Issues on the Horizon at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent agency regulating the interstate transport of energy. As innovations and changing consumer preferences reshape the energy industry, FERC must grapple with key issues. This policy brief summarizes pending issues before FERC, including grid resilience, market reforms that would affect newer technologies and non-emitting resources, and transmission and gas pipeline infrastructure build. How FERC decides on these issues would impact consumer costs, determine which resources would receive revenues from FERC-regulated markets, help shape infrastructure investments, and affect the costs of decarbonization policies.

Beyond Financing: A Guide to Green Bank Design in the Southeast

Green banks use funds to reduce the risk for private investment to support energy efficiency and clean energy. As local governments and corporations across the Southeast make progress on ambitious clean energy goals—including some with 100 percent renewable energy targets by as early as 2025—demand is growing for financing to make those goals attainable. This primer outlines the design elements of a green bank and explores how a green bank might leverage public funds in the Southeast to create a robust market for clean energy investment.

Improving Market Design to Align with Public Policy

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates wholesale capacity markets, is looking to reconcile market design with state, and potentially federal, policy preferences. In an effort to mitigate this apparent tension in the gas- and coal-heavy Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed a framework on June 29 for carving out those policy-sponsored resources from PJM's capacity market. The June order poses many questions and leaves open many details for stakeholders to resolve ahead of the close of FERC’s initial round of public comments on October 2, 2018.  This policy brief offers recommendations to improve the efficiency of the developing proposals and help those responding to the FERC order understand the implications of different design choices related to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's proposal.

Carbon Market Cooperation in Northeast Asia: Assessing Challenges and Overcoming Barriers

China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea are emerging as major players in the global carbon trading landscape. As Northeast Asia's biggest industrial economies, these three countries are connected through deep commercial and trade ties, and shared environmental challenges. There are thus growing calls for these markets to manage differences to build a foundation for more extensive carbon market cooperation. This Asia Society Policy Institute report draws on the expertise of a wide range of scholars and practitioners to help equip policymakers and other stakeholders with information and guidance on the potential of and pathway toward carbon market linkage in Northeast Asia. This volume includes 11 chapters that examine the challenges of and approaches to carbon market cooperation and linkage in Northeast Asia.

Effects of Technology Assumptions on US Power Sector Capacity, Generation and Emissions Projections: Results from the EMF 32 Model Intercomparison Project

This article is one of two syntheses in a special issue in the journal Energy Economics on the EMF 32 study, a major modeling study of the electric power sector’s emissions in various policy intervention scenarios. This article focuses on the effects of technology and market assumptions with projections out to 2050. A total of 15 models contributed projections based on a set of standardized scenarios. The scenarios include a range of assumptions about the price of natural gas, costs of end-use energy efficiency, retirements of nuclear power, the cost of renewable electricity, and overall electricity demand. The range of models and scenarios represent similarities and differences across a broad spectrum of analytical methods.

The EMF 32 Study on Technology and Climate Policy Strategies for Greenhouse Gas Reductions in the U.S. Electric Power Sector: An Overview

This introduction to a special issue of Energy Economics presents the key findings of Energy Modeling Forum Model Inter-comparison Project Number 32 (EMF 32) entitled “The EMF 32 Study on Technology and Climate Policy Strategies for Greenhouse Gas Reductions in the U.S. Electric Power Sector.” This study focused on the development and cross-model comparison of results from U.S. climate policy intervention scenarios focusing on policy strategies for achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions in the electric power sector and the sensitivity of emissions and economic results to changes in technology and market assumptions. This overview article describes the motivation for the EMF 32 study, identifies the models used in the study, describes the study's scope and design, and reviews insights in the special issue's articles. A related article focuses on the effects of technology and market assumptions with projections out to 2050. 

PURPA’s Midlife Crisis: Will Its 40th Birthday Be One of Fundamental Change?

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) has played a key role in the spread of independent power producers and the dislodgment of the classic monopoly utility model. Although drastic changes in the law appear unlikely at this point, some changes at the national level seem to be in the offing. This article in The Electricity Journal lays out the issues that could lead to changes.

Managing Dynamic Change in the Midwestern Power Sector: Power Shift Midwestern Regional Workshop

Market-shifts, technological innovation, and clean energy policies are driving a fundamental transformation of the U.S. power sector. This proceedings describes four critical grid issues in the Midwest discussed at the Power Shift's Minnesota meeting: evolving stakeholder processes, power sector fleet transfer, the impact of electric cars on the grid, and responses to changing consumer demand. The range of potential research inspired by the discussion—including whether state regulatory processes help or hinder big shifts underway on the grid, how state climate goals affect regional generation patterns, how stakeholder processes and market trends interact, whether utilities should attempt to spark demand for electric vehicles, and whether customer demands or public policies are driving innovation—points to the sea change in the U.S. power sector.

Regional Implications of National Carbon Taxes

This analysis published in the journal Climate Change Economics examines impacts of nationally-imposed carbon taxes on different regions of the United States. The goal is to see what can be learned about the drivers of regional political support for and opposition to such measures. Whether at the state, regional or national levels, carbon taxes are one option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; several state and regional programs are already under way and lowering emissions. This analysis uses a U.S. regional version of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM) computable general equilibrium model to explore relationships between carbon taxes, emissions, and economic growth.

The Future of the Electricity Industry: Implications of Trends and Taxes

This analysis published in the journal Energy Economics examines how changes in market trends and technology costs are likely to affect electricity generation in the United States in the context of possible future carbon taxes. It uses the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM) electricity-sector model to examine a wide range of sensitivity cases for technology and fuel costs under different economic conditions. The model finds that carbon taxes can be an effective way to quickly lower emissions. Shifts among natural gas and renewable generation can vary significantly, depending on capital and operating costs.