It is enough to make utility executives wake up in a cold sweat each and every night: Growth in electricity demand has essentially flatlined and it shows no signs of returning. EIA’s latest forecast (see chart below) showing growth at about 1 percent annually through 2040 is worrisome enough. But it may be about to get even worse.
In a little-noticed report released earlier this month, Navigant Research projected that residential utility customers will invest “more than $625 billion cumulatively, in DER [distributed energy resources] from 2014 through 2023.’’ Now, while that is a global total, it is still a lot of money in anybody’s book.
Continue reading Load Growth Woes
Likely Keeping Execs
Up At Night
The utility industry has launched what amounts to an all-out attack on net energy metering, under which customers receive credit for power they generate on-site and feed back into their utility’s distribution system.
In a report issued earlier this month, the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation (offshoots of EEI, the industry trade association) took aim at the net energy metering program in California, where roughly 120,000 customers (both residential and non-residential) are enrolled in the state’s NEM tariff, and found it, shall we say, lacking.
“The legitimate purpose of a subsidy is to provide an incentive to pursue a desirable public policy. Subsidies should not be overly generous; the amount of the subsidy should be transparent; and the recipient of the subsidy should be clearly identified. As our analysis demonstrates, the current NEM regulatory approach in California fails all three tests,” IEI concluded. The report, Net Energy Metering: Subsidy Issues and Regulatory Solutions, can be found here.
Continue reading Time For Utilities
Critics of EPA’s pending carbon dioxide regulations harp on the same tired phrases: “The control technology isn’t commercially available.’’ “The rules will cost too much.’’ “The regulations will devastate the coal industry and force utilities to close their coal plants.’’ At hearing after hearing on Capitol Hill this year, these tropes have been tossed out as fact by critical congressmen and industry officials—but are they? Is the control technology available? How much will it cost? And what impact will it have on the coal and utility industries?
The Importance of Technology
We will get to those questions in a minute, but first I want you to look carefully at the chart below and tell me what’s missing. Take your time, it’s important.
Figured it out yet? Well, if not, don’t be ashamed, it really is just an indicator of how quickly technology can change the status quo. What’s missing is the state of Pennsylvania.
Continue reading Utility Industry Is
Wasting Time, Money
In Opposing CO2 Rules
Just weeks after announcing plans to build an innovative solar/storage project in Rutland, VT, Green Mountain Power is at it again. On Tuesday, the company—whose motto is to be the “best small utility in America’’—unveiled a partnership with NRG Energy that may be the first step toward creating a new utility business model for the future—one that embraces distributed generation and customer involvement.
The GMP-NRG partnership will focus initially on Rutland as well, but the companies have much bigger goals in mind once the 2015 rollout is completed, planning to expand throughout the Green Mountain state and serve, in essence, as a template for the electric utility of the future.
Continue reading GMP-NRG Partnership
Looks To Create
New Utility Model