Distribution utilities could become an important source of renewable funding.
Distribution utilities are well positioned to provide tax equity for renewable projects, but some state laws prevent it. Tapping the potential will require progressive leadership by utility executives and regulators.
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.
Michigan chafes over regional grid planning, providing a policy lesson for the feds.
High prices have turned Michigan against regional planning -- a possible foretaste of what to expect under FERC Order 1000.
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.
Utilities sound the alarm as PV nears grid parity.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
A growing wave of rooftop PV projects is starting to look ominous to some utilities. Will lawmakers accept utilities’ warnings at face value—or will they suspect they’re crying wolf?
Generators fight back against EPA’s new regulations
With a flurry of major new environmental regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is altering the power generation landscape. But will the new federal rules survive court challenges—to say nothing of next year’s national elections? Fortnightly's Michael T. Burr considers the controversy over new environmental standards. PLUS: Top Utility Lawyers of 2011.
Preparing the grid for large-scale renewables.
With large solar arrays and wind farms being proposed to connect to transmission and sub-transmission systems, are utility companies sufficiently prepared to handle the challenge of integrating these large intermittent resources? The industry now must decide whether transmission reliability factors — most notably dynamic voltage support and system frequency management — need to be resolved by renewable generators, or whether they should become a cost of doing business for transmission providers and reliability coordinators.
Integrating renewables in New York.
New York has developed new market mechanisms intended to effectively incorporate large amounts of renewable energy in the future — up to six times the current levels of intermittent energy without impacting system reliability. New York ISO executive Rana Mukerji explains how the market will drive new investment in renewable energy in the state.
Understanding the value of pumped storage.
Pumped-storage technology allows utilities to defer the time value of energy, but project developers have struggled to make their economics work. Increased demand for ancillary services and standby capacity might make pumped storage more viable.
As green mandates tighten, utilities scramble to comply.
Mandatory renewable portfolio standards are becoming the norm. But after low-hanging green fruits are harvested, renewable power might get scarce. Many utilities will struggle to meet RPS requirements until lawmakers create stable federal policies and a national market for green credits.