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News    |    2013

December 2013

Dr. Jim Williams and Dr. Fritz Kahrl of E3 joined with Orville Schell of the Asia Society and Trevor Houser of the Rhodium Group to develop a roadmap to advise California state government how best to work in collaboration with China to reduce the risk of climate change. Dr. Williams was a co-convenor of the Asia Society's inaugural meeting with many leading China energy and air pollution experts held on December 20 in San Francisco.

Dr. Jim Williams, Dr. Elaine Hart, Ben Haley, and Snuller Price presented their work on the PATHWAYS model, a tool developed at E3 for analyzing the technology requirements and cost of a low carbon transition, at the California Climate Policy Modeling (CCPM) Forum at U.C. Davis on December 16-17. Dr. Williams is on the steering committee of the CCPM.

E3 Partner Arne Olson was an invited speaker at the Harvard Electricity Policy Group's Seventy-Third Plenary Session on December 13, 2013 in Marana, Arizona. Mr. Olson participated in a panel with energy experts from Germany, Spain, Portugal and Belgium, providing a California perspective on the topic Reliance on Renewables: Clash Between Expectations and Reality"

Dr. C.K. Woo, Dr. Priya Sreedharan, Dr. Jeremy Hargreaves, and Dr. Fredrich Kahrl of E3 were co-authors on a recent paper "A review of electricity product differentiation" published in Applied Energy. This review is motivated by our recognition that an adequate and reliable electricity supply is a critical element in economic growth. From a customer's perspective, electricity has several distinct attributes: quality, reliability, time of use, consumption (kW h) volume, maximum demand (kW), and environmental impact. A differentiated product can be formed by packaging its non-price attributes at a commensurate price. The review weaves the academic literature with examples from the real world to address two substantive questions. We concluded that applying product differentiation to electricity can greatly induce end-users to more effectively and efficiently satisfy their demands upon the system, and to do so in an environmentally friendly way.

November 2013

E3 along with the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) and DE Solutions were selected by the U.S. DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to direct the Pacific Regional Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership (CHP-TAP), one of seven regional partnerships. The main purpose of the DOE regional partnerships is to increase the nation's clean energy capacity using cost-effective and energy efficient combined heat and power (CHP) systems. The TAPs promote the development of CHP by providing education and outreach, market development and technical assistance to a variety of stakeholders for evaluating the economic, energy, reliability and environmental value of proposed systems. The Pacific CHP-TAP will focus on CHP development in California, Nevada and Hawaii.

October 2013

E3 Chief Scientist Dr. Jim Williams gave two invited talks on low-carbon pathways modeling at the inception meeting of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network held in Seoul, Korea, October 12-13. Dr. Williams is on the coordinating committee of the DDPP, and is leading an E3-LBNL team developing U.S. low-carbon scenarios for the project.

E3 Managing Partner Dr. Ren Orans spoke at the Joint Meeting of the Committee on Regional Electric Power Cooperation (CREPC) and State-Provincial Steering Committee(SPSC) in San Diego, California on October 31, 2013. Dr. Orans presented with Dr. Carl Linvill, Principal at the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) to address the Committee's agenda topic "Future Utility Model Fact Finding - What are the Financial Impacts on Utilities?" Dr. Orans' presentation "A customer Side of the Meter Assessment" focused on four case studies of IOUs in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) region within the historical context of the utility business model.

September 2013

E3 conducted a study to evaluate the ratepayer impacts of the California net energy metering (NEM) program. This study fulfills the requirements of Assembly Bill (AB) 2514 (Bradford, 2012) [1] and Commission Decision (D.) 12-05-036 to determine "who benefits, and who bears the economic burden, if any, of the net energy metering program," by October 1, 2013. E3 developed three public models to inform the analysis: (1) the E3 NEM Bill Calculator calculates bill savings of NEM customers, (2) the E3 NEM Avoided Cost Model calculates the ratepayer costs that are avoided due to NEM generation, and (3) the E3 NEM Summary Tool combines and displays all of the costs and benefits of NEM. More information about using the E3 NEM Summary Tool can be found in Appendix F of the draft report. Appendix B contains details on the bill calculations, and Appendix C outlines the avoided cost methodology. Read the draft report and view models used to inform the analysis. [1] See Appendix G for further information about AB 2514

E3 has been selected for the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) and State-Provincial Steering Committee's Western Natural Gas - Electric Infrastructure and System Flexibility Assessment project. There will be two phases of the project over approximately a 9 month period. Phase 1 will address natural gas infrastructure adequacy to meet the needs of the electric industry in the Western Interconnection, and Phase 2 will address operational level issues to meet electric industry requirements.

WIEB announces: "E3 enjoys a strong reputation in the West for their forward thinking methodologies and quality work. They have worked with a number of entities in the West including SPSC, WECC, WEIL, CPUC, CEC, and CAISO. More recently, E3 has developed new software and case studies that puts them at the forefront of modeling the operational challenges of high renewable energy penetration scenarios. E3 has partnered with GL Noble Denton (GL) for the gas modeling. GL is a diverse company that offers a range of engineering consultancy services to the oil and gas, pipeline and utility industries. They serve clients worldwide and a number of their clients, including natural gas transportation clients, are in the West." For the full WIEB announcement visit www.westgov.org/news/74-news-2006/90-western-governors-warn-reliability-of-electricity-grid-at-risk-121806

E3 Partner Arne Olson served as a panelist for two forums in the Pacific Northwest. Mr. Olson was a presenter and panelist at the Northwest Power and Conservation Council-California Power Markets Symposium in Portland, Oregon on September 5, 2013. Mr. Olson gave presentations on two panels. His presentations were titled "After 2020: Prospects for Higher RPS Levels in California" and "Determining Flexible Capacity Needs for the CAISO Area.". For Symposium details: www.nwcouncil.org/energy/powerplan/7/symposiums/ca-market/.

On September 6th, Mr. Olson served as a panelist along with other key leaders of the California power industry at the Pacific Northwest Utility Conference Committee (PNUCC) "California Power Industry Roundtable."

August 2013

Dr. Nancy E. Ryan, who joined E3 earlier this year as Director of Policy and Strategy, was a featured speaker at the Western Power Trading Forum's (WPTF) Western Power Issues Roundtable held in Washington DC on August 9, 2013. Dr. Ryan offered her perspective on prospects for implementing a centralized capacity market in California. Her remarks were grounded in her experience in several high level appointed positions at the California Public Utilities Commission during 2006 to 2013. The WPTF has over sixty member organizations including investment banks, energy traders, merchant generators, utilities and developers from throughout North America.

E3 and Viridity Energy recently issued their Task 6-8 Report "Strategies and incentives for integration of renewable generation using distributed energy resources - A case study based on the University of California, San Diego" for the California Solar Initiative RD&D Project and is now posted on the California Solar Research website. They found that UCSD DER dispatch strategies are technically feasible and can be cost-effective, but current tariff designs inhibit their performance, and net cost-savings are small relative to total campus resource costs. For each renewables integration strategy, they modeled and evaluated the cost-effectiveness of alternative incentive, tariff and resource dispatch cases. Their findings suggest alternative incentive mechanisms and engagement strategies beyond direct load participation and dynamic pricing strategies currently under consideration are needed. See presentation and webinar summarizing their findings.

July 2013

Dr. Priya Sreedharan of E3 recently returned from field work in remote villages of India with little or no connectivity to existing electrical grids. This field work supported a study being conducted for Azure Power, a solar power developer in India, in which the feasibility of off-grid solar PV microgrids are being explored for rural communities. The work falls under the auspices of a USTDA grant award to Azure. The team met with the community and conducted detailed surveys, and engaged with the state renewable agencies. They explored the opportunities and challenges for solar PV microgrids in these communities. The information collected will be used to complete the development of a business model for these microgrids. The field work was led by Richard Engel of the Schatz Energy Research Center and was supported, in addition to E3, by Varesh Energy of New Delhi.

Top left frame, from left: Team members Richard Engel (Schatz Energy Resource Center), Varun Agarwal (Varesh Energy), Brendon Mendonca (Schatz Energy Research Center), Aditi Jain (Varesh Energy), Priya Sreedharan (E3).
Top right frame far right: Shobhit Goel (Varesh Energy).
Bottom right frame, 2nd from left: Neelu Choudhary (Varesh Energy)

Dr. Fredrich Kahrl, Gabe Kwok, and Dr. Jim Williams of E3 were co-authors on a recent paper, "Using Natural Gas Generation to Improve Power System Efficiency in China" published in Energy Policy. The paper finds that, although it is commonly argued that natural gas-fired generation is not cost-competitive in China, these arguments ignore the different roles - peaking, load following, and baseload generation - that natural gas generation plays in power systems. Using a detailed generation cost model and a case study from Guangxi Province, the paper argues that natural gas is, in fact, cost-competitive for peaking generation in China, and that using natural gas generation in this role would lead to overall improvements in power system efficiency. The largest barrier to using gas-fired generation for peaking generation in China is generation pricing, which could be addressed through modest reforms to support low capacity factor generation.

Dr. Fredrich Kahrl, Gabe Kwok, and Dr. Jim Williams of E3 were co-authors on a recent paper, "Strategies for Expanding Natural Gas-fired Electricity Generation in China: Economics and Policy" published in Energy Strategy Reviews. Based on a detailed generation cost model, the paper analyzes the changes necessary to increase the share of natural gas-fired generation in China's electricity mix, focusing on load following and baseload generation. While natural gas is not currently cost-competitive with coal for load following and baseload generation, it could become so with policy strategies that lead to relatively modest (10-30%) decreases in relative capital costs and fuel prices, particularly if a small price of around $5 to $15 per tonne CO2 were imposed on CO2 emissions.

June 2013

E3 Consultants Eric Cutter and Ben Haley have developed and improved the Energy Storage Valuation Tool (ESVT) for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for the past several years. Earlier this week the ESVT simulation software was used by EPRI to perform Cost-Effectiveness evaluation of approximately 30 cases in the California Public Utilities Commission regulatory proceeding investigating Energy Storage in California. EPRI's abstract is available here, and a Greentech Media article on the ESVT can be viewed here.

May 2013

E3 was retained by Portland General Electric (PGE) to assist PGE and a group of stakeholders with PGE's 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). E3's primary task was to develop, in consultation with the stakeholder group and PGE, one or more potential low-carbon portfolios for PGE to evaluate using its IRP tools in 2013.

April 2013

Energy + Environmental Economics, Inc. is delighted to announce that Dr. Nancy E. Ryan has joined the firm as Director of Policy and Strategy. Dr. Ryan is an economist with over two decades of experience in energy and environmental policy. Her career path has included positions in government, academia, advocacy and the private sector.

"Dr. Ryan's extensive experience and diverse professional background will bring a new strategic dimension to E3's services for both our public and private-sector clients" noted E3 Managing Partner Dr. Ren Orans, adding that "she has a demonstrated track record of solving tough problems that will be a tremendous asset to our clients."

Said Dr. Ryan, "With its deep technical expertise and broad client base, E3 provides an ideal platform for me to pursue my passion for promoting a future that is both environmentally and economically sustainable." The E3 team consists of more than 25 energy industry professionals with extensive industry experience and a long history of successful projects and thought leadership, as exhibited in E3's many leading-edge academic publications.

Most recently, Dr. Ryan held a series of senior appointed positions at the California Public Utilities Commission, including Deputy Executive Director for Policy and External Relations (2011-2013), Commissioner (2010-2011), and Chief of Staff to President Michael R. Peevey (2007-2009). During her tenure at the CPUC, Dr. Ryan guided development of California's trailblazing policies in renewable energy, smart grid, energy storage, electric transportation and long term planning and procurement. She also worked closely with senior officials from the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, the California Independent System Operator and the administrations of Governors Brown and Schwarzenegger to devise strategies to achieve California's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets and develop regulations implementing California's cap and trade program for the electric sector.

Before joining the CPUC, she was Senior Economist and Deputy California Director at the Environmental Defense Fund, where she led advocacy efforts focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and power plants, curbing air pollution from diesel engines, and restoring rivers and watersheds. She has also worked as a consultant in the energy field and for many years taught applied economics at UC Berkeley's Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy. From 1991-1993 she was an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Commerce at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Ryan received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a BA in Economics from Yale University.

For more information about Dr. Ryan please refer to http://www.ethree.com/about/ryan.php

On April 9, E3 Chief Scientist Jim Williams spoke to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network chaired by noted economist Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Jim was invited to discuss the recent paper by E3 and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Science, "The Technology Path to Deep Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions by 2050." Dr. Sachs called the paper "the best single study" on the long-term transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy, and urged that similar studies be conducted for "every country on the planet in the next two years."

Above: Dr. Jeffrey Sachs (L), Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, greets E3 Chief Scientist Dr. Jim Williams at an April meeting of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network in New York.

March 2013

At Stanford University, E3 Managing Partner Ren Orans, Chief Scientist Jim Williams, and Affiliate Joel Swisher co-taught a winter semester course on electric utiilty planning in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This unique, first-time course drew 35 graduate students, who learned about planning from experienced experts, and worked together in small groups to conduct their semester projects: complete integrated resource plans for utilities in the western U.S.

February 2013

Dr. C. K. Woo and Dr. Fredrich Kahrl of E3 were co-authors in a recent paper, "What moves wind energy development in China? Show me the money!" published in Applied Energy. This paper finds that the most important drivers of wind energy investment in China are perceived to be those that can have an immediate impact on a wind energy developer's cash flow: government financial assistance, easy and inexpensive transmission access, wind energy cost decline, and a high feed-in-tariff. None of these drivers are directly tied to energy output, which suggests that China's wind energy policies must be modified to incentivize energy output, rather than just installed capacity.

Dr. C. K. Woo and Mr. Gabe Kwok of E3 were co-authors in a recent paper "A Win-Win Mechanism for Electricity Procurement by a Local Distribution Company" published in the Electricity Journal. This paper finds that a time-of-use rate option design allowing a local distribution company's customers to allocate their consumption to be billed at the fixed and daily-varying TOU rates offers a win-win mechanism for electricity procurement in the face of uncertain spot prices and hedging options.

E3 Partner Arne Olson is an invited speaker at the 3 Interconnections Meeting: Facing the Future with Interconnection-wide Planning on February 6, 2013 in Washington, DC. The 3 Interconnections Meeting is sponsored by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the U.S. Department of Energy. Mr. Olson will discuss the effects of Technology Advances and Carbon Regulation on long-term interconnection-wide transmission planning efforts.

January 2013

On January 23, 2013, E3, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Davis Energy Group led a workshop in Oakland, CA to describe the progress and achievements under a California Solar Initiative (CSI) and Pacific Gas and Electric funded project focused on developing analysis tools for low energy California homes. This project focused on enhancing NREL's residential Building Energy Optimization software, BEopt, to support analysis of optimal whole-home retrofits/designs for California. The tool was also enhanced to provide utility cost effectiveness analysis so that it can be used more directly in the energy efficiency framework of the California Public Utility Commission. BEopt provides capabilities to evaluate residential building designs and identify cost-optimal efficiency packages at various levels of whole-house energy savings along the path to zero net energy.

Dr. Fredrich Kahrl, Dr. James H. Williams, and Dr. Priya Sreedharan of E3 were key authors in a recent Berkshire Publishing Group article "Utilities Regulation and Energy Efficiency". This article examines and compares the experiences, plans, and challenges of existing and nascent utility-based energy efficiency programs in China, India, and Thailand.

E3 has received a USTDA grant award "India: Rural Micro-Grid Solar Power Project" to support a feasibility study for Azure Power, a private sector solar power developer based in India. The feasibility study will assess the development of a rural micro-grid solar power project that will bring electricity to remote villages in India. Azure aims to set up over 100 micro-grid solar systems, with each system covering an average of 2-3 acres of rural land with little or no connectivity to existing electrical grids. E3 will work with Mr. Inderpreet Wadhwa, COO, Azure Power and Mr. Rajni Bhandari, Manager for Business Development, Azure Power. Dr. Priya Sreedharan and Mr. Snuller Price of E3 will lead this world class team that includes Humboldt State University's Schatz Energy Research Center, Black and Veatch, Varesh Energy, Chris Greacen, Christopher Freitas, & Ranjit Deshmukh.