APPA News

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
Posted November 4, 2019

Utilities are increasingly including new energy storage capacity in their integrated resource plans (IRPs), the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) said in a recent report. The center said this was one of the top grid modernization trends of the 2019 third quarter.

The center noted in the report, “50 States of Grid Modernization,” that thirty-one states currently require utilities to file IRPs.

In terms of state-level activities, the report said that the Georgia Public Service Commission approved Georgia Power’s IRP stipulation in July 2019. The stipulation reached with the Commission Staff includes 80 MW of energy storage –30 MW more than originally included in the utility’s plan.

Other recently filed IRPs including energy storage capacity additions include Green Mountain Power in Vermont (50 to 100 MW), Appalachian Power in Virginia (10 MW) Indiana Michigan Power in Michigan (50 MW of energy storage by 2028) and Idaho Power (60 MW installed beginning in 2034). Proposed amendments to NV Energy’s latest IRP also include 515 MW of battery storage, the center said.

“Of the 45 states taking grid modernization actions during the quarter, 40 took actions related to energy storage,” said Autumn Proudlove, lead author of the report and Senior Manager of Policy Research at NCCETC. “Utility integrated resource plans are increasingly including new energy storage capacity, while states continue to evaluate how energy storage is addressed in resource planning rules.”

Other key grid modernization trends in the third quarter highlighted by the center are utilities filing innovative rate design proposals and states and utilities planning online energy data portals.

Innovative rate designs

Several utilities have recently innovative rate designs, primarily as pilots, with state regulators, the report said. “These rates typically include time-varying rates but are increasingly including components such as critical peak pricing, peak time rebates, and demand charges.”

The center noted the following developments:

* The HECO Companies in Hawaii filed their Advanced Rate Design Strategy in September 2019, pursuant to a Hawaii Public Utilities Commission directive, which includes time-varying rates, critical peak incentives, multi-part time-varying rates, and electric vehicle rates;
* In Michigan, DTE Electric filed an application for a new advanced customer pricing pilot in July 2019. The pilot includes two time-varying rates, two demand rates, and two rates combining time-varying and demand elements;
* Duke Energy Indiana filed a proposal for new rates, including critical peak pricing;
* In Illinois, regulators approved Commonwealth Edison’s three-part time-of-use pilot including super peak, peak, and off-peak periods; and
* North Carolina regulators approved Duke Energy’s dynamic pricing pilots in July 2019.

Online energy data portals

“A number of states and utilities are planning the development of online energy data portals for customers to access granular data about their energy use,” the report said.

In July 2019, New Hampshire lawmakers enacted a bill to establish a statewide online energy data platform that will be administered by the Public Utilities Commission.

As part of the HECO Companies’ Data Access and Privacy Policy filed with Hawaii regulators in September 2019, the utilities will make an energy portal available to customers with advanced metering infrastructure.

Indiana Michigan Power also proposed the creation of an online customer engagement platform that will allow users to track their energy usage, the center said.

In North Carolina, regulators approved Duke Energy’s proposed Smart Meter Usage App pilot, which will allow residential customers to monitor their real-time usage data.

“Dominion Virginia Energy also requested approval in September 2019 for a Customer Information Platform as part of its revised grid transformation plan,” the report noted.

45 states, D.C., took grid modernization actions in Q3

The report said that 45 states, as well as the District of Columbia, took actions related to grid modernization during Q3 2019, with the greatest number of actions relating to energy storage deployment, data access policies, distribution system planning, integrated resource planning, and deployment of smart grid technologies.

A total of 383 grid modernization actions were taken during Q3 2019. Activity decreased from Q2 2019, due to most state legislatures adjourning in the first half of the year. However, total grid modernization activity during Q3 2019 represented a 39% increase over Q3 2018, with utilities proposing several new grid modernization and rate design plans.

New York, Massachusetts, and California took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, followed by Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii, Michigan, and North Carolina.

The executive summary for the report is available here.