ORIGINAL REPORTING: Utility Success With Corporate Renewables Moves On Existing Load
Utility success with corporate renewables demand raises questions for existing load; “We’ve got a good formula for new load; now what do we do about everybody else?”
Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 5, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: New reporting reveals that bringing renewables to existing load remains a challenge though there are now 21 green tariffs in 15 states.
Anybody who says utilities and regulators are not innovative has not noticed how they are meeting skyrocketing demand from corporate buyers for renewables. And innovation 2.0 is coming. Some 71 Fortune 100 companies, at least 215 Fortune 500 companies, and many more small companies with clean energy or sustainability goals are their target market. Utilities need to serve that market, or those potential new customers may take their business to independent power producers. To meet that new demand, utilities, regulators and corporate buyers have collaborated to develop [21 green tariffs in 15 states]. The tariffs have brought 900 MW of new renewables onto the grid since 2015. The 360 MW added so far in 2017 far surpasses 2016’s 200 MW. At least 465 more MW of new load is in negotiation. But utilities now face a new challenge.
“Green tariffs work for new load but the next question is how to meet the demand for renewables from existing load,” said Letha Tawney, the World Resources Institute (WRI) director of utility innovation. It is a question of growing importance among members of the Renewable Buyers Alliance (REBA), a utility-corporate buyer-policymaker collaboration led by WRI and other non-profits. The Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Green Direct tariff is the only one so far approved that “matches existing load to a new resource,” Tawney said. The difficulty is that if existing utility customers use new renewable generation, they are not using generation assets the utility previously built to meet their demand. “The utility made an investment in generation on behalf of those customers and those customers now say they want a different type of generation,” Tawney said. “The utility wants to know how it can pay for the generation it bought or contracted for them.” Stranded costs could result if too much existing load moves to renewables… click here for more
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