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Listed below are all documents and RMI.org site pages related to this topic.
Energy and Resources - Utility Strategy & Investment Choices 20 Items

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The Economics of Grid Defection: When and Where Distributed Solar Generation Plus Storage Competes with Traditional Utility Service (4-Pager)

Fact-sheet or One-pager, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/RMI_GridDefection-4pager_2014-06

4 Page fact sheet detailing the spiral of falling sales and rising electricity prices that make defection via solar-plus systems even more attractive and undermine utilities' traditional business models

 

The Economics of Grid Defection: When and Where Distributed Solar Generation Plus Storage Competes with Traditional Utility Service

Report or White Paper, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/RMIGridDefectionFull_2014-05

Though many utilities rightly see the impending arrival of solar-plus-battery grid parity as a threat, they could also see such systems as an opportunity to add value to the grid and their business models. The important next question is how utilities might adjust their existing business models or adopt new business models—either within existing regulatory frameworks or under an evolved regulatory landscape—to tap into and maximize new sources of value that build the best electricity system of the future at lowest cost to serve customers and society. These questions will be the subject of a forthcoming companion piece.

 

Electricity Distribution Grid Evaluator (EDGE) Model

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-02_EDGEModel

This paper describes the Electricity Distribution Evaluator (EDGE) model, a MATLAB-based simulation tool developed by RMI and designed to comprehensively assess the DER value proposition in different regulatory and utility business model environments based on a detailed assessment of the technical and operational implications. Though designed to study an individual utility or region, the model maintains the flexibility to be adapted for use with many different utilities or regions. The ability to alter the model’s parameters allows RMI to identify conditions that optimize value, and to test the effects of new, innovative business models and rate structures. The EDGE model provides an analytical basis for assessment of the costs and values created by all resources, including DERs.

 

New Business Models for the Distribution Edge (eLab New Business Models Report)

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-06_eLabNewBusinessModels

This e-Lab discussion paper was prepared to support e-Lab deliberations and discussions and to engender a broader industry-wide dialogue about new approaches to the utility business model ecosystem at the distribution edge. This paper describes 1) how and why the forces changing the electricity system challenge existing pricing and business models, 2) principles that should guide the creation of new business models, and 3) the emerging “solution set” of new business models.

 

Building the Electricity System of the Future: Fort Collins and FortZED

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-07_FCFZFinalReport

Fort Collins Utilities has been working to meet its clean energy goals including a flagship effort, called FortZED, to build a net zero energy district in downtown Fort Collins. Fort Collins Utilities and its partners worked with the Electricity Innovation Lab (e-Lab) to design and carry-out a two-day charrette on November 7th and 8th, 2012. The charrette team identified innovative solutions to some of Fort Collins’ most difficult challenges around planning, investment, and execution of efficiency and renewable energy.

 

eLab Annual Report 2012-2013

Annual Report, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-14_eLabAnnualReport

In its first year, eLab made significant strides towards building the capacity of change agents in the electricity sector, fostering the development of new ideas and solutions, and engaging directly with leaders to test and implement new ideas that can ultimately scale broadly throughout the industry.

 

Net Energy Metering, Zero Net Energy, and the Distributed Energy Resource Future

Report or White Paper, 2012
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2012-02_PGENetZero

On behalf of PG&E, Rocky Mountain Institute organized and facilitated a roundtable of experts to evaluate the potential implications for the utility and its customers of a future business environment characterized by high levels of customer energy efficiency, growing numbers of Zero Net Energy buildings, and increased adoption of distributed generation (largely solar PV) by utility customers. The political and policy environment surrounding distributed resources is highly charged, with strongly held beliefs and assumptions about distributed generation benefits and impediments to customer adoption. At the same time, there are myriad complexities in analyzing the costs and benefits to the utility system of installing these technologies. Costs and benefits will shift over time as markets evolve, penetration rates increase, and new technologies are deployed. The roundtable worked to build a shared understanding of the problems and challenges facing stakeholders in the electric system and to identify the essential characteristics of workable long-term solutions.

 

Reinventing Fire in Southern California: Distributed Resources and the San Onofre Outage

Report or White Paper, 2012
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2012-11_RFSoCal

The prolonged shut-down of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California could mark an important turning point for the region’s electricity system. Distributed and demand-side resources offer a portfolio of solutions to help fill the near-term supply gap, while also advancing California’s long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting local economic development and job creation. This discussion paper assesses the role the following distributed energy resources could play in the absence of SONGS: behavioral savings; demand response; energy efficiency; solar photovoltaics; combined heat and power and fuel cells; storage. That paper includes information on what the potentials for these resources are, how their economics affect adoption, how much time it takes to install them, and how long we expect them to persist. We also offer recommendations to unlock these resources and encourage their adoption by utilities and their customers.

 

Utility-Scale Wind and Natural Gas Volatility: Uncovering the Hedge Value of Wind for Utilities and Their Customers

Report or White Paper, 2012
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2012-07_WindNaturalGasVolatility

This paper explores methods of quantifying natural gas volatility by examining theoretical models as well as case studies of utility hedging strategies. Including these volatility risk premiums in the price of natural gas establishes a basis for even comparison with utility-­scale wind contracts, which enables smarter decision analysis by regulatory agencies, utilities, and ratepayers.

 

Turbocharging Efficiency Programs: Going for Broader and Deeper Savings

Report or White Paper, 2011
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2011-17_TurbochargingEfficiencyPrograms

It is a new era for utility efficiency programs. Policymakers and regulators have required many utilities to achieve more efficiency savings than ever before, and the amount utilities spend on efficiency continues to increase at a rapid pace. Momentum for utility efficiency programs has never been greater.

Utilities have been providing efficiency to their customers for more than 30 years. But just continuing on with a “business-as-usual” mindset will not be sufficient if utilities hope to sustain the momentum and meet (or exceed) their efficiency targets. Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) have set challenging energy savings targets, and to meet these targets, utilities will have to improve their performance in administering programs. If utilities don’t make significant progress, utility efficiency programs will fail to deliver on increasingly aggressive targets.

To improve their performance, utilities will need to turbocharge their efficiency programs by going for both broader and deeper savings. Going broader means acquiring more participants, while going deeper means helping each participant save more energy.

 

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