Press Archive

Time for electricity markets to catch up

This article responds to Pilita Clark’s recent Financial Times article, “Solar and wind could end up victims of their own success,” in which she argues that increasing zero-marginal cost renewables on the grid threatens electricity market revenue. Sonia Aggarwal responds that this is only the case because electricity market operations are out-of-date, and ought to be updated to take advantage of new opportunities like renewables.

The Western US Needs Better Regional Planning to Modernize the Grid

In order to develop a dynamic bulk electric grid, system planning and operation — as well as how entities are compensated for the energy, power, ancillary services, and emissions reductions — must evolve together.

A new business model for the electricity sector

The electricity sector is already in the midst of profound change, with new technological and market forces challenging utilities’ business models. These technology developments will help de-carbonize the utility sector at a very low cost, and at the same time increase reliability — but only if utilities rethink their business model, which in turn requires that states’ utility regulations are reformed.

Distribution Optimization: Ready for Takeoff (part 2)

Today’s distribution system faces some similar market conditions to those decades ago. Rising utility costs and falling sales due to the emergence of distributed energy resources (DERs) have led to rising retail rates, falling revenues, and cries of a new “death spiral”. DERs can provide services more cost-effectively than traditional utility assets, but their adoption has met resistance from many utilities.

Imagining a Fresh Start for the Power Grid

In early 2015, the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) announced its 51st State Challenge, which called for energy experts to submit proposals for how energy markets could be created in a 51st state with no preexisting regulations or market structure. This article discusses several of the crosscutting themes and insights from the Challenge’s top three proposals.

Energy access for Africa: How renewables are changing the landscape

Electricity, no matter where it comes from or how it is produced, is fundamental to life in the 21st century. Access to electricity provides us with life’s most basic necessities. Yet much of the world remains in the dark. One of the world’s regions left furthest behind during this electricity evolution is Sub-Saharan Africa.

Should Utilities Own Distributed Battery Storage?

Price declines in residential solar and battery systems like Tesla’s Powerwall mean solar-plus-battery systems will soon be found in homes and businesses at the grid’s edge around the country. But what role will utilities play in the fast-approaching storage shift?

America’s Power Plan: The top 5 trends in the US energy transformation

America’s power sector is undergoing a dramatic transformation, challenging regulators to make sure policy keeps up with technological innovation, often leaving utilities in a tumultuous position – but a new set of policies can put us on the path toward a cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable future.

The Good News About Higher California Carbon Prices

Are higher carbon prices a good thing? The answer could be yes. On May 21, California completed its eleventh carbon allowance auction, the third joint auction with Quebec, which has linked its cap-and-trade program with California’s.

US Commercial Solar Sector has Lagged, but Now Looks Cleared for Takeoff

The commercial and industrial solar power sector has not yet taken flight in the same way that residential and utility-scale solar has in recent years. But to many in the solar industry, that just screams opportunity.

Distribution Optimization: Ready for Takeoff (part 1)

The time has come to optimize the grid. And the need is particularly acute at the edge of system – on the distribution side of the grid. But grid operators have yet to capitalize on the value of optimization because regulations and power markets have fallen behind the technology.

Driving Blind: The Worst Examples of Outdated Data Skewing Renewable Energy Projections

Policymakers rely heavily on quantitative analysis to understand how to manage rapid changes in the power sector, and quantitative analysis (particularly forward-looking projections) relies heavily on underlying assumptions. The quality and breadth of these assumptions are crucial to good decisions.

Why utilities should push for performance-based regulation

In the past, consistent load growth meant steady capital expenditures and stable returns on equity for utility shareholders. But today, the trends traditionally driving consistent load growth are being disrupted by rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and changing consumer preferences.

What Does the Data Say About Cities for People? [INFOGRAPHICS]

Energy Innovation reviewed the scientific literature on low-carbon cities and sustainable urban development. Our conclusion: compact, walkable, and transit-oriented development creates sustainable, healthy, and economically vibrant cities that deliver a high quality of life to residents.

Transportation, Buildings Hold Key to Calif. Climate Goals

California has adopted a new climate target that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, partly by expanding the use of renewables. But the expansion of clean energy in California isn’t meaningful without an emphasis on the energy efficiency of buildings, electrifying vehicles across the transportation system, and optimizing the power grid to handle renewables.

7 Opportunities for Green Buildings in China, According to Developers

China’s low-carbon future depends on green buildings. With nearly 2 billion square meters of new floor space added each year, China’s building sector offers tremendous opportunities for the country to move toward a cleaner economy.

California Is Cutting Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 40%; Here’s How The State Can Get There

Gov. Jerry Brown’s new target for curbing California’s greenhouse gas emissions is the most aggressive mandate in the country. But achieving that standard will be difficult unless other states also ramp up their efforts regarding renewable energy, clean transportation, and energy efficiency.

China Government Study Sees 86% Renewables by 2050

Last week, representatives from China’s national Energy Research Institute, the State Grid Energy Research Institute, and others released a new study envisioning a nation powered by 57% renewables in 2030, growing to 86% renewables by 2050, all at the same time as China’s economy grows sevenfold.

BREAKING: California Issues Unprecedented North American Climate Goal

California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order to reduce California GHGs by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The state’s two-year-old cap-and-trade program and other climate-friendly policies have already set California GHG emissions on a downward course.

Do Pay-for-Performance Capacity Markets Deliver the Grid Resiliency Outcomes We Need?

Several market operators have instituted capacity markets to bridge the gap between revenue available from energy markets and the all-in cost of desired capacity. But will they deliver the outcomes needed for the energy system transition?