The prospect of large grid modernization investment triggers a key question – is it worth it? As different states consider upfront investments in modernizing the grid, regulators need ways to ensure utilities maximize the potential benefits of grid modernization. This white paper provides program design considerations and metrics that can guide utility investment and increase the chances that customers get the most out of grid modernization efforts. A version of the paper was also published in Electricity Policy, and can be found here.
Electric Power Sector: System Optimization
An abundance of new technologies are now available to produce cleaner, cheaper electricity. But in order to take advantage of them, system operators must build a flexible electricity grid. This paper reviews the types of resources that can deliver grid flexibility and provides case studies and recommendations for how to incorporate flexibility into grid systems.
This report identifies objectives for demand response, explains the challenges in addressing them, and makes recommendations to policymakers, practitioners, and stakeholders. These include: expanding the understanding of demand response’s dual role as a supply resources and load reduction, increasing retail-wholesale coordination, improving planning, optimizing rates, valuing location, and improving verification.
This report is an update to a 2014 analysis that shows how grid managers can address the so-called “duck curve” caused by high penetrations of solar and wind power. A “flying duck” refers to shifting the late-afternoon and morning peaks to decrease the need for fast-ramping resources. The report outlines 10 strategies, including demand response, storage, time-variant rates, and retiring inflexible generators with high minimum run requirements.
This report uses California utilities’ Distributed Resource Plans as case studies to assert that current utility planning processes are leaving billions in potential benefits from distributed energy resources (DERs) on the table, and ought to be updated. It highlights regulatory models, utility incentives, and inadequate modeling of benefits as culprits for inefficient DER integration.
The 3rd Annual Grid Modernization Index ranks and assesses all 50 states and Washingto, D.C. based upon the degree to which they have moved toward a modernized electric “Grid of the Future.” The Index measures states on a wide range of grid modernization policies, investments, and activities including state support, customer engagement, and grid operations.
Future Opportunities and Challenges with Using Demand Response as a Resource in Distribution System Operation and Planning Activities
This report surveys the technical opportunities and barriers to greater use of demand response to manage the distribution system. It suggests that regulators and policymakers consider directing utilities to take a more integrated approach to distribution system planning to assess the least-cost solutionsfor reliably and safely operating the grid of the future.
This handbook intends to help distribution engineers understand and navigate the challengees of integrating high penetrations of photovoltaic (PV) generation into their service territories. The report describes the potential impacts, provides model-based analytics, and suggests potential mitigation measures.
This report lays out a roadmap to guide a transition to a 100 percent renewable electricity system. It focuses on the need to improve market operations and develop ways of valuing flexibility in the medium and long term to balance variable renewable generation. Ecofys synthesizes many reports and studies on flexibility, pulling from the work in California’s Low Carbon Grid Study, NREL’s Renewable Electricity Futures study, REN21 reports, and others.
This report examines the evolving nature of system capacity in an era of abundant renewable energy, addressing timely topics such as how individual resources can contribute to system capacity, how increasing supply variability and distributed resources disrupt traditional wholesale markets and retail rate structures, and how to think about the cost of capacity dynamically. The report provides extensive examples of how to increase the flexibility of the electricity system by reforming wholesale markets and retail rates.