Why a Bandage Fix for Cost-Effectiveness Testing Isn’t Enough

Rip Off Band-Aid

This is a guest post by Adam Scheer (Recurve), Jake Millette and Olivia Patterson (Opinion Dynamics), and Julie Michals (E4TheFuture)

Driven by advancing technologies and by policies that are evolving to both mitigate and adapt to climate change, the energy industry is changing at a breakneck pace. On the demand side, our fundamental challenge is moving beyond siloed programs into scaled demand flexibility to achieve states’ priorities such as grid resilience, resource adequacy, and decarbonization, amidst increasing electrification. Critically, scaling distributed energy resources (DERs) to meet a host of policy goals will require that we leverage limited ratepayer dollars to cultivate as much energy efficiency (EE) and other DER investment as possible. The question is: are cost-effectiveness (CE) testing practices developed decades ago adequate to guide our industry investments today? In our experience, legacy CE practices are inhibiting both innovative program designs and commonsense best practices for putting ratepayer dollars to optimal use.

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Topics: Guest Post, 21st Century Electricity System, utility, Regulatory, Energy Efficiency

Big Businesses’ Appetite for Renewable Energy in Florida is Growing, and Solar is on the Menu

Posted by Gloria Li on Dec 17, 2019 4:15:00 PM

Florida Buyers solar-730

Florida is, in many ways, a state powered by sunshine. From the endless summer that attracts droves of tourists and drives the associated $67 billion tourism industry to the sun-loving crops that allow Florida to lead the Southeast in agriculture, Floridians have the ready availability of sunlight to thank for the state’s most prominent industries. Now, there is another way that the Sunshine State could capitalize on its solar resource – to feed its commercial and industrial powerhouses, producing jobs and investment along with energy that’s low-cost and clean. 

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Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, Regulatory, Advanced Energy Buyers Group

Top 10 Utility Regulation Trends of 2019 – So Far

Posted by Coley Girouard on Jul 18, 2019 4:15:10 PM

Top 10 Utility Regulation Trends of 2019 So Far-500

In January, we published a list of the top 10 utility regulation trends of 2018. With 2019 at around the halfway point, we check in on the top public utility commission (PUC) actions and trends so far this year. Ten prominent trends and actions stand out above the rest, from renewables increasingly dominating utility resource plans, to wildfires sparking utility safety and liability concerns in California, to transportation electrification investments becoming more widespread from coast to coast. Here is the full round-up of the top 10 matters before PUCs so far in 2019.

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Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, Regulatory

Standby and Buyback Rates Can Hurt the Economics of Distributed Generation. New York Just Took Action to Fix That.

Posted by Ryan Katofsky and Danny Waggoner on Jun 26, 2019 3:59:07 PM

NY standby rates order-500

Rate designs for distributed energy resources (DERs) remains a hot topic. States are taking different approaches, but some are better than others. Some states are making adjustments (typically reductions) to flat kilowatt-hour rates, such as net metering and buy-back rates, or adding/raising fixed charges that often focus exclusively on utility revenue without looking at DER from a total value perspective. DER can impose costs on the system, but it can also provide value, both to the utility and more broadly to the public, and rates and compensation should take both into account. In its continuing effort to comprehensively assess the value of DER and design rates accordingly, New York recently made some landmark adjustments that should provide fairer treatment for customers that have significant distributed generation facilities, such as combined heat and power (CHP) systems. The improved rate is also available as an option for all customers, including residential customers without DG, and is likely to be a good choice for customers with electric vehicles and certain types of DER.

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Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, Regulatory, Highlights

UK RIIO Sets Out to Demonstrate How a Performance-Based Regulatory Model Can Deliver Value

Posted by Coley Girouard on Jun 6, 2019 11:00:00 AM

RIIO case study-500

This case study, originally published by Utility Dive, is the final installment in a six-part series on utility business model reform produced by Rocky Mountain Institute, America's Power Plan, and Advanced Energy Economy Institute.

In the United States, the traditional utility business model has served us well for many years, but it is increasingly out of step with a new set of market conditions — aging infrastructure, advances in technology and flat-to-declining load growth driven by rising deployment of energy efficiency, demand response and other distributed energy resources. Traditional cost-of-service regulation favors utility capital investment in long-lived assets rather than rewarding utilities for their performance against desired policy objectives and it discourages utilities from taking advantage of the general shift in the economy to service-based solutions provided by third parties. A decade ago, the United Kingdom's Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, known as Ofgem, set out on a mission to develop a new regulatory framework that would reward utilities for innovation and for meeting the changing expectations of consumers and society. The culmination of that process was the development of a framework referred to as RIIO.

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Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, Regulatory, Utility Business Model Reform Case Studies