Emission trading is coming to prominence as a key market-based tool in state efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, including decarbonization of the electricity sector. Among recent actions Washington has enacted legislation to implement an economy-wide cap-and-invest system, becoming the second state to have a comprehensive carbon-pricing program, and Pennsylvania has adopted rulemaking for a carbon trading program covering the power sector.
Demand response (DR) portfolios of electric utilities across the U.S. continue to expand as they refine their programs and explore new options to support grid reliability in response to the changing resource mix. The role of DR in planning and operations is expected to increase as the resource mix continues to evolve with increasing generation from natural gas, wind, solar, battery storage, and other emerging distributed energy technologies.
Visual Primer: EV Infrastructure Proliferates as States Electrify Transportation to Meet Decarbonization Goals
Measures to expand electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure are moving expeditiously driven by state zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) goals and decarbonization mandates. Among recent actions, Washington has adopted legislation requiring a mapping tool to plan charging infrastructure investments, while New Jersey is exploring an EV charging ecosystem for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. A handful of states have adopted measures to exempt charging station operators from regulatory oversight.
States are exploring ways to utilize the multiple benefits that energy storage provides to the grid, from enabling the increased penetration of renewable resources and reducing dependence on emitting generation, to bolstering reliability.
Visual Primer: States Oblige Utilities to Join Regional Transmission Organizations to Accommodate More Renewables
Clean energy mandates and goals adopted by U.S. states and utilities are driving efforts to plan and build out the transmission infrastructure needed to accommodate the exponential growth of wind and solar to facilitate power sector decarbonization.
Visual Primer: Performance-Based Regulation Expands to Advance Clean Energy Transition, Serve Social Goals
Performance-based regulation (PBR) continues to evolve in the face of transformational changes brought about by new technologies, changing customer preferences, and state policy mandates. Recent actions range from Hawaii’s approval of performance incentive mechanisms to accelerate clean energy goals, the District of Columbia’s ratemaking pilot that contains climate goals-driven tracking mechanisms, and Washington’s law to move towards PBR to help utilities adapt to rapidly changing societal expectations and public policy objectives.
Visual Primer: Capacity Prices Fall by 64 Percent in First PJM Capacity Auction After Market Reforms
The long-awaited capacity market auction of PJM Interconnection LLC for the 2022-2023 delivery year cleared at $50 per megawatt-day, which is 64 percent lower than the 2018 auction and the lowest in almost a decade. This is the first auction to be conducted by the nation’s largest grid operator under the expanded minimum offer price rule (MOPR) resulting from a 2019 order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Grid modernization endeavors are progressing at a fast pace as states explore solutions to advance clean energy and climate goals while effectively meeting customer needs. Modernizing the grid is necessary to support the integration of additional levels of renewables, leverage customer-sited resources to participate in grid operations, and empower consumers with more choices for electric service.
Changing power sector trends driven by mandates and goals to achieve carbon-free electricity have renewed interest in the future role of hydropower. As the target years draw near, large-scale hydropower offers an attractive solution to contribute to the evolving generation mix.
Visual Primer: Rapidly Evolving Cyber Threat Landscape Reignites Concerns About Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability
A recent ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline system, which supplies nearly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast, has elevated concerns about the use of cyberattacks to paralyze key infrastructure. The incident is the latest example of intrusions exposing U.S. cyber vulnerabilities, calling for stronger measures to secure the nation’s energy pipelines and critical infrastructure against increasingly sophisticated and malicious attacks.
Visual Primer: Preserving Existing Nuclear Generation Fleet Expected to Help Drive Clean Energy Transition
Options to sustain the existing nuclear generation fleet have resurfaced as states reevaluate their resource portfolios to expedite the transition to carbon-free energy. Policy support for the resource emerged as a means to stave off plant closures in the face of economic challenges, by rewarding its fuel diversity and zero-carbon attributes.
Washington is moving expeditiously to implement rules and strategies as the state seeks to achieve carbon-free electricity by 2045 and reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. The state is advancing multiple measures ranging from resource planning rules to establishing a carbon cap-and-trade program, and strengthening auto-emission standards.