Nicholas Institute researchers Jonas Monast and Sarah Adair will present a talk titled "Completing the Energy Innovation Cycle: Federalism and the Challenge of Deploying New Electricity Generation Technologies" on Oct. 18.
Achieving widespread adoption of innovative electricity generation technologies involves a complex system of research, development, demonstration, and deployment, with each phase then informing future developments. There are a number of non-regulatory programs at the federal level to support this process. The innovation premium—the increased cost and technology risk often associated with innovative generation technologies—creates hurdles in the state public utility commission (PUC) process, potentially frustrating federal energy goals and preventing the learning process that is a critical component to technology innovation. This talk will explore how and why innovative energy technologies face challenges in the PUC process—focusing on case studies where PUCs have approved or denied utility proposals to deploy high cost, first generation energy technologies—and outline strategies to address PUC concerns by allocating the innovation premium beyond a single utility’s ratepayers.