Advanced Energy Perspectives

Top 10 Utility Regulation Trends of 2017

Posted by Coley Girouard

Dec 12, 2017 11:45:00 AM

Back in July, Advanced Energy Economy published a list of the top utility regulation trends of 2017 – so far. With 2017 almost in the rearview mirror, we check in on the top public utility commission actions of the year. Not surprisingly, the challenges PUCs are grappling with are wide-ranging and diverse: utility business model reforms, distribution system planning, grid modernization, rate design changes, large investments in renewables, transportation electrification, energy storage, wholesale market changes, and data access, to name a few. Here is a roundup of the top 10 matters before PUCs in 2017.

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Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, Year in Review, utility, regulation

Value-Added Electricity Services: Getting Utility and Third-Party Roles Right

Posted by Ryan Katofsky and Danny Waggoner

Dec 4, 2017 12:30:00 PM

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The digital revolution, which has transformed so many other industries, is now taking hold in the electric power sector. This is happening at the same time as increasing deployment of distributed energy resources (DER), including energy efficiency, demand management, distributed generation, energy storage, and electric vehicles. New technologies, the use of “big data,” apps, and the “grid of things” are leading to a greater variety of services and interactions between utilities, customers and third parties (non-utility companies that offer energy products and services).

One way to slice and dice this increasingly complex marketplace is whether services are considered “basic” or “value-added.” This is the subject of a new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Value-Added Electricity Services: New Roles for Utilities and Third-Party Providers, in which AEE was the author of one of three perspectives on emerging roles for utilities and third parties in providing value-added services.

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Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, utility, regulation

Can Energy Efficiency Resources Be Unfairly Excluded from Wholesale Electricity Markets? AEE Says ‘No’

Posted by Maria Robinson

Nov 29, 2017 2:00:00 PM

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AEE has seen efforts to roll back energy efficiency requirements before, from the ongoing struggle to maintain Ohio’s successful efficiency standards in the face of legislative attacks and attempts to let big companies opt out of energy efficiency programs in Pennsylvania to the Trump Administration’s suspension of EE rules for central air conditioning. But this year, we saw something new: an attack on energy efficiency in the wholesale markets. As with other challenges to this money-saving advanced energy technology, AEE has taken it on. 

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Topics: Federal Policy Update, regulation

The State of Advanced Metering Infrastructure and Time-Varying Rates, in Three Maps and One Graph. The Leaders – and Laggards – May Surprise You.

Posted by Coley Girouard

Nov 22, 2017 11:06:00 AM

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its final 2016 data files (EIA-861), detailing valuable information such as sales, revenues, and utility data for the electricity industry. At AEE, we’ve been digging in. Two of the key trends we have been tracking this year, and that we analyzed first, are advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and time varying rates (TVR), by state. Which are the leaders in smart meters and smart rates? Not who you think.

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Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, utility, regulation

FERC Should Just Say ‘No’ to Bailout Without Benefit for Costly, Uncompetitive Power Plants, at Consumer Expense

Posted by Bob Keough

Oct 27, 2017 11:23:50 AM

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When the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s long-awaited staff report on grid reliability came out in August, a lot of observers didn’t know what to make of it. In the long run-up to the report’s release, we at AEE had worked with our fellow industry groups AWEA, SEIA, and ACORE to challenge the premise of the study as ordered by Secretary Rick Perry, which was that the electric power system was in jeopardy due to the “premature” retirement of baseload power plants – namely coal and nuclear. When the report came out, it largely vindicated our view that cheap natural gas and slow load growth, not renewable energy policies, were forcing uneconomic power plants out of business, and that the changing mix of resources was being managed reliably by grid operators.

This led some observers to call the report a “rorschach test,” allowing anyone to read into it anything they’d like, or even a “nothingburger” (check out the URL to this analysiss). But we at AEE saw in it just enough grounds for proposing out-of-market financial supports for these uncompetitive power plants that would turn electricity markets upside down – and our CEO Graham Richards said so, in a statement picked up by The New York Times. Lo and behold, on Sept. 30 DOE submitted a proposed rule to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) doing just that, and on an accelerated timeline. Since then, a broad-based coalition of industry groups – call them “strange bedfellows” – has been fighting back against this wrongheaded, costly, and unnecessary bailout of failing power plants.

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Topics: Federal Policy Update, regulation

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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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