Advanced Energy Perspectives

How Grid Governance Stands in the Way of Advanced Energy Progress

Posted by Dylan Reed and Arvin Ganesan

Sep 8, 2016 2:00:00 PM

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As we know, the electric power grid is undergoing a shift from a traditional, centralized electricity system powered by conventional resources to a distributed, diverse system. The advanced energy technologies driving this shift give consumers more choices, improve reliability, and drive down costs for everyone. As this transition occurs, the rules governing electricity markets need to keep up. To fully realize the benefits advanced energy has to offer, we need electricity markets that treat all resources equally, and properly assign value to each of services they provide. Ensuring that markets are fair, transparent, and technology-neutral begins with the governance structures of the seven major grid operators in the United States.  

A new paper, Regional Energy Markets: Do Inconsistent Governance Structures Impede U.S. Market Success?, commissioned by AEE member E4TheFuture, outlines how each Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) and Independent System Operator (ISO) operates and how advanced energy companies are able – or not able – to participate in this governance. The focus of the report is the variability between these state and regional entities, which E4TheFuture concludes “make[s] achieving a truly consistent and well-functioning energy market on a national level almost impossible.” But it also shows that the way these grid managers are governed stands in the way of some advanced energy technologies being able to compete on a level playing field with traditional generation and transmission technologies.

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Topics: Federal Policy Update

AEE and R Street Institute Say to Congress: Improving Competitive Power Markets Can Lower Costs and Take Advantage of Advanced Energy Benefits

Posted by Dylan Reed and Frank Swigonski

Sep 6, 2016 12:38:07 PM

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This summer, the House Energy & Commerce Committee wrote a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking the agency’s input on the challenges facing our electric grid and the organized wholesale electricity markets which FERC regulates. Driven by a number of factors, including environmental regulations, changing consumer expectations, and booming growth in advanced energy technologies, the grid is undergoing rapid changes, the letter notes. In light of these changes, the Committee wants to explore questions about whether the organized competitive electricity markets established in the 1990s have delivered on promises to lower costs, maintain reliability, and spur innovation and whether Congress should amend the underlying law, the Federal Power Act. A formal hearing will take place tomorrow.

Organized markets are the best way to facilitate competition and drive down electricity prices, but, as they exist now, the markets overseen by FERC are far from perfect. AEE hopes members of Congress will use the hearing as an opportunity to highlight ways these markets can be improved. AEE is working with the R Street Institute - a think tank whose motto is “free markets, real solutions” - to help Congress see how these markets work and how they can be improved to take advantage of the benefits advanced energy provides.

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Topics: Federal Policy Update

Setting the PACE on Home Energy Improvements for Low and Moderate Income Americans

Posted by Bill Ritter, Jr.

Jul 21, 2016 12:34:34 PM

This is a guest post by former Colorado governor Bill Ritter, director of the Center for the New Energy Economy and an AEE Institute board member.

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The White House announcement yesterday on residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a welcome solution to a problem that has plagued states since 2010. It will go far toward helping all citizens, but especially those on a low and moderate income, to make efficiency improvements to their homes and lower their energy bills.

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Topics: Federal Policy Update, Guest Post, Energy Finance

‘I’m Just a Bill’ – But Thanks to Appointment of Conference Committee, This One Might Become Law

Posted by Dylan Reed and Arvin Ganesan

Jul 14, 2016 5:44:46 PM

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Over the last 18 months, the 114th Congress has considered hundreds of bills, debated many policies, and passed legislation, at least in one chamber or the other. This Congress has even approved some measures crucial to the advanced energy industry. Specifically, the extensions of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provide the certainty that many AEE member companies need to plan and thrive over the coming years – even if those extensions left out some other advanced energy technologies, such as fuel cells, combined heat and power, and storage.

But now, all eyes are focused on the energy bills passed separately by the House and the Senate. While the measures are miles apart in terms of scope, ambition, and politics, this week lawmakers ignited hope that a consensus, or at least compromise, bill may land on the President’s desk. But it wouldn’t be Congress if they weren’t going to wait until the last minute. The process moving forward is not a Madisonian delight, but it is at least starting to resemble the Schoolhouse Rock version of lawmaking.

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Topics: Federal Policy Update

A FERC challenge: Opening up electricity markets to advanced energy technologies

Posted by Arvin Ganesan and Suedeen Kelly

Jul 7, 2016 11:15:01 AM

This is an excerpt of an article originally published at Utility Dive, and can be read in its entirety there.

Grid operators should allow distributed resources and demand response to be priced for their unique attributes in organized markets

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In 2015, the U.S. advanced energy industry grew to $200 billion, up 29% since 2011. This is a result of ever-improving economics and performance. Demand side resources like energy efficiency and demand response are already more cost-effective than building new power plants, and generation technologies like wind and solar continue to see precipitous drops in costs.

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Topics: Federal Policy Update

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Advanced Energy Perspectives is AEE's blog presenting news, analysis, and commentary on creating an advanced energy economy. Join the conversation!

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