Regional Transmission Organizations: Recommendations for the West

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.

The Market Design Initiative: Enabling Demand-Side Markets

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.

Moving Toward Value in Utility Compensation, Part 2 – Regulatory Alternatives

Permalink to Moving Toward Value in Utility Compensation, Part 2 – Regulatory Alternatives

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.

Debunking Four Myths About The Clean Energy Transition

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

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

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

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

Metrics for Energy Efficiency: Options and Adjustment Mechanisms

Permalink to Metrics for Energy Efficiency: Options and Adjustment Mechanisms

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

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

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

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

Going Deep on Performance-Based Regulation

Permalink to Going Deep on Performance-Based Regulation

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

A customer-centric view of electricity service

Permalink to A customer-centric view of electricity service

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

Grid Flexibility: Methods for Modernizing the Power Grid

Permalink to Grid Flexibility: Methods for Modernizing the Power Grid

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.