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White Papers

On the Grid's Bleeding Edge

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Jul 7, 2015

This ICF International white paper provides insights on ways in which the three-state reform initiatives are converging toward a common set of goals, mechanisms, and shared elements. Two of these shared elements are examined: the need for a new distribution planning process and the emerging elements of market design/portfolio development. We also draw lessons for stakeholders to pay attention to, including some of the new methods and approaches that utilities will have to consider and the importance of engaging in the regulatory process early and with a clear vision of optimal outcomes.

California, Hawaii, and New York are in the midst of radically reforming their state regulatory processes— and eventually markets—to accelerate the integration of distributed energy resources (DER) into the grid. Each state process fundamentally envisions the future regulated utility as an enabler of customer choice to manage energy costs through advanced distribution planning, modern integrated grids, and opportunities for DER to provide market-based grid services. These developments are critical not only for stakeholders in these states as they prepare for major upcoming regulatory deadlines, but also as a blueprint for those in the majority of other states who will likely be grappling with similar issues in the near future.