last week, NEPGA sought state oversight over Public Serv...

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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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