Debunking Four Myths About The Clean Energy Transition

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The grid will require a substantial transformation as more renewable sources come online. Some critics argue technological, financial, and institutional barriers will prevent significant decarbonization of the power sector, but four common clean energy myths are easily debunked by facts and real-world experiences showing the feasibility of a low-carbon energy future.

Avoiding Counterfactuals in Performance Incentive Mechanisms: California as a Case Study

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This white paper is the first in our Incentive Mechanism Design series, which offers perspective on how regulators might decide to design performance incentive mechanisms for success. The paper examines California’s Risk-Reward Incentive Mechanism (RRIM) as a case study to show that, while counterfactuals may be appropriate as an adjustment mechanism, they can also lead to unfair outcomes and unnecessary regulatory conflict.

Metrics for Energy Efficiency: Options and Adjustment Mechanisms

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This white paper is the first in our Incentive Mechanism Design series, which offers perspective on how regulators might decide to design performance incentive mechanisms for success. The paper explores different approaches to simplify the measurement of energy efficiency savings to better align utility incentives with efficiency outcomes. These metrics can be helpful for many states where utility revenue is linked to energy efficiency, but their programs are bogged down in tedious and controversial evaluation, measurement, and verification requirements.

Designing a Performance Incentive Mechanism for Peak Load Reduction: A Straw Proposal

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This white paper is the first in our Incentive Mechanism Design, series, which offers perspective on how regulators might decide to design performance incentive mechanisms for success. The paper examines a straw proposal for a new performance incentive to motivate utilities to reduce peak demand–a driver of investment in the electricity system–improving the affordability and environmental performance of the electricity system.

Going Deep on Performance-Based Regulation

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Performance-based regulation shifts utility focus away from capital investment and sales volume, putting focus instead on delivering value for customers—in the form of an affordable, reliable, and clean power system. We have produced several papers and briefs that offer perspective on more of the details of performance-based regulation.

A customer-centric view of electricity service

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This chapter in Future of Utilities – Utilities of the Future explores the nature of the customer-grid interface from the point of view of the customer. Customers are reconsidering the compromises they make given their new options for distributed energy services. This chapter exposes the underlying nature of the transactions happening at the customer/grid interface. The chapter uses analogies from the commerce and finance world to describe the currency-like features of electricity, and proposes ways of integrating new transactions into a future “fractal” grid.

Grid Flexibility: Methods for Modernizing the Power Grid

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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.

Improving Performance in Publicly-Owned Utilities

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This paper presents case studies about performance management in publicly-owned utilities, drawing out concrete steps that can support municipal utilities, public utility districts, and cooperatives to adapt to changing technology and market trends. These steps – which involve taking “no regrets” actions, exploring evolutions in government, and considering more drastic action if performance lags – can enable POUs to deliver greater value to their customers.

Who Should Own and Operate Distributed Energy Resources?

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This paper, an addendum to An Adaptive Approach to System Optimization, presents a series of case studies on various ways to integrate cost-effective distributed technologies that have run into outdated regulatory models. It identifies strengths and weaknesses associated with utility-owned and operated DERs, third-party-operated DERs, and customer-operated DERs.

Moving Toward Value in Utility Compensation, Part 1 – Revenue & Profit

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This paper argues that the financial “value engine”—the difference between a utility’s return on investment and its cost of capital—drives shareholder returns. Regulators should use this value engine to align utilities’ financial motivations with delivering value to customers and society.