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October 2015On October 30, Nick Schlag and Arne Olson of E3 presented Western Interconnection Flexibility Assessment results from the WECC Flexibility Assessment at the Joint CREPC-SPSC-WIRAB Meeting in San Diego. The WECC Flexibility Assessment investigates the impacts of high penetrations of renewable resources in the West upon operations and the implications of these changes for flexibility planning. The results of the study reinforce many conclusions that have been reached by prior studies of renewable integration, most notably: (1) renewable curtailment becomes a necessary tool to provide reliable at high penetrations, and (2) improved regional coordination can mitigate operational challenges under high penetrations. A final report on the study will be released in December.
Dr. Nancy Ryan, E3's Senior Director of Policy and Strategy, addressed the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) 2015 California event. Speaking to an audience of 300 professionals from clean energy companies, utilities and regulatory agencies, Dr. Ryan highlighted key findings from E3's recent analysis for Governor Brown and his Energy Principals on California Pathways: Long-Term Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scenarios for California. The main message of our work, she explained, is that meeting Governor Brown's goal of reducing California's GHG emissions to 40% below the 1990 level is feasible with technologies that are available today. Nor is it necessary to sacrifice the reliability of our electric system or our lifestyles and living standards. What is daunting, Dr. Ryan observed, is the scale and scope of the transformation of California's economy. Four key transformations are needed in the energy system by 2030: doubling the current rate of energy efficiency improvements, increasing renewable energy's share of our electricity supply to at least 50%, electrification of vehicles and equipment, and replacing fossil fuels with biofuels of decarbonized gas. This transformation will open huge new markets for the clean tech companies leading the way to the advanced energy economy. With this opportunity comes the challenge to offer products that are not just cleaner than today's options, but are also cheaper and better quality, so they become the natural choice for consumers. E3 was proud to be a Gold level sponsor for the AEE event.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released the final version of its Clean Power Plan, a rule that uses section 111d of the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation's electric sector. E3 consultants Lucy McKenzie, Ren Orans, Jim Williams and Amber Mahone in December 2015 authored Strengthening the Clean Power Plan: Three Key Opportunities for the EPA, an Electricity Journal piece outlining three key opportunities for the EPA to strengthen the Plan, spread the burden more equitably amongst states, and put the nation on the path to necessary emissions reductions by 2050. Many of the changes in the EPA's final rule are consistent with E3's recommendations, and E3 looks forward to working with stakeholders and states as they plan for compliance and the energy transitions ahead.
E3 is pleased to announce a new partnership with Baringa Partners, one of Europe's leading management consulting firms. The new collaboration combines E3 and Baringa's extensive expertise in energy system modeling, providing multinational companies with unique insights into the strategic implications of deep decarbonization at a global level. While using the partnership to broaden E3's technical support services to Europe, the two organizations are also working together on projects which explore the implications of new technologies on future market and energy system design. Duncan Sinclair, Partner at Baringa Partners commented: "This exciting new partnership will allow us to provide deep-sector knowledge to global markets and access the latest technology and market design thinking from California. Our clients are already benefiting from the combined expertise that we are applying to some new exciting opportunities we are currently working on." Ren Orans, Managing Partner at E3 added: "Both our companies have the ability to provide deep sector expertise to the global energy markets but we will be even stronger with our capabilities combined. It will be a great pleasure to work more closely with Baringa so we can create new opportunities and offer innovative solutions that support the energy industry." Read Baringa News
On May 13, E3 Chief Scientist Dr. Jim Williams gave an invited talk on "Deep Decarbonization of the United States" in the Chair's Lecture Series at the California Air Resources Board. The talk was based on a recent landmark study by E3, LBNL, and PNNL, which featured a detailed sector-by-sector, region-by-region, year-by-year analysis of the infrastructure changes, technology requirements, and costs of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. On March 26, Dr. Williams also spoke on this subject to a sold-out audience at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco; a podcast of this talk is available here.
On May 6th, E3 presented at a workshop held in New Delhi the results of a study identifying business models for rooftop solar and other distributed energy resource models for the Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) The workshop was attended by several regulators, developers, financial institutions, non-profits and research organizations, including the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. The study identifies the value of rooftop solar over time and illustrates how TPDDL is positioned to overcome the challenges to solar market growth. Complementary benefits of other DER (namely energy efficiency and demand response) are identified and alternative policies to Net Energy Metering that can mitigate cross-subsidies in the long term are shown. E3 described how India's relatively young rooftop solar industry can leapfrog beyond western countries in terms of interconnection processes, attention to monitoring and quality control, and incentive structures. The workshop was led by Dr. Priya Sreedharan and Ms. Amy Wagner of E3 and officiated by Mr. Praveer Sinha, CEO and Executive Director of TPDDL. The study is expected to be released publicly by early June.
E3 created a public tool to evaluate the impacts of a successor to the existing net energy metering (NEM) tariff for eligible renewable customer-generators for the CPUC. The tool was created in response to Assembly Bill (AB) 327 (Perea) that directs the Commission to develop a standard tariff or contract for renewable customer-generators that ensures that customer-sited renewable generation continues to grow sustainably and that the total benefits to all customers are approximately equal to the total costs. The Public Tool produces SPM cost-test results and distributed energy resource (DER) adoption forecasts under different user-defined policy scenarios, rate designs, and NEM successor tariffs. More information is available here.
A growing number of auto-makers have introduced plug-in electric vehicles in California and other markets. Industry observers generally agree that ready availability of charging infrastructure is crucial to realize widespread consumer adoption. Utilities are well suited to facilitate vehicle electrification, but few have progressed beyond small-scale pilots. In a new paper "Engaging Utilities and Regulators on Transportation Electrification" Dr. Nancy Ryan and Luke Lavin of E3 present the case for increased utility engagement, demonstrating that electrification of passenger vehicles could benefit utility customers, shareholders, and vehicle drivers.
E3 presented the results of a new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction study for California's energy and environmental regulators at the UC Davis California Climate Policy Modeling Dialogue. The study was prepared for the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, the California Independent System Operator and the Office of Governor Brown. E3 evaluated the feasibility and cost of a range of potential 2030 GHG targets along the way to meeting the state's goal of reducing GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. A PowerPoint report summarizing the scenario results, along with supporting data, are available here.
E3 in collaboration with a world class team has released a study, "Assessing the business case for rural solar microgrids in India: a case study approach", funded by a USTDA grant in support of Azure Power, a private solar power developer based in India. E3 was awarded the grant through a competitive process. The project developed the technical and business solutions for AC-based microgrids, using two Indian villages (Bar in Chhattisgarh and Devari Bharat in Uttar Pradesh) as case studies, and presents recommendations and conditions necessary to scale up microgrid solutions more broadly across rural India. The report can be downloaded here. The study was led by Dr. Priya Sreedharan of E3 in collaboration with Humboldt State University's Schatz Energy Research Center, Black and Veatch USA and India, Varesh Energy, Dr. Chris Greacen, Christopher Freitas, and Ranjit Deshmukh. Contributing authors include E3's Ryan Jones, Michele Chait, Dr. Fritz Kahrl and Snuller Price; Black and Veatch's Jagmeet Khangura and Atul Garg; Humboldt State University's Richard Engel, Brendon Mendonca, Tom Quetchenbach, Meg Harper and Dr. Arne Jacobson; Varesh's Shobhit Goel and Varun Aggarwal.
Two recent presentations at the North American Carbon Program conference in Washington D.C. highlight E3's work on greenhouse mitigation analysis and climate policy. Dr. Margaret Torn of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) gave a plenary speech to several hundred carbon scientists and researchers on E3 and LBNL's work on Deep Decarbonization Pathways in the United States. Amber Mahone, E3's Director of Climate Policy Analysis, discussed recent developments in California climate policy to the conference participants. Both presentations are available on the NACP website.
E3 released a study commissioned by Southern California Gas investigating the use of decarbonized pipeline gas to meet the State's long term Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction goals. The study demonstrates a feasible low-carbon gas scenario and identifies the advantages of incorporating decarbonized gas into the energy and technology portfolio.