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May 2020

PUBLIC HEALTH

An Equitable Approach to a Clean-Energy Future

We all depend on energy to power our lives, but for Americans in low-income households, communities of color, small towns and many rural areas, access to energy is not equal, affordable or reliable. Rapid changes in the power sector present real opportunities for improvement, but policymakers need to ensure that the energy transition does not leave people behind. In a new report produced with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, researchers from Synapse Energy Economics, RAP and Community Action Partnership take an in-depth look at the disparate impacts of electric and natural gas infrastructure on economic, social and health outcomes — and consider how to ensure that a clean-energy future is a more equitable future.

   
   

REGULATION

Synchronizing the Response to COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic is influencing every aspect of the global economy, and electric utilities are certainly seeing significant effects. Before regulators take actions to adjust revenues or rates to reflect COVID-19 impacts, however, it is important to understand that some of these impacts are offsetting — in other words, while some increase costs or reduce sales, others do the opposite. Jim Lazar details the range of factors affecting utility costs and sales and the considerations regulators should keep in mind.

   
   

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The EV Transition: How States Are Getting Started

Our blog series on electric vehicle resources continues as David Farnsworth takes a closer look at the first steps states such as Minnesota and Michigan are taking to move EV adoption forward. A related policy brief details questions regulators may want to answer when seeking to set metrics for a performance-based regulation approach to EVs.

   
   

GLOBAL INSIGHTS

Power Market Monitoring: Opportunities for China

As China continues its power sector reform effort, which includes an emphasis on “market-oriented reform,” market monitoring will be especially important. In a new policy brief, Max Dupuy summarizes the U.S. experience with power market monitoring and suggests steps China can take to ensure that markets work effectively.

   
   
FURTHER NOTES

RAP IN ACTION

Elevating Energy Efficiency

Ken Colburn, who retired as U.S. program director earlier this year, writes in Utility Dive that utilities are beginning to recognize that they can tap the value of energy efficiency through pay-for-performance approaches. The Financial Research Institute announced last month that Ken is the 2020 recipient of its annual Crystal Award, which recognizes distinguished contributions to public utility regulatory policy.

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RAP IN ACTION

Paths for Regulatory Reform

In a meeting of the Wisconsin Energy Distribution and Technology Initiative, David Littell provided an overview of regulatory reform tools in use today and discussed new rate design pilots.

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