How DG and microgrids change the game for utilities.
Energy microgrids have emerged as more than just a curiosity. The technology is improving, costs are falling, and developers are lining up to build projects. How will microgrids overcome the substantial challenges that stand in their way?
The transition to distributed generation calls for a new regulatory model.
With the best of intentions, policymakers have encouraged the proliferation of distributed generation (DG) in various forms. Now, however, the trend toward DG is accelerating more rapidly than traditional utility ratemaking and business models are capable of managing. Failure to rationalize the regulatory framework will bring serious and costly disruption.
Microgrids begin to make economic sense.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
With microgrids in place, doomsday preppers wouldn't need to worry so much about a zombie plague.
Technology is changing the game. Is your utility ready?
Although today microgrids serve a tiny fraction of the market, that share will grow as costs fall. Utilities can benefit if they plan ahead.
The electricity price increases from the proposed EPA Utility MACT will act as a regressive tax on the elderly.
Although EPA claims its tough new clean air regulations will improve public health, in fact they’ll measurably degrade the health of Florida seniors.
Calculating the implied value of CO2 abatement in green energy policies.
Philip Q Hanser and Mariko Geronimo
Renewable portfolio standards and other green energy rules put a price on environmental benefits. Calculating this price can help clarify the social value of GHG reductions.
A purposeful approach to setting energy prices.
Changes in regulatory requirements, market structures, and operational technologies have introduced complexities that traditional ratemaking approaches can’t address. Poorly designed rates lead to cross-subsidies, inequitable outcomes, and perverse incentives. An objective-based approach can better communicate costs to customers in a way that better serves operations and policy goals.
Re-starting the Big Build calls for revisiting cost-recovery mechanisms.
By Sherman Elliott and Ralph Zarumba
As the industry resumes major capital-spending programs, utilities and their stakeholders are rightly concerned about the effects on prices. Traditional regulatory approaches expose utilities to risks and costs, and can bring rate shock when capital spending finally makes its way into customers’ bills. Pre-funding investments can provide a smoother on-ramp to bearing the costs of a 21st-Century utility system — but it also raises questions for utilities to address.
Playing favorites or ‘all of the above’?
Roger H. Bezdek and Robert M. Wendling
In the past 60 years, the U.S. government has invested in every part of the energy industry, through direct subsidies, tax incentives, regulatory mandates, research projects, etc. Quantifying the dollar impact is a complex task, but it’s necessary for understanding the realities of U.S. federal energy policy.
Can time-of-use rates drive the behavior of electric vehicle owners?
Time-of-use (TOU) pricing might seem like the ultimate solution to ensure electric vehicle charging loads won’t overburden the grid. But will TOU rates guide drivers’ behavior when it’s time to top up their batteries? Early indicators suggest the answer varies among vehicle owners and pricing plans.