Despite Pandemic, Blackouts, and Wildfires, California Legislature Comes Through with Wins for Electric Transportation and Energy Efficient Schools

Posted by Emilie Olson on Sep 15, 2020 1:33:34 PM

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In the early morning hours of September 1, California policymakers frantically concluded a legislative session much in keeping with the disquieting, disorienting mood of 2020 and all its unforeseen complications. California continues to grapple with colliding crises – an enduring pandemic, economic recession, and a catastrophic wildfire season. But at least there’s now a stack of bills on the Governor’s desk, including two that would support and indeed accelerate California’s nation-leading push toward electric transportation – and which were AEE’s top priorities for this session.

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Topics: State Policy Update, California Engagement, Advanced Transportation

Leaving Markets is No Easy Answer to FERC Orders that Undercut State Clean Energy Commitments

Posted by Jeff Dennis, Prusha Hasan, and Caitlin Marquis on Sep 9, 2020 2:00:00 PM

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Frustrated by recent decisions from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and dismayed to see their policy objectives undermined by wholesale market rules, a growing number of states are considering taking matters into their own hands. Specifically, in response to FERC’s rulings disadvantaging resources that benefit from state clean energy policies, some states in PJM Interconnection and ISO New England, along with New York, are considering alternatives to centralized capacity markets – including leaving these markets altogether. An AEE background paper released last week cautions that leaving an independently operated capacity market is no quick fix for the curve balls FERC has thrown at states. Rather, leaving centralized capacity markets is a fraught choice that should be pursued only if all other potential pathways have been thoroughly exhausted. Make no mistake – the current FERC majority is attempting to undermine clean energy and state choices. Even in the face of that threat, though, states would be better off working with RTOs/ISOs and other stakeholders to identify reforms to energy, ancillary services, and capacity markets to align them with state clean energy policies, rather than undermine them.

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Topics: Wholesale Markets

Why Wholesale Markets are Important to an Advanced Energy Future

Posted by Jeff Dennis on Sep 2, 2020 11:00:00 AM

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Friction between organized wholesale electricity markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators (RTOs/ISOs) and the trend – driven by policy, technology, and market forces – toward cleaner energy options have generated plenty of headlines in recent years. The barriers to entry that advanced energy technologies sometimes face in wholesale markets have come into stark relief, as federal policies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR), legacy market rules and market designs, and efforts to use the levers of federal power to prop up aging uneconomic power plants and put new regulatory barriers in front of clean energy resources collide with rapidly increasing state and customer ambitions to switch to clean energy.    

Despite these conflicts, competitive wholesale markets have still shown themselves to be a platform to integrate new technologies, increase transparency, and harness competitive forces over broad geographic regions to scale development of low-cost advanced energy technologies, improve customer access to those technologies, and replace uneconomic existing fossil fuel plants. FERC opened these markets to full participation by energy storage resources with its Order No. 841, creating a 40 GW opportunity to scale up development of technology that will be instrumental in the 100% clean energy grid of the future. And outside of FERC, RTO/ISO stakeholder processes are moving ahead on their own to reform market rules and operating practices to integrate transformative hybrid solar/wind-plus-storage power plants and consider a role for carbon pricing in the markets, providing a forum for discussions and market design progress not available in other regions.   

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Topics: Wholesale Markets

Top 10 Utility Regulation Trends of 2020 – So Far

Posted by Hannah Polikov and AEE Regulatory Team on Aug 26, 2020 9:30:56 AM

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In December, we published a list of the top 10 utility regulation trends of 2019. With 2020 now past the halfway point, we check in on the top public utility commission (PUC) actions and trends so far this year. Ten trends stand above the rest, from the impact of COVID on everything, to a growing trend in electric vehicle make-ready investments, to an increasing number of states implementing 100% clean energy targets. And, for the first time, we are including in our curation a key trend in federal regulation of wholesale electricity markets, as it goes directly to the question of who is in charge of energy policy in a changing electricity landscape. Prepare to settle in, as here is the full round-up of the top 10 utility regulation trends so far in 2020.

Note: some links in this post reference PUC filings and other documents in AEE's software platform, PowerSuite. Click here to sign up for a free trial.

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Topics: PUCs, 21st Century Electricity System, Regulatory, Wholesale Markets

New York’s $701 Million Program for EV Charging, By the Numbers

Posted by Claire Alford on Aug 19, 2020 10:03:31 AM

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Last summer, New York passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which adopted the country’s most ambitious climate targets, including 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 and economy-wide, net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. With transportation as New York’s largest emission sector, accounting for nearly one-third of the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, transportation electrification is an absolute necessity for meeting those goals. Several years ago, New York set a goal of deploying 850,000 zero-emission vehicles by 2025. Now, thanks to a big new incentive program, the Empire State is going to get ready to charge up all those electric vehicles.

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Topics: Advanced Transportation