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November 2019

POWER MARKETS

What's in ERCOT's Special "Soup"?

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas came through another long, hot summer without needing any firm load curtailments. Skeptical observers were once again left asking how the Lone Star State’s energy market continues to keep the lights on. Michael Hogan explains the answer: ERCOT passes up costly, overly conservative reserve margin requirements in favor of a hearty mix of market-driven decisions, based on transparent energy pricing and well-researched reliability standards.

   
   

INTEGRATING RENEWABLES

Flexibility for a 21st Century Grid

Technological advances mean that one of the most basic of power-sector rules — that electricity must be generated at precisely the same time it’s consumed — no longer always holds true. A new policy brief, adapted from RAP’s 2019 roundtable discussion of flexibility, looks at flexible resources available today. These resources have the potential to contribute to a more affordable, reliable and resilient power system — one that can accommodate large amounts of variable renewable energy.

   
   

Rate DESIGN

Improving Affordability in New England

Though the New England states include some of the wealthiest areas of the country, about a third of households in the region have difficulty paying their utility bills. David Littell and Joni Sliger examine utility programs serving low-income and moderate-income customers and recommend ways in which these programs could better target affordability challenges.

   
   
FURTHER NOTES

RAP IN ACTION

See You Next Week at NARUC’s Annual Meeting

Dr. Carl Linvill will join a panel on November 20, the final day of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, to discuss energy optimization and the work of NARUC’s joint system planning task force with the National Association of State Energy Officials. Visit RAP’s table at NARUC to pick up copies of our latest publications.

Learn More


WEBINAR

Online Now: Efficiency and Decarbonization

In a conversation highlighting material from RAP’s guest-edited issue of The Electricity Journal, panelists discussed improvements to traditional energy efficiency programs, strategies for efficient buildings, and using technology to highlight demand flexibility.

Watch Now


GLOBAL INSIGHTS

Better Dispatch is the Solution for China

Although China’s curtailment of renewables has declined significantly in recent years, it remains an issue in many areas of the country. Lu Hong, Kevin Porter and Max Dupuy write that while retrofitting coal plants to make them more flexible can reduce curtailment, retrofits are costly and show diminishing returns. A far more effective solution is to continue the progress China has made on improving its power dispatch system.

Read More

   
 


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