CPUC Seeks Comment on Proposed Incentive Framework for Distributed Energy Resources

On April 4, 2016, Commissioner Florio of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a Commissioner Ruling seeking comment on a proposed pilot regulatory incentive structure. The program is designed to both encourage the expanded deployment of distributed energy resources (DERs) by California’s investor owned utilities (IOUs) and compensate IOU shareholders for the reduced return resulting from displacement of IOU capital investment by DERs.  The proposal is significant because it is an attempt by California regulators to harmonize aspects of the traditional utility business model with the societal benefits of increased DERs, benefits which can be otherwise difficult to quantify in a utility’s cost-benefit analysis. Continue Reading

State Regulators Consider Changes to Net Metering Programs with Differing Results

PV net metering programs generally follow a basic model. The PV system installed by (or for) the net metering customer produces energy that reduces the customer’s usage and, as a result, the customer’s monthly electricity bill.  If the customer’s usage exceeds the energy produced by the PV system, the customer draws additional energy from the grid and is charged for such energy at the applicable rate.  If energy produced by the PV system exceeds the customer’s usage, the excess energy is fed into the grid and credited toward the customer’s monthly bill by the utility (typically, at the same rate that the customer would have paid to purchase energy from the grid). Continue Reading

State-Level Energy Storage Developments

Increased penetration of renewable resources, the retirement of coal and nuclear power plants, and other factors have resulted in a substantial shift in the location and capabilities of energy resources in many markets. At the same time, states with renewable energy portfolios or other policies encouraging renewables, such as net metering, have seen a substantial increase in the penetration of renewable resources.  When combined, these factors have focused attention on grid stability and the need for not just energy and capacity but ancillary services. Continue Reading

California Net Metering in Flux

Rooftop solar is growing fast in California. Currently, solar constitutes about 3.8%, 3.4%, and 2.8% of generation capacity in the respective service territories of San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison. At the current rate, all three utilities would expect solar to be more than 5% of generation capacity within the next few years. Continue Reading

What is LMP – G? Compensation to Demand Response in Wholesale Electricity Markets

The Supreme Court of the United States is set to hear arguments on two questions concerning demand response. This blog entry discusses the second question before the court, concerning the level of compensation to demand response. This blog entry assumes federal jurisdiction to determine compensation for demand response, the subject of the first question before the court.
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