The only way to achieve climate targets in the Northeast is to start electrifying transportation and heating to a high level. According to the report “Action Plan to Accelerate Strategic Electrification in the Northeast,” a committee of over 30 stakeholders is laying the groundwork for a massive revamp of the region’s electric power consumption to meet climate goals.
While solar and wind resources are abundant in the western United States, the region faces technical, operational and management challenges in transitioning to cleaner energy portfolios. Integrating renewable energy into existing electric grids continues to be a difficult hurdle for many electricity markets. When utilities face intermittent renewable energy generation, energy imbalance markets (EIMs) have been developed to mitigate the gaps between production and demand.
The road to electrifying heating and transportation in the United States is being mapped out by Electric Power Research Institute and The Brattle Group. Their forecasts show that different paths may yield a range of environmental, business and health benefits. Electrification could also stoke the fire of utility profits, which has dimmed in recent years.
A secure and responsible energy future relies on innovation. Technological innovation is needed to help increase energy efficiency and advance the energy economy. “De-risking” new energy technologies is a critical step in bringing innovation to market. And this is a step directly addressed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program.
On social media and at industry conventions, it is easy to find high-profile discussions on the technological revolution of electric grids. Experts on energy storage, distributed generation, and wireless options describe how emerging technologies are poised to transform the electricity sector. The hype is real. Energy companies are developing technologies at an increasingly rapid pace. But for all the attention on these new devices and expectations of market growth, there’s still no clear path to widespread adoption. As this series shows, several key barriers prevent technology adoption from keeping up with technology development.
“Puerto Rico is suffering,” said José H. Román, interim president of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, to a crowded room of attendees at the Future of Energy Global Summit in New York City on April 9. The summit explored how the global renewable energy market is changing even as it faces policy headwinds in North America. For Puerto Rico, a United States territory, hope for the future seems distant given its currently harsh economy and inadequate infrastructure.
From batteries to blockchain, the energy sector is enjoying a period of rapid innovation with new technologies coming to market that carry the potential to upend traditional electric infrastructure and business models. Yet electric utilities and other electricity providers have been slow to adopt these novel technologies largely because they lack the information to fully weigh their options.
It is typically a costly, capital-intensive challenge to expand traditional transmission and distribution (T&D) grid infrastructure to meet new and existing demand for electricity. Can distributed energy resources – such as solar and wind installations on residential or commercial sites – complement traditional T&D grid infrastructure in cost-effective ways?
Imagine you could design the electricity market in one state from scratch. There are no pre-existing programs to satisfy and no political baggage to consider. Your only guideline is to allow the continued growth of solar power and distributed generation. You’re given a blank slate on which to envision a long-term, sustainable energy market. What would it look like?