Advanced Energy Perspectives

How Performance-Based Regulation Could Put Pennsylvania at the Forefront of a 21st Century Electricity System

Posted by Ryan Katofsky and Benjamin Stafford

Apr 13, 2017 2:26:47 PM

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The electricity sector is changing. New technologies are being integrated into the grid and installed behind customer meters, including a range of smart grid technologies, distributed generation, demand response, and energy efficiency. These same technologies are putting pressure on the traditional utility business model, which is focused on providing a regulated rate of return on capital investment. As a result, both utilities and regulators are looking for ways to modernize the regulatory framework to better align utility financial incentives with the changes taking place on the grid and with public policy goals. One way to do that is performance-based regulation (PBR). A new paper from AEE Institute explores the potential for Pennsylvania to benefit from PBR to deliver better service (and more options) for customers and greater economic development for the state.

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Topics: State Policy Update, 21st Century Electricity System

Should utilities be allowed to own distributed energy resources?

Posted by Coley Girouard

Apr 6, 2017 1:16:49 PM

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Distributed energy resources (DERs) are becoming an increasingly important element in the U.S. electricity system, capable of driving us toward a more flexible, reliable, resilient, affordable, and clean grid. However, when any industry goes through a substantial change, there are questions that must be answered. What entities should be allowed to own, operate, and control DERs and DER services? Should a monopoly (i.e. the utility) be allowed to compete against private advanced energy companies given their inherent competitive advantages? In places like Arizona and New York, answers are starting to emerge, but are not yet settled.

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Topics: State Policy Update, PUCs

In Virginia, Better Options for Corporate Buyers Begin with This: Redoing Dominion’s Renewable Energy Tariff

Posted by Caitlin Marquis and Dylan Reed

Mar 30, 2017 10:28:15 AM

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Solar array atop the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness at the University of Richmond. 

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As we’ve reported before, companies across the country are increasingly looking to advanced energy to meet their electricity needs, and in Virginia, the story is no different. A new AEE state market brief shows that unleashing this demand would bring huge benefits to the Commonwealth, including significant investment and development activity. With the renewable energy tariff of Dominion Virginia Power, the Commonwealth’s largest investor-owned utility, expiring at the beginning of April, Virginia has a chance to do just that. The question legislators and regulators need to ask themselves now is this: How can Virginia expand and improve options for renewable energy procurement to attract and retain top corporate citizens and reap the jobs and economic benefits that come with a dynamic renewable energy market?

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Topics: State Policy Update

Peak Demand Reduction Can Solve Michigan’s Power Problems, Save Millions for Customers

Posted by Daniel Bloom and Benjamin Stafford

Mar 23, 2017 1:10:52 PM

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The numbers don’t lie. Peak demand in Michigan is expected to increase by 2,000 MW in the Lower Peninsula over the next decade. Normally, this type of load growth is met by building new power plants. But these “peaker” plants sit idle most of year, pressed into service only when demand is highest – a few hours per year. A new study commissioned by Advanced Energy Economy Institute finds that Michigan would benefit significantly from using a variety of demand reduction strategies, all of which can relieve stress on the power grid, delay or avoid construction of expensive new power plants, and save money for Michigan electricity customers. Demand reduction strategies include a combination of targeted demand response (DR) programs, time-varying rates, and smart thermostats – options that can save Michigan upwards of $1 billion over the next decade.

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Topics: State Policy Update

Following Net Metering Battles, Nevada Considers Boosting RPS, Energy Efficiency, Storage

Posted by Ray Fakhoury

Mar 15, 2017 11:21:59 AM

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In Nevada, disputes over net metering controlled much of the energy conversation in 2016. Now, lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval are looking to go big on advanced energy. First, at the end of last year, the Public Utilities Committee of Nevada (PUCN) issued an order requiring a utility to consider “all attributes,” not just cost, in evaluating energy options – a boon for advanced energy technologies, which provide a range of benefits. Now, lawmakers are pressing forward on legislation that would boost the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), establish annual energy efficiency goals, and consider requiring utilities to deploy energy storage by 2018. If they keep working together like this to enact policies that reduce costs for ratepayers and diversify the state’s energy portfolio, Nevada Republicans and Democrats could catapult the Silver State into the driver’s seat on advanced energy in 2017.

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Topics: State 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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