Integrating distributed resources into the smart grid.
The remedy for America’s gravest economic woes may lie in a smart grid that can deliver vast amounts of clean, renewable energy while enhancing our energy security and democratizing our energy system. Although regulatory questions and technical challenges might dominate the industry’s short-term focus, the smart grid’s driving forces parallel America’s long-term national interests — a fact that should guide ongoing technology strategies and investment decisions.
Smart solutions for distributed renewables.
The goal of implementing a distribution management system (DMS) is to upgrade isolated, hands-on grid management processes into an interconnected and automated platform. This technology is transforming the way utilities operate distribution networks, and setting the industry on a path toward seamless integration of distributed resources—both supply and demand.
Past accomplishments and future plans.
Policy makers in the E.U. and the United States are taking different approaches to facilitating smart grid development. While both regions are setting standards that the rest of the world likely will follow, they also face difficult challenges in resolving issues around cost recovery, customer engagement and workforce preparedness.
Bringing flexibility and efficiency to energy RFPs.
Joseph Cavicchi and Andrew Lemon
With the introduction of retail competition in the electricity industry, regulatory authorities in many jurisdictions are now overseeing the purchase of electricity at wholesale by electric utilities for customers that do not otherwise obtain supply from independent retailers. There are two primary ways in which, under the supervision of regulatory authorities, electric utilities purchase electricity for these non-shopping customers: through simultaneous descending clock auctions or through fairly common sealed-bid auctions, commonly known as Requests for Proposals.
Effective metrics give solar its due credit.
Photovoltaic (PV) power generation is an intermittent, non-dispatchable resource generally considered as energy-only with no capacity credit. However, there is ample evidence that solar energy reliably is available at peak demand time when loads are driven by day-time commercial air conditioning, and can contribute effectively to increasing the capacity available on a regional grid.
Fundamental changes require bold strategies.
While many utilities have embarked upon efforts to define a path toward the next generation utility, these efforts often are siloed initiatives driven by the generation, transmission and distribution (T&D) or customer segments of the organization. Addressing the upcoming challenge will require a coordinated and integrated set of decisions so as not to sub-optimize the end-to-end value chain. Eight critical themes across the generation, T&D and customer elements of the value chain will shape the future of our industry.
Is DER competitive with traditional utility investments, and if so, what are the costs and benefits?
Eugene L. Shlatz & Steven Tobias
Utilities must make hard tradeoffs regarding which distribution investments offer the greatest value. How should they quantify DER as integrated into the grid?
Why the standard market design refuses to die.
Hold on to your hats. The vaunted and vilified “standard market design”, once thought dead and buried, has been resuscitated, with all attendant chaos and rhetoric, but this time in the guise of a new proposal under the code name “open dispatch.” This new construct, as remarkable in its way as Einstein’s theory of indeterminate space and time, declares that electric transmission, long seen as one of a triumvirate of unique and essential utility industry sectors (along with generation and distribution), is little more than a mirage.
Elimination of the utility must-purchase obligation can lead to unanticipated consequences.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 adds a new section of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978. Section 210(m) of PURPA now provides for the termination of an electric utility’s obligation to purchase energy and capacity from qualifying cogeneration facilities if FERC finds certain conditions are met.