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Big Thinking from a Small State

Once in a while, it can be interesting to take a deep look at what one state is doing in the power sector reform arena. New York, California, and others get a lot of attention. But the small state of Rhode Island (pop. 1.05 million) has significant ambition and is taking a path that a…

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Spotting Opportunities to Innovate

Two years ago, RAP produced a Menu of Options  for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the power sector for the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. The report contains 26 detailed chapters, 25 of which look at proven technologies for reducing power-sector GHG and other pollutants, and at various policies that have also been…

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Customizing Decoupling for Your State

Since its formation over a hundred years ago, the electric utility industry in the United States, and the regulatory framework that governs it, has traditionally operated under the core principle that if you sell more electrons, you earn more money. This is also called the “throughput incentive.” It’s the same with businesses from lemonade stands…

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Utilities Can Get a “LEG” Up with Beneficial Electrification—But Regulators Also Have to be Ready

In a series of blog posts over the last several weeks, RAP has spotlighted the opportunities associated with beneficial electrification—the practice of electrifying appliances and machines that are currently powered by fossil fuels. Embracing beneficial electrification provides a significant opportunity for utilities, making them more competitive by giving them a “LEG up”—where “L” stands for…

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Power Sector Transformation Advances, With Choices, Questions, and Big Opportunities

As we head into the New Year, RAP’s U.S. team will be devoting more time to a broad set of issues known as “power sector transformation.” Power sector transformation in the United States will affect the way many of us interact with the grid, from the smallest customer to the largest electric grid operator. As…

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Securing the Social License to Transform Power Sector Regulation

I recently participated in a conversation with North American regulation experts organized by University of Calgary professor and former California Energy Commissioner Michal Moore. The topic was the “social license” in energy regulation. What is the social license? It is not something an agency grants. Rather, an agency or utility earns its social license. While…

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PV Proliferation: Rays of Opportunity

There are several ways to view the big changes underway in the US power sector. One is through the lens of the dramatic success of net metering. In 2003, before the Energy Policy Act of 2005 created a federal net metering standard, fewer than 7,000 customers in the entire country were net metered. By the…