Trending Topics – Resilience in a clean energy future

Resilience may be the most trending topic in today’s electricity sector.  The Department of Energy’s (DOE) report on baseload retirements impacts and subsequent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to subsidize baseload units for the resilience they allegedly provide the U.S. power system begged the question not only whether 90-days of fuel onsite improves resilience – but more fundamentally, what is resilience and how can it be measured? 

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Trending Topics – Wholesale markets need reform, but flexibility, not resilience, is the key

To reach a clean, resilient, affordable future, markets must evolve to value flexible resources – the key to reducing integration costs for variable resources. Two recent reports from America’s Power Plan (APP) outline how markets can evolve in the short- and long-term to cost-effectively integrate ever higher amounts of variable renewable generation like wind and solar.

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Analyses from diverse stakeholders show DOE’s proposed rule is off-base

On September 29, the Department of Energy released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) that would bail out unprofitable coal and nuclear plants.  It will be important to build a robust record that supports analysis from the DOE’s own report on reliability and resilience published in July—markets are more-than-adequately supporting reliability, and customers should benefit from lower costs as clean energy comes in to undercut other resources. In response, we offer some resources from the experts of America’s Power Plan and others.

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Trending Topics – Getting the most out of vehicle electrification

Last year America’s Power Plan published a five-step framework for getting the most out of grid modernization to ensure customers get the value promised from grid modernization investment programs.  Electrification is one subset of these efforts, and a similar approach (adding market development as a precursor) can help regulators prepare for immense market changes.  Getting the most out of vehicle electrification requires supporting market development, integrated distribution planning, defining goals, setting metrics, defining targets, and exploring changes to utility financial incentives.

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Trending Topics – Mind the “storage” gap: how much flexibility do we need in a high renewables future?

Imagine that we have built enough wind and solar power plants to supply 100 percent of the electricity a region like California or Germany consumes in a year. Sure, the wind and sun aren’t always available, so this system would need flexible resources that can fill in the gaps. Filling this gap is one of the principal flexibility challenges of a low-carbon grid. But what will that flexibility cost?

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Trending Topics – Secretary Perry, We Have Some Questions Too

In April, DOE Secretary Rick Perry issued a memorandum to his staff asking some pointed questions about the future of the electric grid as coal is retired off the system. The DOE’s publication of this memorandum presents an opportunity to uncover many outdated assumptions and understand the drivers behind the unstoppable transition from coal to other technologies. By taking each premise in turn and providing evidence-based analysis, we can see that the projected demise of coal will result in a cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy system.

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Trending Topics – How a Cold March Day in Texas Exposed the Value of Flexibility, and What Markets Can Learn

As the need for flexible resources grows, there will be an increasing number of bellwether events – or demand spikes due to unusual temperature changes or other events. Resource developers are likely to respond by building new resources that can capture this value on the spot market and through bilateral contracts with utilities. However, not all markets are structured to reward flexibility in the same way as in energy-only markets.

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Trending Topics – Getting the Most out of Grid Modernization

States and utilities around the country are considering new utility investments in modernizing the grid. As utilities come to the table for grid modernization funds in many states, regulators and stakeholders should start planning now to get ahead of the process and generate the most benefits from those investments. APP experts Sonia Aggarwal and Mike O’Boyle have laid out five steps utility regulators can take to ensure customers reap the benefits promised by a modern grid.

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