This page provides a list publications that have been written by or in collaboration with Energy Innovation staff. We provide a brief description of each entry to help you navigate to the publications that are of interest to you.
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Modeling of the Build Back Better Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act using the Energy Policy Simulator finds these bills would cut annual emissions 1,067 MMT to 1,510 MMT and reach 70 to 85 percent clean electricity by 2030. If a Clean Electricity Performance Program is not included, emissions reductions fall to just 854 to 1,059 MMT with 61 to 69 percent clean electricity by 2030.
An updated meta-analysis of 11 studies from universities, think tanks, and non-governmental organizations converge on the feasibility of achieving 80 percent clean electricity by 2030 in the United States, and is intended to help policymakers understand the benefits of a federal budgetary package that includes a Clean Energy Payment Program. This reliable clean energy future would generate up to 1 million net new jobs through 2030 and up to 317,000 avoided premature deaths through 2050.
A new meta-analysis of seven clean energy policy studies led by researchers at prominent universities, think tanks, and non-governmental organizations finds strong agreement on the feasibility of achieving approximately 80 percent clean electricity by 2030 in the United States, as well as the immense economic and health benefits of a rapid clean energy transition.
New research shows used electric vehicles in California are cheaper to own than comparable used gas-powered cars over an average ownership period, and are up to 40 percent cheaper when the maximum incentive under the state’s Clean Cars 4 All program is applied, paving the way for adoption by lower and middle-income consumers. The report also includes policy recommendations for accelerating electric vehicle adoption and creating good-paying jobs.
This research report examines the causes and consequences of the widespread Texas “Big Freeze” power outages, finding that ERCOT’s market design failed to prepare the state for such a crisis and to acceptably manage the crisis, and identifying lessons learned for policymakers in Texas and elsewhere to prevent future crises.
New modeling using the Colorado Energy Policy Simulator finds the state is off-track for its own climate goals with emissions likely to decrease just 18 percent by 2050. But strategic building, industry, and transportation sector policies would put Colorado on a 1.5° Celsius pathway, generate more than 36,000 job-years annually, and increase state GDP by $7.5 billion per year in 2050.
This analysis of U.S. coal plants found 72 percent of existing U.S. coal capacity and 80 percent of existing U.S. coal plants are either more costly to continue operating compared to building new nearby wind or solar plants or are slated to retire in the next four years. The report provides policy recommendations to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, cheaper grid and is accompanied by a dynamic visual interactive.
This report highlights the consensus among recent studies that a national clean electricity standard of 80 percent by 2030 would stimulate economic growth, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, protect public health, and promote environmental justice, without compromising electricity reliability and affordability.
New modeling uses the latest renewable energy and battery cost data to show achieving 80 percent clean electricity by 2030 is technologically and economically feasible without raising customer costs and would stimulate $1.5 trillion in investments and avoid 93,000 premature deaths by 2050.
New Energy Policy Simulator modeling shows a relatively small set of policies to achieve a 50 percent reduction in U.S. emissions by 2030 relative to 2005 levels could increase U.S. GDP by $570 billion per year in 2030 and by $920 billion in 2050 and create 3.2 million new job-years in 2030 and nearly 5 million new job-years in 2050, while avoiding more than 45,000 premature deaths and 1.3 million asthma attacks annually by 2050.
New research shows not only is it technologically feasible to electrify every new car and truck sold in the U.S. by 2035, it would also save consumers $2.7 trillion and support more than 2 million jobs, but these benefits will not be realized without smart policy.
Electrifying every new car and truck sold in the U.S. by 2035 would save consumers $2.7 trillion and create more than 2 million jobs by 2035, but these benefits will only be realized with greater policy ambition including strong national fuel economy and tailpipe emissions standards for all vehicle classes.
New modeling using the Nevada Energy Policy Simulator finds the state is off-track for its own climate goals with emissions likely to increase 12 percent by 2050. But strategic building, industry, and transportation sector policies would put Nevada on a 1.5° Celsius pathway, generate 5,500 job-years annually, and increase state GDP by $800 million per year in 2050.
Accelerated clean energy deployment and ambitious climate policies have created China’s carbon neutral opportunity for economic growth, a lower-cost electricity system, energy security, cleaner air and water, and more sustainable cities. Realizing these benefits hinges on policies including a well-designed price on carbon, clean energy standards, and green finance.
New modeling using the Minnesota Energy Policy Simulator finds a newly proposed clean energy standard would cut statewide emissions nearly 20 percent by 2050, but strategic policies in the building, industry, and transportation sectors would put Minnesota on a 1.5° pathway, generate 39,000 job-years, and increase state GDP by more than $11 billion per year.
This report uses the Energy Policy Simulator to model two illustrative scenarios showing that a ten year-delay implementing climate action putting the U.S. on a net zero path by 2050 increases the cost of decarbonization by nearly three quarters, showing why we must adopt strong carbon emissions reduction policies to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts.
New modeling using the Virginia Energy Policy Simulator finds the Virginia Clean Economy Act will cut statewide emissions nearly 35 percent by 2050, but strategic policies in the building, industry, and transportation sectors would put Virginia on a 1.5° pathway, generate 12,000 job-years and increase state GDP by more than $3.5 billion per year.
This issue brief compares new securitization legislation in Colorado, Montana, and New Mexico to refinance utility investments in early-retired electric generation plants.
This research brief outlines pathways to reaching 100% zero carbon power in the U.S. by 2035 without increasing customer costs.
This report summarizes proposed solutions from leading experts to address the primary barriers to increasing electric vehicle charging access for multi-unit dwellers in California to reduce emissions while also promoting equity.
Plummeting costs, as well as policy and technology developments, are making U.S. offshore wind a critical renewable energy resource. This research memo summarizes current and expected offshore wind developments and cost trends and recommends seven policies to help federal and state policymakers maximize its potential of offshore wind to achieve clean energygoals while strengthening the economy.
This first-of-its-kind report shows how a Southeast U.S. RTO/competitive wholesale electricity market would generate $384 billion in economic savings, create 285,000 clean energy jobs, and reduce electricity sector emissions 37 percent by 2040.
Policymakers and utility executives must rapidly focus on how to finance the transition away from uneconomic generation assets while creating earning potential for utility shareholders. This issue brief explores an emerging model for refinancing the 22.5 GW of existing coal plants that will be uneconomic compared to building new local solar in 2025, as of 2018.
This brief explores the role of resource adequacy in the clean energy transformation: How the clean power transformation challenges grid resource adequacy planning and management paradigms, how fossil fuel incumbents exploit resource adequacy challenges to electric grid reliability, and why changing perception about resource adequacy must be a top priority for climate mitigation.
Energy Policy Simulator modeling shows a subset of the policy recommendations issued by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will put the U.S. on pace for net zero carbon dioxide emissions before 2050, while generating nearly $8 trillion in monetized health and climate benefits.
Modeling of California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule shows it will generate more than $7 billion in savings through 2040, yielding tremendous public health benefits valued at $9 billion dollars. When using a battery cost closer to those observed for passenger vehicles, these savings rise to more than $12 billion through 2040.
New research shows plummeting renewable energy and storage prices mean the U.S. can reliably reach 90 percent clean electricity by 2035 at no extra cost, supporting 530,000 new jobs per year, and cutting economy-wide emissions 27 percent.
This report outlines policy recommendations for Congress, federal departments and agencies, national laboratories, governors and state legislators, public utility commissions, and wholesale electricity markets to reach 90 percent clean electricity by 2035 in the United States.
This research note compares Energy Policy Simulator outputs across three different GDP outlooks and finds that short-term emissions are dependent on the severity of COVID-19 impacts, with 2020 U.S. emissions reductions ranging from 7 to 11 percent relative to 2019. Emissions will likely approach pre-COVID-19 levels by 2025, and COVID-19 is not likely to have a material impact on annual emissions in 2030 or cumulative emissions through 2050.
When utilities procure generation through non-ideal processes biased against clean energy, they result in portfolios with higher consumer costs and carbon emissions. This report outlines how “all-source” procurement allows technologies to fairly compete to meet utility needs, reducing costs and emissions, with detailed case studies from recent utility procurement processes.
Achieving climate stabilization requires we fully decarbonize global industry, and reaching net zero industrial emissions by 2050–2070 is necessary to limit global warming to 2°C, as industry generated 33% of global anthropogenic emissions in 2014. This research paper outlines the technical measures and policies to boost technological deployment and make net zero industry a reality.
The rush to build more than 60 gigawatts of natural gas plants and pipelines risks tens of billions in investment and a trillion dollars in consumer costs by 2030. This report outlines these evolving risks for shareholders, lays out investor strategies to accelerate the clean energy transition, and shows how clean energy cuts utility investment risks from over-reliance on natural gas while providing new growth opportunities supporting decarbonization.
EI partnered with ACEEE to identify states using performance incentive mechanisms (PIMs) for strategic demand reduction (SDR).
New research using the California Energy Policy Simulator finds California climate policies risk overshooting the state’s 2030 goal by between 13-43 MMT CO2e, but six policy fixes can hit the goal and deliver $22 billion in benefits.
Hong Kong currently does not have a long-term decarbonization strategy or target beyond 2030, but must formulate a long-term decarbonization plan to conform with short- and medium-term actions. World Resources Institute and Civic Exchange collaborated with Energy Innovation to develop the Hong Kong Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) to provide technical support for developing Hong Kong’s 2050 deep decarbonization strategy. This technical note describes the structure, input data sources, outputs, limitations, future development, and online interface of the Hong Kong EPS.
At least 36 GW of uneconomic coal-fired capacity is forecast to be retired by 2024. These policy briefs highlight how to help utilities balance stakeholder interests, facilitate the financial transition away from uneconomic coal, and help states embrace clean energy.
Utilities can be regulated to address their monopsony market power so that competitive solicitations result in many bidders and low prices for generation projects, creating benefits for consumers and utility shareholders. This brief highlights lessons from Colorado’s experience leveling the playing field to ensure competitive bid results in the state are achievable as part of the financial transition away from uneconomic coal generation.
Energy Innovation’s net zero emissions by 2050 illustrative policy package helps put the United States on a pathway to achieve the Paris Agreement goals and abates more than 6 Gt of emissions a year by decarbonizing America’s industrial, transportation, electricity, and buildings sectors.
The Trump Administration’s proposed fuel economy standard rollback and emissions standards freeze will harm consumers and the environment. This research note finds the proposal would cost the U.S. economy up to $400 billion through 2050, increase U.S. emissions up to 10%, and gasoline use up to 7.6 billion barrels through 2035. It would also cost Canada up to $70 billion through 2050 and increase its emissions up to 11% by 2035.
Competitive wholesale electricity markets are at a turning point. These papers outline questions emerging about wholesale market reform and introduce two pathways for markets to evolve.
America has entered the “coal cost crossover” where existing coal is more expensive than cleaner alternatives. Today, local wind and solar could replace 74 percent of the U.S. coal fleet at an immediate savings to customers. By 2025, this number grows to 86 percent of the coal fleet.
This research paper explores energy transition impacts on competitive power markets, finding every U.S. organized power market except ERCOT is oversupplied due to seven oversupply drivers. Oversupply slows decarbonization, but market operators and load serving entities have options to responsibly manage the power system through this transition. The full version of this paper was published in the March 2019 issue of Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, and is available upon request. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40518-019-00123-6
By analyzing publicly available financial information, policymakers and utility stakeholders can identify where running existing fossil fuel generation costs more than replacing it with new wind or solar. A suite of financial instruments can facilitate and reduce costs of this financial transition away from fossil fuels toward clean energy. This brief uses Colorado’s experience transitioning from coal to clean energy as a case study analyzing existing generation costs, and introduces financial tools to help electric utilities that own fossil generation manage the clean energy transition.
Early retirement of uneconomic coal assets can improve shareholder earnings if a utility is allowed to reinvest capital in new renewable energy generation. When building new renewables is cheaper than operating existing coal, swapping steel for fuel adds value for investors, customers, and the environment. This brief addresses equity shareholder perspectives and suggests how potential funding sources can mitigate impacts on communities and workers affected by early plant retirements while improving environmental performance.
Depreciation accounting recognizes asset value reduction over time. For coal plants, depreciation determines the value remaining when plants retire early. Depreciation is an important tool for transitioning away from older assets, such as coal plants, to cheaper resources, such as wind and solar. This brief reviews how depreciation schedules affect utility earnings and ratepayer costs, as well as other stakeholder interests.
When electric utilities transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, they must address unrecovered investment balances. Depreciation schedules are often accelerated to line up with earlier-than-planned retirement dates, which can increase short term consumer rates. This brief reviews how utilities can refinance undepreciated balances on plants in service to lessen the consumer rate burden, primarily through replacing some portion of equity with corporate debt.
Navigating Utility Business Model Reform seeks to establish foundational elements of different reform options, poses key questions to explore their applicability, identifies illustrative experiences for ideas and concepts, and explores policy implementation options to help spur action. Navigating Utility Business Model…
Energy Innovation’s new book Designing Climate Solutions is the first policy manual for low-carbon energy and is the first book to identify the 10 policies, applied to the 20 highest-emitting countries, that can reduce emissions fast enough to stay below 2°C of global warming and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Cement manufacturing produces 5.6% of global CO2 emissions. This research finds that capturing 80% of cement’s process emissions (and no thermal emissions) by 2050 can make cement carbon-neutral, as natural carbonation offsets remaining emissions. If thermal fuel supply were fully decarbonized by 2050, a 53% process emissions capture rate achieves carbon-neutral cement. Higher capture rates than these would provide net negative CO2 emissions and the possibility that simply making concrete could reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
The Trump Administration has proposed directing funds to keep uneconomic coal and nuclear plants online. This research note assesses the $2 billion in subsidies that would be needed to keep the six plants owned by FirstEnergy in the Ohio Valley in operation, and finds the funds would be better spent supporting economic transition for the power plant communities and displaced workers.
UPDATE: We updated this analysis in August 2019 to incorporate newer data and assumptions in a new research note. The Trump Administration’s proposed fuel economy standard rollback and revocation of California’s ability to set vehicle emissions standards will harm consumers and the environment. This research note finds the proposal would cost the U.S. economy up to $457 billion through 2050, while increasing U.S. emissions up to 11% and gasoline use 20% through 2035.
This research paper outlines how competitive electricity markets are undergoing a rapid transformation from systems with large, inﬂexible baseload resources to ones with smaller, modular, variable resources. Enabling a smooth transition requires making the grid more ﬂexible, and a signiﬁcant amount of unused ﬂexibility exists in the system, but harnessing it requires market rule changes.
This research paper reviews what it would take to achieve energy system decarbonization, including parts of the energy system that are particularly difficult to decarbonize including aviation, long-distance transport, steel and cement production, and provision of a reliable electricity supply. The full version of this paper was published in the June 2018 issue of Science http://science.sciencemag.org/node/711939.full
Carbon pricing is increasingly used to reduce carbon emissions through carbon taxes and cap-and-trade programs, and the most important new development in carbon pricing is China’s national carbon market. This research note discusses how California’s “consignment auctioning” approach to allowance distribution provides an option for Chinese policymakers to introduce auctioning while cushioning economic effects on covered entities through free allocation.
“Emerald Cities: Planning for Smart and Green China” is the first comprehensive manual detailing how to build a sustainable city from the ground up in China, laying out green building and urban sustainability practices for low-carbon city planning and construction in China and abroad. The manual proposes 10 principles to help set a new development direction for Chinese cities and aims to establish green, healthy and economic vibrant cities, while solving pollution and livability challenges faced by China’s cities. The manual is available for free download in English and in Chinese.
Canada’s government has proposed the ambitious Pan-Canadian Framework (PCF) policies to help achieve its emissions reduction goals. The Canada Energy Policy Simulator was created to evaluate the PCF, and this report finds that even if the PCF is fully implemented, Canada’s 2030 emissions will miss its goal by 161 million metric tons (MMT), a gap 3.7 times larger than the government’s 44 MMT predicted shortfall. Extending and strengthening PCF policies would allow Canada to come much closer to its target, save money, and save human lives.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s proposal to raise the federal fuel user fee (gas tax) $0.25 per gallon has driven debate over U.S. transportation funding. This research note finds the proposal would generate $1.1 trillion in federal government revenue by 2050 and cost U.S. drivers $40 billion per year by 2025. It would also increase annual EV sales by 210,000 per year and add 2.5 million total additional EVs to U.S. roads while reducing annual fuel consumption 30-38 million barrels and cutting total fuel use more than 1.3 billion barrels, both by 2050, and would equal a national carbon tax of $29 per ton.
New data show that carbon emission allowance oversupply has grown in the Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade program linking California, Ontario, and Quebec. Left unaddressed, this oversupply is estimated to reach 270 million metric tons by 2020, resulting in higher than intended emissions. This report details how a straightforward lowering of future caps to counter early oversupply solves the problem.
Utilities should consider two business models when considering their role as distribution system operators (DSO). In the first, the utility would represent a DSO and run the centralized system, with full visibility into available resources for real-time load balancing and responsibility for construction and maintenance, and be compensated on meeting policy goals. In the second, the utility owns the system, reveals its needs, with a separate DSO entity meeting those needs and integrating all assets including DERs.
DOE’s cost-recovery proposal would roil U.S. wholesale power markets to keep uneconomic coal and nuclear generation operating. This report finds DOE’s proposal could cost customers up to $10.6 billion per year, with up to $7.3 billion borne by customers in PJM Interconnection. More than 80% of the coal generation subsidy would go to just five companies and nearly 90% of the nuclear generation subsidy costs would go to just five companies.
America’s electricity market operators are increasingly looking for ways to make their systems more flexible as more renewables, flexible demand resources, and energy storage come online. This report outlines which types of flexibility are needed for grid reliability, offers advice on how markets can ensure sufficient flexibility, and will help identify ways to manage the grid with a rapidly evolving mix of resources.
On the one hand, utilities need to collect and convey data about where value lies on their distribution systems – focusing on integrated distribution planning as a means to get the most out of DERs and grid modernization investments. As…
A presentation on the future of U.S. wholesale markets, three potential outcome, and related implications for retail power markets from Energy Innovation Vice President Sonia Aggawal.
New modeling using the Energy Policy Simulator forecasts electric vehicle sales will make up 65% of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2050, and could reach up to 75% by 2050 in the event of high oil prices or strong technology cost declines. The modeling includes expected market share expansion and penetration levels, the effects of internal factors like battery prices, external factors like oil prices and government policy support, and related national electricity demand.
Restructured wholesale electricity markets serve stakeholders by providing three principal services: economically efficient real-time dispatch, incentives for resource adequacy and long-term cost recovery. Because at least two of these functions happened dynamically through market forces, future scenarios for clean, affordable…
A court decision to vacate EPA’s rule to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) could cost at least 3.6 billion metric tons avoided emissions through 2050 and limits U.S. options to fully implement the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which could cut cumulative U.S. emissions by 9.5 billion metric tons. This research note report analyzes potential impacts of the court decision, as well as alternatives for the U.S. to fully implement the Kigali Amendment.
This series of reports offers national-level policy recommendations that are aimed at improving energy efficiency. Since 2010, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has published reports in this series that focus on building energy codes, effective city planning, transportation sector fuel…
For the first time last year, a portion of the current vintage allowances offered in one of the California-Quebec cap-and-trade program’s quarterly auctions went unsold. This report provides a quantitative analysis of the supply and demand for carbon allowances in the linked California-Quebec cap-and-trade program to help discern the role that temporary or systemic oversupply may be playing.
The Northeastern U.S. is simultaneously home to the most ambitious regional renewable energy goals and the most constrained lands in the U.S. This paper builds upon past work on siting policy to examine siting solutions tailored to meeting renewable energy demand in a land-constrained region. Along with creative new approaches to renewables siting, the paper examines four approaches to reduce the need for land-intensive utility-scale renewables.
Every utility regulatory model has embedded incentives. This list is intended to help state policymakers and other stakeholders pinpoint questions they can ask and answer to explore how incentives from cost of service regulation and performance regulation relate to today’s power system goals.
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.
Paris marked an unprecedented political commitment to reduce the threat of climate change. Marrakesh is the moment to move from what we must do to how we will do it. This collection of resources includes reports on how to design and implement policies to meet the world’s climate goals, as well as design guides for four of the world’s top energy policies: 1) carbon pricing, 2) vehicle performance standards, 3) vehicle and fuel fees and feebates, and 4) urban mobility policies. More of these policy-specific guides are coming soon.
How can Mexico achieve its climate targets and work toward the Paris Agreement goals? This working paper addresses this question by identifying and evaluating the key climate and energy policy options available to Mexico to support the implementation of its INDC. The analysis shows that Mexico can meet its unconditional and conditional targets while at the same time saving money and lives.
Urban Sustainability Planning for Mexico City offers recommendations for the City’s new Urban Development General Plan. Energy Innovation joined the government of Mexico City, colleagues from the Mario Molina Center for Energy and the Environment, and other Mexico City-based experts for this project, which draws on the framework developed in 12 Green Guidelines.
This report provides insight into which climate and energy policies can most cost-effectively drive down China’s emissions. The report’s recommendations are based on results from the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS), which assesses the combined effects of 35 climate, energy, and environmental policies on a variety of metrics.
This paper synthesizes the reasons for California’s successful climate policy. It considers the relative strengths and weaknesses of different types of policy, concluding that performance standards have led in reducing statewide emissions. Market failures beyond the lack of a price on carbon mean the best policy approach combines the three types of policy: performance standards, economic signals, and research and development (R&D).
This paper explores which regulatory models align utility profit with societal value under scenarios in which traditional, utility-owned solutions may not be optimal for customers. The cases in this paper offer insight into whether and how cost-of-service regulation and its alternatives (performance incentive mechanisms and revenue caps) can align utility shareholder values with societal values.
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.
New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) released a new order as part of its Reforming the Energy Vision, which includes ambitious language on performance-based compensation and improved rate design. Specifically, the NYPSC adopts an outcome-based approach to measuring performance, focusing on peak demand reduction and energy efficiency as key metrics to tie to revenue in the short term.
This review offers a comprehensive meta-analysis of utility programs and industry research on time-based and demand charge rates. The research identifies key design decisions and their effect on outcomes such as peak reduction, total load reduction, and customer acceptance. The review provides detailed and broad empirical evidence to guide conversations as different regulators consider changes to net energy metering or other peak reduction programs.
This study highlights some of the challenges and opportunities for the distributed solar PV (DPV) market arising from recent rate reform efforts, particularly demand charges and fixed charges. For example, it finds that immediate elimination of net energy metering (NEM) in all states could reduce residential DPV deployment 30 percent by 2050, while universal availability of NEM would increase residential deployment by roughtly 40 percent.
The climate problem is enormous: It threatens much of modern civilization, and its principal source, in burning hydrocarbons, is embedded in most of the modern economy. But a handful of insights, grounded in careful math, can clarify the situation, and point out a straightforward path to a reasonable climate future. This paper cuts through the clutter, and points to a reasonable, cost-effective solution to climate change, with clear steps to get there.
Given the momentum toward performance-based regulation across the country, these briefs provide perspective on how regulators might decide to design performance incentive mechanisms for success.
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.
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.
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.
This year’s annual report on Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) highlights these state-level targets are continuing to drive the majority (60 percent) of new renewable energy generation in the U.S. Compliance with these targets remains high (95 percent), while cost premiums in 2014 only resulted in an average 1.3 percent increase in customer bills.
This issue brief examines the potential benefits of expanding CAISO’s footprint to include other Western balancing areas through the lens of improved economics, renewable power integration, and conventional power plant retirements. The report is consistent with recommendations for policymakers articulated in Planning for and Investing in Wires. The report, summarized here also makes the case against a capacity market for a Western RTO recognizing, as Texas did, that it can be a lifeline to inefficient, old, uneconomical plants.
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 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.
This report provides survey results on the future of the electric utility, according to over 400 U.S. electric utility executives. Responses indicate that the industry’s most pressing challenges are an aging workforce and infrastructure, while they find the biggest growth opportunities in distributed energy resources, customer relationships, and transmission. Additionally, utilities plan to transition away from vertically-integrated models and toward distributed, service-based models. This SlideShare presentation highlights key findings from the survey.
Advanced Energy Economy’s new encyclopedia of advanced energy technologies surveys more than 50 advanced energy technologies that work to make the grid more reliable, cheap, and clean. This includes “technologies for electricity generation, electricity delivery and management, building efficiency, water efficiency, transportation, and fuel production and delivery.”
This policy toolbox is designed to improve distributed solar PV access for low-income customers. It identifies four principle barriers to low-income participation—cost, physical barriers, housing conditions, and market forces—and identifies dozens of solutions that address these barriers. Examples include on-bill financing, community/shared solar, green banks, and federal best practice networks. The report includes case studies from California, New York, Colorado, D.C., and Massachusetts, which have put these principles and recommendations into successful action.
This data analysis finds that over America’s clean energy sector now employs more than 2.5 million people. The majority of these jobs come from energy efficiency (1.9 million), and a significant portion come from solar (300,000) and wind (77,000). The solar industry in particular has experienced a 20 percent job growth rate for three years in a row, and is estimated to add 220,000 new jobs in coming years due to the Investment Tax Credit’s extension alone.
This paper offers a set of recommendations for enabling demand response in order to fully participate in Europe’s wholesale markets. In the short term, it recommends electricity prices should begin to reflect time-varying value of energy, and wholesale markets should establish a right for demand response to participate. In the long term, policymakers should mandate time-varying pricing for all customers; adopt codes and standards encouraging smart appliances, EVs, and in-home automation; reform utility business models to encourage demand response; and improve local value signals via integrated distribution system planning.
This factbook provides data-driven insight into a variety of industries that are contributing to the United States’ transition to a low-carbon economy. It provides a ‘birds-eye view’ of the entire U.S. energy sector, then breaks out subsequent chapters to cover energy-related topics in specific economic sectors. It concludes with cross-sectoral themes recent events and conditions in the U.S. and globally.
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 offers perspective from five leading utilities on the challenges and opportunities for planning around distributed energy resources (DERs). It points out how existing distribution planning is insufficient to take advantage of the value of DERs, and suggests an iterative approach to improve planning. One major change will be incorporating incentive-based DER deployment into planning via new modeling approaches that can capture the complexity of a two-way distribution system.
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.
This study investigates how California’s electric sector can help achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Modeling results from Phase I of the study reveal that the state can reduce emissions by more than 50 percent below 2012 levels with minimal rate impact, minimal renewables curtailment, and at not cost to reliability. Phase II adds new insight, adding detailed flexibility analyses and examining the effects of drought and different resource mixes on the grid.
This factsheet outlines the financial options for meeting the COP21 agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or below, finding that global investment in new renewable electric power generation will need to reach $12.1 trillion in the next 25 years. Assuming “business-as-usual” will bring in $6.9 trillion in renewables investment, this leaves a “gap” of $5.2 trillion that must be additionally invested to reach the 2 degree target.
This report retrospectively examines the costs, benefits, and other impacts of all state renewable portfolio standards (RPS). The study finds that meeting RPS compliance reduces greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter), and water use. These reductions equate to $7.4 billion in benefits. Other economic impacts include jobs growth and price reductions for wholesale electricity and natural gas.
This white paper recommends that modeling done by transmission planners and other stakeholders meet four minimum standards to “conduct effective modeling of the CPP”: (1) stakeholder engagement and transparency, (2) study methodology and interactions between studyies, (3) study inputs, sensitivities, and probabilistic analysis, and (4) tools and techniques. The standards will help avoid studies that produce unfounded reliability and cost findings.
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.
This report explores key elements and variations of performance-based regulation and its advantages and disadvantages from the perspectives of utilities and customers. A unique feature of the report is its treatment of comprehensive, performance-based approaches to regulation in the context of a potential future with a high reliance on energy efficiency, peak load management, distributed generation, and storage.
This report explores the costs, benefits, and other impacts of state renewable porftolio standards (RPS). It finds that RPS programs reduced customer bills by $0-1.2 billion in 2013. Other impacts include monetary and societal impacts, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution emissions, and water use; gross jobs and economic development; and wholesale electricity and natural gas prices.
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 report provides an update on the companies and governments that have committed to renewable electricity targets, and what is driving their decision to make these ambitious commitments. It assesses and analyzes a suite of policy and technology options to expand corporate and government use of renewable energy.
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 study finds the total national technical potential of rooftop solar PV equates to 39 percent of total national electric sector sales, nearly doubling previous estimates. Because the results are estimates of technical potential, they do not consider what would be required to integrate all the potential PV-generated energy into the power system. In practice, the integration of a significant quantity of rooftop PV into the national portfolio of generation capacity would require a flexible grid, supporting infrastructure, and a suite of enabling technologies.
Even the most well-intentioned energy policies will not meet their desired goals if they aren’t designed and implemented correctly. A handful of design principles, when properly applied, make for highly effective policies. This paper, an update from the original “Policies That Work” report, describes how to determine the right goals, choose the right policy approaches, and design and implement the specific policies to meet these goals.
Negotiations by the world leaders at the COP21 summit should be guided by California’s experience. This paper describes how performance standards and carbon pricing mechanisms have helped the state reduce emissions and increase renewable energy while creating economic growth, putting the state well on its way to achieving its emissions goals.
Over the past several years, the world has witnessed an upward trend in climate and clean energy investment. This has helped drive down costs of innovative low-carbon technologies, which has enabled their incredible market growth. In many situations, renewable energy sources, such as wind and utility-scale solar, are now cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources. The following factsheet highlights the most current data on global investment in low-carbon technologies.
This article discusses the possible outcomes of the Supreme Court’s ruling on FERC Order 745. The authors acknowledge the importance of finding the true value of demand response, but argue that too much emphasis has been places on finding this precise value without sufficient evidence about how demand response providers will respond to price signals.
This report offers a roadmap for moving beyond 33 percent renewables, as required by SB 350, passed this year. While there are no clear signals that would suggest significant management issues with higher penetrations of renewables, the CPUC does recognize the growing need for ramping, handling over-generation, and additional ancillary services.
California can accomplish its goal of reducing carbon emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 with proper attention to smart growth. By emphasizing better land use patterns, and supporting better transit and more walkable neighborhoods, carbon reductions of this magnitude are not just technically feasible, but would also save billions of dollars on infrastructure, fuel, and health costs while empowering economic growth and helping counter income inequality.
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.
CDBC’s Green and Smart Urban Development Guidelines highlight the key design features that make for a healthy, prosperous, and vibrant city. Energy Innovation, in partnership with China Development Bank Capital (CDBC) and Energy Foundation, developed these guidelines to provide a foundation for sustainable urban growth in China.
This report details the falling costs and growing installations of clean energy. The cost of wind fell by 40 percent between 2008 and 2014, while solar costs fell by 60 percent, and LEDs by almost 90 percent. The price declines drove a great deal of new installations across all technologies.
This report discusses how distributed energy resources will affect industry structure in the future. Kihm concludes that larger investor-owned utilities may tend to work more with private third-party service providers by becoming smart integrators, while smaller utilities may actually expand their offerings to customers by becomning energy service utilities.
This analysis compares the levelized cost of energy, as well as a handful of other cost metrics, for various energy technologies. It finds that the cost of solar and wind have continued to drop in price, making them cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies in some circumstances.
12 Green Guidelines lays out a dozen key features that constitute sustainable cities. These guidelines fall into three key categories: urban form, transportation, and energy and resources. These guidelines are beneficial, measurable, and practical, and they concisely describe the foundations of sustainable urban development. This report defines each of these guidelines; provides a rationale; explains the key economic, environmental, and social benefits; provides a brief case study; and lists key best practices for optimal implementation.
Six Smart Guidelines highlights a series of smart technologies that cities can use to improve livability and comfort, as well as advance sustainable urban development. When done in addition to the 12 Green Guidelines, smart technologies can capture additional economic, environmental, and social benefits. The Smart Guidelines fall into six key categories: smart telecommunications, smart mobility, smart energy management, smart governance, smart public services, and smart safety.
The Pearl District in Portland, Oregon is a model for why CDBC’s Green and Smart Urban Development Guidelines are key to economically prosperous and sustainable urban development. The Pearl District is a world-renowned urban redevelopment project. This case study reveals the regulatory, technical, and financial elements that bolster the guidelines.
This case study provides a comprehensive look at the sustainable urban development process of Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm. The study is organized around each of the Green Guidelines and expands on the goals, processes, and mechanisms that made Hammarby Sjöstad a sustainable and economically prosperous urban development.
In October 2015, Energy Innovation launched Energy Policy Solutions, an assessment of climate and energy policies to help meet decarbonization goals. We created a computer model, the Energy Policy Simulator, to quantitatively measure the cost and emissions impacts of more than 50 policies across all economic sectors. This page summarizes key findings from our model analysis, including recommended policy packages for meeting the U.S. 2025 emissions target and the Clean Power Plan target.
Energy Innovation’s Policy Solutions, based on transparent data and objective analysis, provide a roadmap to a clean energy future for America. Policy Solutions is a coherent set of the most cost-effective set of 15 policies to achieve the United States’ emissions reductions goals, and save hundreds of billions of dollars between 2016 and 2030.
Discover the most effective policies to decarbonize America’s economy at the lowest cost. The Energy Policy Simulator was designed to empower decision makers to find the best course toward a low-carbon U.S. economy. The Energy Policy Simulator works in real-time to measure the cost and emissions impacts of more than 50 climate and energy policies.
Energy Innovation identified a cost-effective package of six policies that the U.S. could use to meet the Clean Power Plan at a national average scale. This scenario actually exceeds the emissions goals in later years, as policies designed to meet earlier targets continue to reap benefits in later years, and saves the U.S. more than $40 billion between 2016 and 2030.
It pays to adopt smart energy policy sooner rather than later. If policymakers wait just four years (until 2020) to take action and want to achieve the same emissions reductions by 2030, they risk nearly $400 billion in additional costs. Policy implementation should start early to take advantage of natural capital stock turnover and the increased productivity of an efficient system.
This study identifies 13 services that batteries can provide, dividing each by the beneficiary: customers, distribution utilities, and bulk-system operators. RMI recommends that regulators require distribution utilities to examine DERs including storage as alternatives to traditional infrastructure investments, and that battery and DER developers collaborate with utilities and regulators to help them understand what values distributed energy storage can provide.
This study quantifies the benefits of full operational integration between California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and Pacificorp, a utility that spans six Western states. The study finds that market consolidation could produce between $3.4 billion and $9.1 billion in shared cost reductions in the first 20 years through better grid management and efficiencies gained by planning for the resource needs of a single system.
Renewables are projected to be the largest single source of electricity growth over the next five years, according to this report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Falling costs and rapid adoption in Asia and other emerging economies are driving the trend, but the IEA calls for governments to reduce policy uncertainties that could slow further deployment of renewables.
This report covers planning, operations, market design, and oversight in the context of a high distributed energy resources future. The authors lay out a framework for thinking about these topics, as well as a set of steps that state regulators and policymakers could follow to get from today’s system to a future system served by a higher share of distributed resources.
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.
California can accomplish its goal of reducing carbon emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 with proper attention to Smart Growth. By emphasizing better land use patterns, and supporting better transit and more walkable neighborhoods, carbon reductions of this magnitude are not just technically feasible, but would also save billions of dollars on infrastructure, fuel, and health costs while empowering economic growth and helping counter income inequality.
This report shows an increasingly competitive utility-scale PV sector, with installed prices having declined significantly since 2007-2009, relatively modest O&M costs, solid performance with improving capacity factors, and record-low levelized PPA prices of under $50/MWh on average, making solar cheaper than existing generation in some regions.
This study demonstrates how location influences the carbon emissions benefits of renewable energy in different regions, and at different times of the day. The study incorporates the emissions intensity of the wholesale market as well as the resource potential in each state, and finds that solar subsidies are higher than the carbon benefits in the states examined, but wind subsidies are less than the carbon benefits in many regions. The study finds that energy efficiency is still the cheapest form of carbon reduction available in the electricity sector.
China’s power sector is undergoing major changes in order to meet ambitious goals for air quality, renewable energy, and carbon emissions. This paper from the Paulson Institute suggests market-oriented reforms that will help achieve the goals outlined in the government’s “Deepening Reform” policy document. Drawing on international experience and focusing on incentives to align the behavior of power sector firms, the authors recommend ways to boost deployment of renewables and improve energy efficiency.
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 document discusses the potential benefits, costs, and other economic impacts of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The analysis profiles the electric power sector and weighs the plan’s impacts on energy costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and the economy. The report also estimates climate benefits and human health co-benefits associated with the CPP. A supplementary document also analyzes potential regulatory impacts and provides further background on related laws and executive orders.
This page explains the Clean Power Plan and offers the group’s analysis of its impacts through fact sheets, reports, and technical comments on the draft plan. Topics of these resources include how the Clean Power Plan works, how much it will cost, discussion of misleading studies about the Clean Power Plan, and more.
Over the past 40 years, energy efficiency programs in California have saved residents nearly $90 billion on their energy bills. In this report, the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that California is ahead of schedule to reach its 2020 goal of saving 32,000 gigawatt-hours through efficiency measures. NRDC also makes recommendations for how state agencies, decision makers, and stakeholders can make further progress on energy efficiency in California.
This report looks at how utilities are readying their strategies to manage new technology and a shifting regulatory construct.The questionnaire was completed by 435 participants, 67% of which were utilities. Much of the survey revolves around the growth of distributed generation (DG), with more that half of respondents believing that six to ten percent of all U.S. power generation will come from DG by 2020. Eighty percent of respondents believe that DG, particularly solar PV, represents a threat to their business, and almost two-thirds expect the impacts to be significant.
These annual reports describes historical trends of the installed price of grid-connected PV systems in the United States for residential, commercial, and utility-scale PV systems. These trends demonstrate price fluctuations based on type, regional location, and scale of the PV system installation. The reports conclude with a discussion of government implications and actions to continue driving down PV installed prices.
DOE’s annual report provides an overview of developments and trends in the U.S. wind power market. It provides an overview of key trends in various aspects, including installation and capacity, industry, costs, performance, and prices. The report concludes with sections on policy and market drivers, and the projected outlook of wind energy in future years.
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.
This series of reports provides an overview of the current status of renewable energy worldwide. It provides statistics and written descriptions of the market size for various technologies (wind, biomass, solar PV, geothermal, CSP, hydro, ocean) as well as heating/cooling of buildings and transportation fuels (ethanol, biodiesel). It includes a detailed overview of renewable energy policies by country.
IEA’s series of clean energy reports examine the technological and market-related progress being made across the clean energy sector. It reports on developments in technology and energy markets mainly for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-member countries, and tracks this development against targets outlined in IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2°C scenario.
This report assesses the various risks associated with climate change. It takes a holistic approach to investigate the future pathway of global emissions, the direct risks arising from the climate’s response to those emissions, and the risks arising from the interaction of climate change with complex human systems. The assessment is divided into four parts covering 1) emissions trends and political and technological implications, 2) direct risks associated with climate change, 3) systemic risks, and 4) economical and ethical valuation of climate change.
This survey provides insights from senior-level utility executives from all over the world about trends and pressures facing the utility industry. It finds that utility executives overwhelmingly (97%) anticipate significant industry disruption by 2020. A majority of survey respondents anticipated distributed generation would achieve a 10-20% share of total generation by 2020, rising to 20-30% by 2030. In response, 2/3 of global executives agree that change to business models is becoming urgent.
This paper reviews the elements of basic rate designs, provides example rates, and contrasts rates that support vs. discourage distributed generation. It also touches on complementary policies for smart rate design, including incentive regulation (or performance-based ratemaking).
This report examines the impacts of net energy metering (NEM) and two competing feedback dynamics on U.S. distributed PV deployment through 2050 under different rate structures. The report confirms that rate structures with higher monthly fixed customer charges or PV compensation at low levels can dramatically erode aggregate customer adoption of PV. Moving toward time-varying rates may accelerate near- and medium-term deployment, but is estimated to slow adoption in the longer term.
This report argues for the Department of Interior to embrace a landscape-scale approach to development. It also outlines progress made in setting up a renewable energy program for public lands and summarizes some key remaining opportunities, including developing best management practices to minimize impacts during construction and operation, establishing mitigation measures to off-set impacts that cannot be avoided, and protecting areas that are too special to develop.
This analysis discloses CO2, NOx, SO2, and mercury emissions from the top 100 electric power producers in the U.S. These top 100 power producers accounted for 85% of the electricity generated in 2013. Several power producers in the Southeast have reduced CO2 emissions by a third or more since 2000. In addition, the report finds that the electric industry has cut overal NOx and SO2 emissions even as overall electricity generation and GDP have increased.
This resource book provides information about the economic, environmental, and social imperative for the Clean Power Plan. It begins with a handful of chapters covering the consequences of climate change as it pertains to human health, extreme weather events, national security, wildlife habitats, and more. NRDC emphasizes that all these consequences are far costlier than implementation of the Clean Power Plan. The last several chapters of this book describe why the Clean Power Plan is important and how it will benefit the public, the economy, and the power grid.
This working paper argues that facilitating interstate reduction strategies provides many types of benefits to states and regulated entities, including lowering compliance costs; reducing concerns about competition among jurisdictions; responding to changing fuel prices, weather, and other uncertainties; improving administrative efficiency; and enhancing alignment with regional electricity markets. Designing plans to be compatible will allow states to “opt in” to interstate compliance in the future without committing to it in the state plan.
This paper uses the National Energy Modeling System to evaluate alternative low-carbon electricity pathways. The authors find that the least-cost compliance pathway involves a combination of renewable and energy efficiency policies, plus a modest price on carbon that could be expected to result from the Clean Power Plan’s implementation. This pathway also produces substantial benefits including lower electricity bills, greater GDP growth, and significant reductions in SO2, NOx, and mercury emissions.
This paper describes Energy Innovation’s Energy Policy Simulator, a system dynamics model that assists in selecting policies that will allow China to achieve its emissions reduction goals. The model’s results find that China can peak its carbon emissions before its target year of 2030, and this is done most cost-effectively via a package of policies supporting a diverse set of technologies.
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.
This report provides context on the current status of the electric grid in the Western U.S. and summarizes some of the larger initiatives underway to upgrade Bulk Electricity System (BES) planning, operations, and markets. The content is focused on activities that are or could be undertaken at a regional level to improve the reliability and economic performance of the BES while simultaneously facilitating the integration of high penetrations of clean energy resources.
This paper examines the impact of high shares of solar PV on the California system, reviewing the resources needed to maintain resource adequacy under a variety of scenarios. The report analyzes several options for relieving pressures portended by California’s famous projected “duck curve,” finding that interties to other regions provide the largest opportunity to mitigate the duck.
This paper examines electric utility business and regulatory models that can facilitate the power sector’s transition. It discusses the disruptive challenges to the current business model and how performance-based regulation can help. It outlines three options for the future utility business model – one where the monopoly role expands, one where the utility serves as a platform for distributed energy resources, and one where the utility purely provides electricity infrastructure.
This study presents and updated analysis on the earth’s global surface temperature, revealing that temperatures are higher than previously reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013. These results counter the notion of a “hiatus” in rising global surface temperatures, concluding that warming trends within the 21st century closely match those from the second half of the 20th century.
This paper provides a framework for guiding the evolution of new utility business and regulatory models in a highly distributed energy future. The report breaks down the transition into two parts, the “profit achievement” spectrum (i.e. what products utilities are selling), and the “profit motivation” spectrum (i.e. what drives utility growth).
The report surveys what utilities and independent system operators (ISOs) with relatively high shares of variable renewable generation are doing to integrate those resources into their systems without compromising reliability. Brattle focuses on two case studies – the Electric Reliability Corporation of Texas (ERCOT) and Xcel Colorado. The in-depth case studies show ancillary service reform, improved forecasting, and other policy tweaks increased the flexibility of the system and enabled renewable integration beyond what is required by the Clean Power Plan.
This analysis finds that the United States can meet, and even surpass, its announced target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025 with a comprehensive approach using existing federal laws and state action. After 2025, even deeper reductions will be necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The paper models two pathways that could reduce emissions 40–42 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and 50-53 percent by 2040 with new legislation that establishes a price on carbon together with complementary policies across the economy.
This introduction the the journal, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (volume 20, issue 5), describes current trends in China’s transportation sector, primarily the increased use of motor vehicles as a result of sprawling and car-focused urban development. Motor vehicles have increased China’s traffic congestion and air pollution. This introduction mentions the subsequent articles in the journal that cover solutions for cleaner and more efficient Chinese transport, including urban development, transport planning, vehicle fuel efficiency standards, vehicle emission standards, and electric drive technology.
This report analyzes a variety of environmental, economic, and power sector-related impacts of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, looking at a range of baseline cases and Clean Power Plan cases. The analysis finds that the Clean Power Plan would reduce power sector CO2 emissions between 29 and 36 percent by 2030, with most of the early emissions reductions coming from natural gas replacing coal and later emission reductions coming from the addition of renewable energy sources. Overall, electricity prices are projected to increase slightly (3-7 percent) at first, but will level off by 2030.
This report examines six modeling studies of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, comparing estimated impacts on power costs and the structure of the power sector. These studies all predict the Clean Power Plan will lead to a decline in power generation and coal production. Though they also estimate no growth in renewables and nuclear beyond the business-as-usual scenarios, the studies do highlight the role of energy efficiency in minimizing cost impacts.
The latest report in MIT’s Future of series analyzes the potential for solar to compete against other resources to provide electricity. The report advocates for a carbon price on to account for externalities, and suggests new rate structures for residential systems to better account for distribution costs. It concludes that residential distributed solar adds between $5-19/kilowatt/year of distribution costs to the system.
NACAA has developed this tool to provide a variety of policy, program, and technology recommendations agencies can employ to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets outlined in EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. The Menu offers 25 chapters that each explore a specific approach to reduce emissions in the power sector. Chapter topics include: optimize grid operations, retire aging power plants, foster new markets for energy efficiency, and improve integration of renewables into the grid. Chapter 26 examines a variety of emerging technologies and policies that ought to be considered during planning stages.
This report provides data on China’s carbon emissions from 1950 to 2012. Within the last decade, China has become the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide. The report discusses trends of China’s carbon emissions in 1950-2012; per capita carbon emissions and emissions intensity; regional disparity of China’s carbon emissions; and emissions embodied in international trade. It concludes with a description of its methodology for calculations used in the report.
This document represents key insights developed at the Restoring Blue Skies Air Quality Workshop held in Beijing on September 17-18, 2014 co-organized by the Paulson Institute, Energy Foundation, Energy Innovation and Chinese partners. Participants included 80 leaders from 42 Chinese and international organizations.
This report synthesizes data gathered during a literature review of studies that quantify the economic, environmental, and social impacts associated with urban development. It concludes that compact, walkable, and transit-oriented development creates sustainable, healthy, and economically vibrant cities. The elements of urban design necessary for sustainable development are characterized by The 8 Principles, which are originally defined in Planning Cities for People.
This study determines the technical and economic feasibility of incorporating a high share of renewable energy in China’s energy sector. It finds that 60% of the country’s primary energy demand, and 86% of its power supply, can come from renewable energy by 2050. A Chinese version of the Executive Summary can be found here.
This report assesses the economy-wide employment impacts associate with EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. This analysis captures several indirect effects that are not included in EPA’s regulatory impact analysis for the proposed Plan. The report estimates a net gain of 74,000 jobs in 2020, and reach 274,000 in 2040, representing a 0.1-0.2% increase in civilian employment.
During his recent inaugural address in early 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown announced a set of clean energy and climate goals to be met by 2030. For the last several months, Energy Innovation has engaged in policy analysis to produce three papers that provide guidance on how to achieve these goals.
It is becoming increasingly more realistic that many electricity customers, rather than defect entirely from the grid, will instead invest in grid-connected solar-plus-battery systems as a means of ensuring more stable pricing and reliability. This report describes how the configurations and economics for this type of system, known as “load defection,” would evolve over time, and what magnitude of customers, load, and revenue it could represent over time.
This report surveys existing data on current and historical methane emissions from oil and gas systems worldwide, highlights gaps and disparities in country-level data, predicts methane emissions growth through 2030 under a range of scenarios, and quantifies the impact of action from top-emitting countries to control their methane emissions.
This report highlights deficiencies in existing regional transmission planning conducted under FERC Order 1000, emphasizing that plans consistently fail to consider the full range of benefits that can be realized. It suggests scenario planning that anticipates potential resource needs and reliability concerns. The report concludes that the diverse benefits of a more robust and flexible transmission system are likely to exceed upfront costs in many cases where Order 1000 is currently insufficient.
In this presentation, the Bipartisan Policy Center offers insights from modeling the effects of the Clean Power Plan under six scenarios. The slides argue that the interconnected nature of the power system is important to consider when looking at the Plan’s costs and benefits. Multi-state collaborations and/or linked trading approaches will help contain the costs of compliance, as will states’ choices of energy efficiency policies
Author Antung Anthony Liu argues that carbon taxes that recycle revenues and cut taxes in other areas can be good for both economic welfare and growth because they are more efficient than other forms of taxation. The paper summarizes three advantages of carbon taxes, contending they are harder to evade than other taxes, less likely to distort market behavior, and act as a deterrent to the informal, untaxed economy.
Energy Innovation’s new report on California climate policy argues the state should adopt an ambitious 2030 target of 40% below the 1990 level of greenhouse gas emissions, and describes a method for how to get there. This strong yet achievable goal would get California halfway to its 2050 target in one-third of the time and help the state maintain its clean energy leadership at a time of unprecedented global commitments to fight climate change.
This report examines the impact of the Clean Power Plan on grid stability. The changing resource mix due to increased coal retirements and renewable energy will alter the pattern of power flows across the transmission system, requiring new lines, line upgrades, and reactive power devices to maintain grid stability. It concludes that across the country, the costs of these changes are likely to be minimal and pose no threat to reliability.
This paper recommends policy initiatives that California can take in order to meet Gov. Brown’s renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation fuel use goals for 2030. Recommendations include expansion of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, a carbon standard to decarbonize the electricity supply, and a new energy efficiency performance incentive for utilities.
This policy brief highlights the top policies that will enable California to meet its renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation fuel use targets in 2030. Policy recommendations in the brief pertain to the state’s cap-and-trade program, electricity sector, transportation sector, and methane sources.
Wind Vision analyzes scenarios of wind power supplying 10% of national end-use electricity demand by 2020, 20% by 2030, and 35% by 2050. Building on the 2008 “20% Wind Energy by 2030” report, this study assesses wind power’s costs, benefits, and impacts in the context of U.S. energy goals. The study concludes that deployment of wind power under the study scenario levels is both viable and economically compelling.
GTM’s latest research whitepaper assesses the different pathways to achieve a decentralized, distributed, and transactive electric grid. It identifies nearly 20 states in various stages of grid- and market-modernization, categorizing each state’s pathway as driven by consumers, regulations, or the market. The paper asserts that patterns emerge based on which group is driving the change.
This handbook describes how regulators can use performance incentive mechanisms to guide utility performance as new issues of resilience, technological change, and the expansion of distributed energy resources emerge. The work builds off of an initial report, New Regulatory Models, which describes examples of performance-based ratemaking in action.
This study models the effects of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. It analyzes the impacts of five key variables (natural gas prices, available renewable resources, energy efficiency, nuclear capacity, and available new combined cycle natural gas) on six key outputs (resource dispatch, CO2 prices, wholesale market prices, fossil steam capacity retirements, load energy payments, and compliance costs).
This report dispels the notion that renewable energy is driving up retail rates. DBL Investors examined the top ten and bottom ten states for renewable generation, finding that between 2002 and 2013, the average annual rate of change in retail electricity prices was lower in states that led on renewables. Key economic drivers of this conclusion include: the falling cost of renewables, mounting economic benefits from clean energy, and growing uncertainty for carbon-based fuels.
This report posits four factors for policymakers to consider when designing Value of Solar tariffs (VOST): transparency, predictability, a standardized calculation methodology, and a levelized cost for solar. Each of these factors addresses perceived shortcomings of the net energy metering and fixed charge structures that have been unable to accomplish sustainable compensation for the costs and value of rooftop solar and the grid.
This report series discusses the economic trends of the advanced energy market. Advanced energy is defined as a broad range of technologies, products, and services that help meet society’s energy needs. The report discusses market conditions in each of advanced energy’s seven industry segments; transportation, fuel production, fuel delivery, buildings, industry, electricity generation, and electricity delivery and management.
This paper, a submission for the Solar Electric Power Association’s (SEPA) 51st State Challenge, synthesizes current thinking on system optimization by returning to first principles of rate design and market structure. By starting from first principles, the recommendations can be widely applied across jurisdictions with different market structures, resources, and demographics, including but not limited to a hypothetical 51st State.
This report describes the political landscape for energy R&D and innovation in the United States. It evaluates political activities over the last five years via a ‘report card’ and highlights challenges and opportunities for future energy investment. The Council concludes that government must increase its investment in energy R&D and innovation in order to accelerate the energy sector’s transformation in a positive and meaningful way.
This regulatory framework shows how the parts of a modern energy system can be aligned to put the consumer at the system’s center. UtilityVision is organized around five key areas for reform: empowering the consumer, planning a consumer-focused power grid, aligning utility incentives with consumer and environmental goals, helping consumers pay for the power they use, and paying customers for power they produce.
This report discusses whether and how the U.S. electric grid will be impacted as the power sector continues to evolve, with special attention on potential impacts of adoption of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The Analysis Group finds that the Clean Power Plan ” will not jeopardize or compromise the reliability of the U.S. power system.”
This report highlights the need to update the “regulatory compact” between utilities and society to incorporate new technologies, particularly distributed energy resources. It provides a succinct history of utility business models and highlights the changes in technology that necessitate updating the “compact.” The report details five areas in which utility regulators can encourage the deployment of cost-effective distributed energy resources: reformed cost recovery proceedings, rate design, more holistic resource planning, better data access, and improved grid access.
This report, commissioned by The Brattle Group, reviews North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) ‘initial reliability review,’ which expresses reliability concerns associated with the implementation of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Brattle’s report concludes, alternatively, that “compliance with the CPP is unlikely to materially affect reliability.”
This report, written for the Major Economies Forum, describes the power sector transformation underway across the globe. The transformation will undoubtedly look different around the world, but this paper posits five potential pathways to a dramatically-improved power system. Policymakers can use these pathways to proactively guide the sector’s transformation. A 2-page report summary can be found here.
This report investigates the nature of variable renewable energy (VNE) and the challenges of integrating VNE into power systems around the world. It describes ways to increase grid flexibility, highlighting natural gas-fired power generation and energy storage, and concludes with recommendations for grid planners, policymakers, and regulators.
This report, which is Phase II of EPRI’s Integrated Grid Project, provides a framework for assessing the benefits and costs of accommodating more distributed energy resources, and effects on grid reliability and resilience. In Phase III, EPRI will build on this work by consulting with utilities to undertake pilot projects that will provide a better understanding of the operational value, performance issues and economic benefits of grid-integrated DER deployment.
This report profiles three communities (Hammarby in Stockholm, Sweden; Vauban in Freiburg, Germany; and Liuyun Xiaoqu in Guangzhou, China) that encompass characteristics of smart urban form and transportation systems. It highlights the environmental, economic, and social benefits that these communities gain by following The 8 Principles of smart urban form.
This report calculates the social cost of releasing pollutants into the air due to fossil fuel combustion. It concludes that the true cost of fossil fuels is higher than their current market values, when factoring in their environmental impacts. The report estimates the following social costs for the combustion of fossil fuels: $0.14-0.34/kWh for electricity generation from coal; $0.04-0.18/kWh for electricity generation from gas; $3.80 per gallon of gasoline; and $4.80 per gallon of diesel.
This paper, part of a series of Paulson Papers on Energy and Environment provides an overview and examination of China’s energy structure. It assesses some of China’s energy challenges and the existing proposals to reshape its energy landscape through 2020. The paper frames the relationship between China’s energy sector and economic growth, highlighting the uncertainty of how a more consumption-driven Chinese economy will impact the country’s energy future.
This paper provides a comprehensive overview of China’s energy strategies, policies, and choices. Author Damien Ma frames the underlying challenges facing the nation and explains current proposals to reshape the Chinese energy landscape through 2020.
Ma argues that it will take a variety of solutions, including technology, smart policies, and market incentives, for China to keep growing its economy while limiting its emissions and environmental impacts.
This resource describes the case for energy efficiency as a cost-effective compliance strategy for the Clean Power Plan. It argues that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective strategy for meeting air quality and energy goals, while also addressing system reliability. The paper includes case studies from around the country that discuss several major energy efficiency approaches and address key compliance plan questions.
Well-established power groups are drawing different conclusions regarding the feasibility of maintaining grid reliability as states act in order to abide by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This Trending Topics piece covers what’s causing these reliability authorities to reach such different conclusions, and discusses whether is more analysis needed.
This report examines market design issues and reforms that can help Europe support additional renewable energy development while minimizing integration costs. The paper suggests that capacity products should be differentiated by “operational characteristics,” allowing prices to reflect the added value of flexibility that supports the integration of variable renewable energy. The report also points out several “no regrets” policies such as expanding balancing areas and opening up markets to demand-side participation that can help increase efficiency and lower costs, echoing many of the recommendations in Aligning Power Markets to Deliver Value.
This report provides a comprehensive vision for the future of utility business models that reflects wide stakeholder agreement on the role of the grid and the changing relationship between customers, distributors, and transmission operators. Participants agreed that the grid of the future will enable a two-way power system, require more coordination between bulk and distribution systems, and use information technologies to optimize operations across supply and increasingly responsive demand.
This report pulls together climate finance data from a variety of sources covering the scale, key actors, instruments, recipients, and uses of finance toward climate change mitigation and adaptation. It provides key lessons for policymakers about where policy and public resources can make the largest impact.
The ‘emissions gap’ refers to the difference between emissions levels consistent with meeting climate targets, and levels expected that year if pledges and commitments are met. This report series discusses the emissions gap and its implications, emissions trends resulting from pledges and commitments, and policy options for bridging the emissions gap.
This databook provides detailed statistics on China’s energy use and emissions. It describes China’s energy sector in the context of its supply, transformation, consumption, prices, emissions, and economic indicators. The final section offers a comparison of China’s energy sector to international cases. The databook is quantitatively-driven, and mostly includes graphs and charts rather than written text.
This report compiles the research from a number of studies and organizes their findings on the quantitative impacts of good urban form and transportation systems in cities. This literature review finds evidence from the studies to be supportive of The 8 Principles for low-carbon urbanization.
This report describes how sea level rise caused by climate change will impact the United State’s coastal communities in future years. It includes a set of recommendations for local and national action to increase resiliency. Infographics and snapshots of vulnerable U.S. communities are interspersed throughout the report. More information is available on UCS’s Encroaching Tides webpage.
This presentation provides information about the trends and projections of global carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to describing overall CO2 patterns, the report breaks down changes in emissions by energy sources (and sinks), geographic region, and timescale. It concludes that the world must limit its emissions to 3,200 Gt in order to have a 66 percent chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees C. We have already spent more than half of this budget and, at our current emissions rate, are projected to use up the remaining budget within 30 years.
This report explores how countries can shape the processes of structural and technological change in a way that both establishes stable economic growth and addresses the threats of climate change. It highlights the need and opportunity for investing in cities, land use, and energy systems, arguing that each system can be optimized by raising resource efficiency, investing in infrastructure, and stimulating innovation.
This policy brief examines how Germany and Japan are addressing questions of how to move away from both fossil and nuclear energy at the same time. The report identifies lessons relevant for the large-scale deployment of renewable power in the United States, even given that a move away from nuclear is not part of U.S. policy.
This paper summarizes the impacts of projected increases in variable renewable generation on energy markets, ancillary service markets, and forward capacity markets. In light of these findings, the paper examines two important issues on market design: first, whether energy plus ancillary service markets provide adequate revenue to cover all system costs, and second, whether current market designs are sufficient to ensure the evolving needs of the bulk power grid are met. The paper concludes that it is possible that markets which properly reward flexibility can meet reliability and system planning and operation needs.
Electric utilities have great potential to reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant throughout the power sector’s imminent transformation. A confluence of factors – new and cheap technologies, declining electricity demand, and increased action against climate change – are driving this change. To account for these factors, utilities must evolve from electron suppliers to system optimizers, and they ought to be rewarded based on performance rather than sales.
This report examines the environmental impacts of unconventional energy extraction and hydraulic fracturing. It describes production estimates and decline curves for oil and gas wells, as well as their water requirements and water intensities. Subsequent sections discuss fracking’s impacts on seismic activity, water contamination, and air quality. The report concludes with a description of various pollutants that are emitted throughout the stages of gas extraction, production, and processing.
This study analyzes the level of greenhouse gas emissions that are attributable to electricity generated from natural gas versus coal. The study concludes that certain methane emissions, at certain leakage rates, could actually cause electricity generate from natural gas to contribute to higher GHG emissions in the near to mid-term, compared to electricity generated from coal.
This report explores a variety of rate design options as the U.S. electricity grid continues to evolve. The rate structures discussed include: time-of-use pricing, energy + capacity pricing, distribution “hot spot” credits, real-time pricing, attribute-based pricing, and distribution locational marginal pricing.
This report details integrated distribution planning and operations in the context of large photovoltaic systems. Study results indicate that all interconnections are different, and that generalizations and approximations may obscure results. Wholesale photovoltaic in distribution can affect substations and regional transmission, and nominally transmission and distribution interconnections can affect the same network infrastructure.
Only a handful of states have initiated comprehensive efforts to engage in large-scale integration of DER into state-wide distribution grids. While prepared to specifically influence California policy, this paper provides a general framework of principles to guide implementation of policies that require utilities to optimize deployment of distributed energy resources. The paper provides four guiding principles: standardize data and methodologies through a comprehensive planning process, enable an open platform for DER integration, allow distribution service operators to have an expanded coordination role, and open wholesale markets to participation for DER.
This report, a part of the Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project (DDPP), summarizes actions for reducing emissions so as to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. DDPP has analyzed findings from 15 Country Research Teams, with the intention of using these findings to inform the UNFCCC at the COP-21 in Paris in 2015. The report discusses the importance of staying within the 2 degree C limit and pathways for achieving this through various decarbonization efforts.
This report evaluates the impact of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan on power plant owners, electricity customers, and other power market participants. It aims to help states prepare State Implementation Plans that will minimize compliance costs and offer economic benefits to consumers. Its analysis concludes that near-term modest costs to consumers will be outweighted by long-term benefits in public health and the state economy.
This report describes the importance of public-private partnerships in aiding the successful development and commercialization of advanced energy technologies. It summarizes AEIC’s five case studies on government’s role in energy technology innovation: unconventional gas and exploration and production, aeroderivative gas turbines, alternative vehicle technologies, advanced diesel internal combustion engines, and low-emissivity windows.
This paper aims to describe the existing utility business model at a fundamental level, showing that a simplified model can successfully explain past utility performance and behavior. The paper then draws inferences about how current and potential future market conditions are likely to impact utilities’ performance and behavior.
This report describes how hotter, drier weather conditions caused by climate change will increase the risk of wildfires in the western United States. It highlights the risks of increased wildfires on people and homes, and the costs that are incurred. The report concludes with a discussion of policies and practices to help reduce wildfire risks and costs. More information is available at UCS’s Playing with Fire webpage.
This policy brief identifies ten concrete actions that states can take over the next year to help lay the groundwork for an effective, approvable implementation plan. Among many other important steps states can take, the authors recommend engaging with other decision makers—fellow regulators, other offices within the state, and other states. The brief argues that preparing for 111(d) will be a long-term effort, but decision makers that get started with emissions reduction efforts today put themselves in a good position for easier compliance and reduced costs.
This report, prepared for Citizens’ Climate Lobby, examines the various impacts of a revenue-neutral carbon tax, broken down by the nine census regions of the United States. Impacts are calculated based on the modeling of a carbon tax of $10 per ton of carbon dioxide, implemented in 2016, and increasing linearly by $10 per year. The modeling results estimate economic, employment and health benefits for most U.S. regions. The East North Central region would realize the most health benefits through improved air quality and saved premature deaths, while the West South Central region would actually experience economic and employment losses.
This report assesses the range of potential climate change impacts if the U.S. continues on its current greenhouse gas emissions trajectory. Impacts are categorized into eight U.S. regions as well as various economic sectors. The report finds that climate change impacts will be felt across all regions and sectors, though in different ways, and will cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars. The report’s conclusion urges decision-makers to help reduce the effects of climate change through investment and policy action.
This prospectus, prepared as input to the Risky Business Project, analyzes the economic impacts associated with climate change in the United States. It is an independent analysis to inform business leaders and government decision-makers of climate change risks and opportunities in various geographic regions and economic sectors. The report is divided into five parts; 1) America's climate future, 2) assessing the impact of America's changing climate, 3) pricing climate risk, 4) unquantified impacts, and 5) insights for climate risk management.
This working paper explains some of the key concepts of urbanization and summarizes its trends. It discusses the ways in which urbanization statistics can be misinterpreted, due to differing definitions as well as outdated or oversimplified data. Subsequent chapters give…
This report presents the results of an analysis of carbon emissions reduction potential of various policy options in China. Policies affecting four sectors were studied: industry, transportation, buildings, and electricity supply. The report finds industrial policies have the potential to save more energy than policies for all other sectors combined. In the transport sector, fuel economy standards are the dominant policy, followed by accelerated electric and hybrid vehicle deployment. In the building sector, stricter codes is the dominant policy, followed by energy efficiency labeling. In the power sector, environmental dispatch and mandatory RE targets are the strongest policies.
This report highlights development strategies that can “help build prosperity, end poverty and combat climate change.” It examines three energy-consuming economic sectors: transportation, industry, and buildings, and provides examples of successful development strategies in four developing countries: India, Brazil, China, and Mexico.
This report provides one-page descriptions on 40 advanced energy technologies that increase efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve service from the electric power system. These technologies contribute to the optimization of buildings and industry, electricity generation, and electricity delivery and grid management. The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Clean Power Plan proposal brings focus to these advanced energy technologies as they help to meet these standards and other greenhouse gas reduction requirements.
This report summarizes the major energy disruptions and infrastructure changes that occurred in the United States during 2013. The energy disruptions section lists major events as well as disruptions by energy type. The infrastructure changes section is also organized by energy type. The final section includes international energy disruptions and infrastructure projects that directly or indirectly affected the United States.
This paper discusses the electric industry’s transition into an Integrated Distributed Electricity System, a term that refers to the increased decentralization and localization of its energy sources and operating decisions. The authors describe this type of system as a mix of centralized and distributed resources that are owned and controlled by a range of public and private parties. Transmission system operators (TSO) and distribution system operators (DSO) will continue to be responsible for maintaining distributed reliability in the electricity system. The paper concludes with a development roadmap for integrated electric system operations, breaking out different tracks for operational design and research; pilot projects; and policy, business, and regulation.
This report summarizes the cost and benefit estimates for existing state-level Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). Key findings reveal that average estimated incremental costs for RPS compliance were equivalent to approximately 0.9-1.2 percent of average retail electricity bills, or -$4-$48/MWh when expressed in terms of cost per unit of required renewable energy. The health and economic benefits of RPSes translated to $4-$23/MWh and $22-$30/MWh of renewable generation, respectively, though only a handful of benefits studies have been conducted.
This Third National Climate Assessment highlights the U.S.’s current climate change impacts, the state of its climate change research, and predictions about future climate change impacts. Climate change impacts are discussed in the report in terms of the geographic regions as well as the economic sectors in which they occur. It concludes with recommendations for response strategies, including mitigation and adaptation efforts as well as support for policy decisions, research, and continued assessments.
This report, a collaborative effort between government organizations, universities, NGOs, and international institutions, presents 30 indicators that describe the major causes and effects of climate change, mainly as they occur in the United States. Indicators are categorized into six groups; greenhouse gases, weather and climate, oceans, snow and ice, health and society, and ecosystems.
This report describes the ways in which the U.S. electricity supply is vulnerable to extreme weather events caused by climate change. It describes several ways that the electricity sector can become more climate-resilient, such as increasing public-private partnerships to invest in climate resilience, upgrading electricity infrastructure, enacting strong policy on clean energy and carbon emissions, and encouraging investment in energy efficiency and renewables.
Pew’s series of clean energy reports track trends of financial investment in renewable energy technologies worldwide. The reports present an overview and key findings, and highlight clean energy successes in certain countries and regions of the world. Also included are statistics on types of financing used for clean energy investment, and profiles of each of the G-20 countries and the European Union.
Rapid development of renewable, variable energy resources has dramatically spurred interest in the development of energy storage over the last several years. This report discusses the future role for energy storage in the electric sector, mentioning the opportunities for increased flexibility, system quality, and emissions reduction, as well as energy storage challenges including market and political barriers. It offers a brief survey of existing energy storage technologies and value streams, then discusses the demand for energy storage and techniques for valuing its services. The report concludes with policy recommendations that address energy storage valuation and markets, regulatory treatment, and development risk.
This is one of several case studies published by the American Energy Innovation Council illustrating the various ways in which government support has been a critical enabler of energy technologies that are widely-used and important today. This paper focuses on government involvement in developing technologies that allow vehicles to be more efficient or use low-carbon fuel sources.
This market overview aggregates the numerous policy mechanisms affecting renewable energy projects in the U.S. and provides an analysis of the impact these policies have had on private sector investment in the industry. It also examines innovative financing mechanisms the industry has recently developed including Securitization, YieldCo, and Green Bonds. This presentation is the latest in a series of white papers from the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance.
This paper explores the science of measuring methane emissions and calls on the EPA to improve its approach to estimating methane emissions. New research concludes that methane emissions are significantly undercounted by the EPA Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. Uncertainty remains about the sources of this “missing,” methane, but there are strong indications that at least some of it is coming from the natural gas system. Better data on methane emissions is needed to guide climate policy and more efficiently regulate the natural gas industry.
This report discusses the future for electric utility companies as ‘disruptive’ technologies, flattening energy load, and environmental regulations all potentially threaten their traditional business model. It proposes new business opportunities for utilities, giving special attention to performance-based ratemaking. Several case studies are included to demonstrate various elements of performance-based ratemaking, followed by best practice principles and recommendations. A version of this paper was published in the July 2014 issue of the Electricity Journal.
Over the past year, Resources for the Future (RFF) has held discussions with energy experts and conducted a literature review to determine what is known, uncertain, and unknown about the future development of natural gas. This report captures RFF’s results…
This joint lab report investigates Japan’s solar PV market trends and compares its findings with trends in the U.S. solar PV market. Data were collected from more than 80 Japanese PV installers to estimate PV system costs, namely hardware costs,…
This report investigates and compares the pricing structures of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Germany and the United States. LBNL deployed surveys to PV installers in both countries to collect data on their average cost breakdowns. Results show that…
This report highlights the outcomes from discussions at the Future of Cities Forum in September 2013, with a focus on regenerative urban development. It includes case studies of six cities where regenerative urban development can be observed, a summary of the benefits of and barriers to regenerative urban development, and the tools for its successful implementation.
Over the last several years, IEA has produced a series of technology roadmap reports that lay out the steps to advance global development and market uptake of a handful of key energy technologies. This guide advises countries on how to design, implement, and manage an effective technology roadmap process that is relevant to their own objectives and circumstances. It offers guidance on how to identify key stakeholders, develop a technology baseline, and establish indicators to help track progress toward meeting roadmap milestones.
This brief provides a qualitative and quantitative analysis on China’s energy sectors. The first section provides background information about China’s overall energy demand and consumption. Subsequent sections are categorized by energy type – oil, natural gas, coal, and electricity. Within each section, the brief covers exploration, production, consumption, pricing, among other topics. The electricity section is broken down further by energy sources – total fossil fuels, hydroelectric and other renewables, and nuclear. Data within the brief come from EIA’s Overview Data for China.
This paper recommends policies for California to maintain and enhance its status as a global leader in carbon-free prosperity. It offers policy recommendations in five areas: electricity sector policy, building sector policy, transportation sector policy, policy for fracking and methane emissions, and spurring policy action in other states and regions. The state is well on track to meeting its 2020 emission reduction goal, but additional policy innovation is needed if California is to achieve the longer term goal of reducing greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
This report discusses the expanding role of distributed electricity generation and storage in the U.S. power system and how they alter or threaten the traditional utility business model. The combination of distributed solar and battery storage, referred to as solar-plus-battery, makes electricity customers less reliant on utility services as solar and storage technologies become cheaper and more commercially available. RMI refers to this phenomenon as grid defection. The report concludes that grid parity has already arrived in certain U.S. regions and will be achieved within the next decade or two for several other parts of the country.
This inventory identifies and quantifies the United States’ anthropogenic sources and sinks of greenhouse gases between 1990 and 2013. The Environmental Protection Agency uses national energy data and statistics to provide a comprehensive accounting of greenhouse gas emissions. The methodologies and approaches in this inventory are consistent with the reporting guidelines provided by the UNFCCC.
This working paper describes the role of state green banks in helping to deploy and commercialize clean energy technologies. Similar to a public-private partnership, state green banks use initial government funding to lever private investment in clean energy and energy efficiency. This paper discusses the purpose, goals, and structure of state green banks, highlighting Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority as a case study. It concludes with the strengths and weaknesses of state green banks as a tool to spur the clean energy economy.
IEA estimates that an additional $36 trillion in clean energy investment, or $1 trillion per year, is needed to keep Earth’s temperature within 2 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2050. This report offers ten recommendations for investors, companies, and policymakers to increase global clean energy investment to $1 trillion per year by 2030. These recommendations focus on ways to mobilize investors action to scale up clean energy investment; promote green banking and debt capital markets; and reform climate, energy, and financial policies.
This report discusses E3′s modeling study to analyze scenarios for a 50 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in California by 2030. It intends to address utilities’ questions regarding the challenges, potential solutions, and economic and environmental impacts associated with a higher RPS in future years. E3 used its Renewable Energy Flexibility Model to analyze four scenarios for achieving a 50 percent RPS; a large solar scenario, a small solar scenario, a rooftop solar scenario, and a diverse scenario, comparing them to 33 percent and 40 percent scenarios as reference points for comparison.
This study uses general equilibrium models to determine the conditions that would make a clean energy standard (CES), which would establish a minimum level for the share of electricity purchased by electric utilities that comes from clean energy sources, more cost-effective compared to a cap-and-trade program. It concludes that the cost disadvantage of a CES is much less than originally estimated, and can even be more effective than an emissions pricing scheme in some circumstances.
This report presents specific policy recommendations for President Obama and the Federal Agencies to consider in order to help the U.S. achieve its climate and energy goals. More than 100 energy experts and leaders participated in the development of these…
This policy toolkit intends to help energy experts and decision makers develop and improve energy efficiency policies for appliances, lighting, and equipment in buildings. It introduces the concept of energy efficiency standards and labels (S&L), offers methods to successfully design and implement successful S&L policies, and concludes with a list of resources and tools. Case studies of successful policies are included throughout.
This paper, resulting from AEE’s Grid Modernization Policy Forum, presents the key barriers to the adoption of the smart grid and offers policy solutions that would overcome them. It identifies seven overarching regulatory and statutory policy elements that foster the…