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eLab Thought Leadership

With the help of leaders from across the electricity sector, eLab thought leadership addresses issues and answers questions crucial to moving the industry forward including:

  • What new business models and regulatory frameworks can enable adoption of distributed energy resources?

  • How can we interpret industry trends and gain clarity of direction in a rapidly changing industry?

  • How can we incorporate leading edge thinking into the decisions we make today?

Timely, independent, and collaborate research has resulted in works that are cited widely across academic and professional literature, and push the best thinking in rate cases, regulatory dockets, and other on-the-ground efforts to accelerator the clean energy transition.

NEW MODELS THAT DELIVER ENERGY SOLUTIONS TO LOW-INCOME CUSTOMERS

Profiles four examples of new arrangements that are unlocking the potential for low-income customers to participate in and benefit from DERs. It sets the stage for further evolution of innovative business models that deliver clean energy solutions to these households and communities.  

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES AS DISTRIBUTED ENERGY RESOURCES

The electric vehicle market is one of the most rapidly changing and fastest growing high-tech sectors in the global economy, representing the beginnings of a demand-side opportunity like no other: intelligent, interactive electricity demand. If utilities anticipate the load of charging EVs and plan for it proactively, they can capture numerous benefits for the grid and for their customers. But respond too late and reactively, and utilities will encounter significant challenges and investments.

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DRIVING INTEGRATION: REGULATORY RESPONSES TO ELECTRIC VEHICLE GROWTH

A wide range of market actors have roles in EV integration onto the grid —  and coordination amongst many of them will be required to enable optimized, smart charging behavior. However, state electric utility regulators and policymakers have the particular opportunity to bring these stakeholders together to proactively design the policies needed to avoid these risks and unlock those benefits from using EVs as grid assets. 

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RATE DESIGN FOR THE DISTRIBUTION EDGE

By changing electricity pricing to more fully reflect the cost and value of electricity services exchanged between customers and the grid, utilities and regulators can unleash new waves of innovation in distributed energy resource investment that will help to reduce costs while maintaining or increasing system resilience and reliability. This report discusses a pathway for deliberately and gradually increasing rate sophistication for residential and small commercial customers.

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THE ELECTRICITY SYSTEM VALUE CHAIN

The electricity grid of the future is one that will require the advancement of many emerging technologies. It is crucial that these technologies understand themselves in order to find their place to fit in and belong to the system and add maximum value. This report provides a framework to explore the potential value streams of a given technology in an organized fashion.

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A REVIEW OF SOLAR PV BENEFITS & COST STUDIES

emPower addresses two needs: 1) insufficient ability to make relative valuations between investments in centralized and distributed resources, and 2) there is insufficient knowledge and tools to understand the costs and values of distributed resources.

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NEW BUSINESS MODELS FOR THE DISTRIBUTION EDGE

The increasing role of distributed energy resources in the electricity system is leading to a shift in the fundamental business model paradigm of the industry. To support the transition, new utility business models will need to provide versatile and flexible platforms that harmonize the interests of electricity providers, customers, and distributed resource developers at the distribution edge.

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ADVANCING MILITARY MICROGRIDS

The U.S. Navy is leading the way in the technical and economic testing and validation of microgrid technology as it looks for new ways to bolster the energy security on Naval bases. As these bases begin to experiment with the technology, they face several major questions around microgrid design, evaluation, economics, and operation.

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