Electricity Policy

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Last updateThu, 21 May 2015 6pm

ISSN 2331-1223 Facebook Twitter

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Tipping Point for Transactive Energy: The Evolving Industry’s Policy and Technical Challenges

Tipping Point for Transactive Energy: The Evolving Industry’s Policy and Technical Challenges

By Mark Knight, Tom Sloan, Carl Zichella

Among visions of a more interactive grid with multilateral supplier and customer interactions, transactive energy is perhaps the most promising. There are more questions than answers at this point, but policies to guide its implementation are being developed.

I. What Is Transactive Energy?

I

n its Transactive Energy Framework, the GridWise Architecture Council (GWAC) defines transactive energy as “a system of economic and control mechanisms that allows the dynamic balance of supply and demand across the entire electrical infrastructure using value as a key operational parameter.” For many people transactive energy delineates a communications and business model through which electric customers interact with their utility to buy and sell electricity—or forego its use—based on economic and reliability signals. In a transactive energy system each participant chooses to take action (or not) based upon the monetary or other value to them of that action.

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An Interview with Infrastructure Guru, Farmer, and Kansas State Representative Tom Sloan

An Interview with Infrastructure Guru, Farmer, and Kansas State Representative Tom Sloan

 By Leah Y Parks

Transactive energy—some call it demand response on steroids—actually promises to be more than that, but it’s a concept that’s still being defined, refined, and proven. Many believe it will open the door to a new relationship between utilities and their customers.

EP: What drew you to attend and speak at this rather tech-oriented conference?

TS: I’m here because I’m a member of GWAC and because I want to stay abreast of technology that will help us to maintain a healthy electricity infrastructure in the future. New forces are putting pressure on the utility industry and transforming the way we use, produce, and distribute electricity. This transformation is putting pressure to change the way we will buy and sell electricity as well.

The decreasing costs of rooftop solar energy, ground-source heat pumps, and the increasing prevalence of smart apps that people can use to monitor their appliances or businesses—these are new tools. There is pressure on us to do better, and we can be greener and more reliant on efficiency and renewable energy. I believe we will be moving to a more distributed model where consumers both produce as well as consume electricity, and I believe a smart and transactive grid can help us manage that change.

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Cyber-risk, Standards, and Best Practices

Cyber-risk, Standards, and Best Practices

By Paul Feldman and Dan Hill

The electric power industry needs a transparent, funded, independent, dedicated, focused Best Practices effort.  If we want to achieve appropriate mitigation levels to protect industry infrastructure against cyber attacks we should do no less. 
T

he subject of cybersecurity is not only here to stay but will grow in importance over time.  The literature is already filled with summaries of various attacks of all varieties—right up to nation-state mini-attacks  such as the North Korean 2014 attack on Sony.  The literature is abundant with suggestions as to what to do to protect against cyber attacks—from the simple “don’t click on unknown email links”—to the sophisticated response that requires a small army of experts to implement.

Download a PDF of this article? Click here.

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Integrating Variable Resources in the Pacific Northwest

Integrating Variable Resources in the Pacific Northwest

By Jeremy Eckstein

With storage too costly at present, Pacific Northwest utilities needing operating flexibility are weighing the relative advantages of demand response programs and establishing or joining a regional energy imbalance market.
I

n this paper I explore what sources of electricity system flexibility are likely to be adopted in Oregon and Washington in order to manage predicted increases in renewable energy.  Although it is Northwest-centric in its focus and industry review, I believe it has relevance to US markets in general, as renewables integration and the search for greater system flexibility is of wide and growing interest.  I also explore policy options to encourage adoption of these technologies.

Download a PDF of this article? Click here.

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Will U.S. Utilities Experience an Energy Transition Similar to Germany’s?

Will U.S. Utilities Experience an Energy Transition Similar to Germany’s?

By Bob Gibson

Changes in the structure of the evolving electricity markets of the U.S. and Germany may make national differences in policy and public perception irrelevant, as new technologies take hold.

 

W

hen E.ON, one of Europe’s largest utilities, announced in December that it would spin off its conventional power generation business into a separate entity and refocus on renewables, energy efficiency and grid operations, an obvious question arose: Could similar transitions be coming to utilities in the United States?  In a word, yes.

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Electricity Daily

SunEdison’s proposal wins SCE contract to add 33 MW of rooftop PV to local grid

SunEdison’s proposal wins SCE contract to add 33 MW of rooftop PV to local grid

May 22, 2015 -- SunEdison announced yesterday that it was awarded contracts to build 33 MW of rooftop solar with Southern California Edison in the utility’s latest round of solar procurement. The solar installations will be built on rooftops throughout the Orange County’s vast industrial corridors as part of SCE's plan to upgrade and modernize the local grid for customers in densely populated metro ar...

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NRC refers Diablo Canyon licensing change issue to Safety Licensing Board

NRC refers Diablo Canyon licensing change issue to Safety Licensing Board

In a 3-1 ruling yesterday, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission referred to the Atomic Safety Licensing Board the determination of whether Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was allowed illegally to alter the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant operating license, as Friends of the Earth alleged in its petition to the commission seeking at least the plant’s temporary closure. Friends of the Earth has said that PG&...

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EEI and its members seek partnerships with technology firms to improve the grid

EEI and its members seek partnerships with technology firms to improve the grid

Investor-owned utilities and top brass at the Edison Electric Institute who see major change coming to the industry are eager to pair with new players—often technology firms—who can help utilities navigate the roiling seas of an industry that’s transforming itself. That message came through loud and clear at the recent 1776 Challenge Festival, of which EEI was a co-sponsor. Tony Earley , president and...

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Climate change…and a memory lapse?

Climate change…and a memory lapse?

President Obama has made a serious and passionate commitment to halt the advance of climate change, to the point of making it a touchstone of his administration. At considerable cost to his popularity in Coal Country USA and the political careers of many fellow Democrats, the president has, in the eyes of the not-so-loyal opposition, been waging a war on coal in an effort to shrink the growth of ca...

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Connecticut will make illegal marketers’ offerings of ‘deceptive’ variable rates

Connecticut will make illegal marketers’ offerings of ‘deceptive’ variable rates

Connecticut residents would be protected from deceptive variable electric rate offerings under a bill that was unanimously approved Wednesday night in the state Senate. Amid evidence that some energy marketers are taking advantage of less-savvy consumers, including the elderly, the bill heads next to the House, where it is expected to pass. The legislation would build on reforms signed into law la...

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Six studies show cost differences in carbon plan; all say efficiency is cheapest

Six studies show cost differences in carbon plan; all say efficiency is cheapest

May 21, 2015 -- An analysis of six studies that modeled the effect of the Environmental Protection Agency ’s Clean Power Plan found wide variation among their predicted effect on power rates, stemming from their respective assumptions. One common thread to all the studies was that energy efficiency is the cheapest resource to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (...

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Editorials

Western utilities and agencies go regional to boost operations and policy goals

Western utilities and agencies go regional to boost operations and policy goals

Say what you will about the Environmental Protection Agency ’s proposed Clean Power Plan—and many have—it has got states and utilities thinking regionally. How can we plan and operate our systems more effectively? Could we achieve the draft plan’s carbon reductions with lower cost and less disruption than proceeding state-by-state?

Among the logical organizations to answer these questions are the inf...

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Water and wires: Canaries in the coal mine?

Water and wires: Canaries in the coal mine?

California—that unruly teenager, growthy and charming. Handsome and a bit out of control. We love it, don’t we? Some of us do. Some envy it. Some hate it. Some just disdain it. Some want to be it.

But California is us. It’s part of us. It’s where most of our entertainment comes from. More importantly, it’s where much of our food comes from. And when we see what’s happening with the state’s water, a...

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Unsolicited advice for EPA on Its Clean Power Plan: Encourage regional compliance

Unsolicited advice for EPA on Its Clean Power Plan: Encourage regional compliance

Two regional transmission organizations—PJM and MISO—were asked by their constituencies to assess whether compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon-cutting Clean Power Plan might be achieved more cost-effectively if planned on a region-wide rather than on a state-by-state basis.

Each RTO analyzed the problem preliminarily and each found that several billion dollars might be saved...

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Guest editorial: Demand response and electricity market reform: What next?

Guest editorial: Demand response and electricity market reform: What next?

Responding to the excellent paper by Peter Cappers and Andy Satchwell, “ Considerations for State Regulators and Policymakers in a Post-FERC Order 745 World ,” we want to share a conversation that transpired at a recent conference that addressed the issues of reliability in organized markets, the uncertain future for demand response, and what level of government—state or federal—should oversee it. T...

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The virtuous circle of infrastructure investment— a win, win, win proposition

The virtuous circle of infrastructure investment— a win, win, win proposition

In President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1955 State of the Union speech, he said, “A modern highway system is essential to meet the needs of our growing population, our expanding economy, and our national security.” Eisenhower led the movement to develop the interstate highway system that links the US, making vehicle travel for transportation, tourism, and the greater economy so accessible that we take...

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Three cheers for state regulators, in Connecticut and elsewhere

Three cheers for state regulators, in Connecticut and elsewhere

State utility regulators are a hard-working lot. They have a tough job and an underappreciated one.

State commission budgets and staff aren’t what they should be. Their resources are unequal to those of the companies they’re supposed to regulate.

The mind-numbing details buried in rate cases, and planning and mergers and other proceedings are not light reading.

Thus, ill-tempered remarks  from Connecti...

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