ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Prove To Utilities That Innovations Work
5 new strategies to design more effective utility DER pilots; A new RMI report uses insights from utility pilots and demonstration projects to form a roadmap for the energy transition
Herman K. Trabish, July 20, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: A just-proposed pilot to test the viability of time-of-use rates in MN was praised by stakeholders for respecting these 5 tenets.
The skyrocketing growth of utility-scale renewables and distributed energy resources (DER) is stoking a need to develop new grid technologies, business models and customer programs. As a result, utilities face crucial decisions about investing shareholder and ratepayer money. Regulatory disputes across the country continue to stifle innovation and impede the emergence of new utility business models. But The Role of Pilots and Demonstrations in Reinventing the Utility Business Model from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) offers best practices from a variety of utility pilot projects to help regulators and stakeholders sort through the noise and make evidence-based decisions.
For the new pilot report, RMI partnered with Consolidated Edison (ConEd), Avista Utilities, and Arizona Public Service (APS). ConEd Director Jamie Brennan agrees trial projects could help resolve policy disputes because debates based on real data are less ideological, more analytical, and enable stakeholder engagement that might not otherwise be likely. Today’s pilots and demonstrations, RMI argues, will test utilities’ ability to meaningfully advance cost-effective, collaborative ways to integrate new technology for the benefit of customers, utilities, and the environment. If the pilots and demonstrations are poorly designed, innovation will be ‘bogged down’ in disputes between utilities and technology providers… click here for more