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It is now widely understood that distributed energy resources – including energy efficiency, demand response, distributed generation, storage, electrification, and electric vehicles – will need to play a fundamental role in meeting future energy needs while we decarbonize the electricity and natural gas industries.

The rulings passed down by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (or FERC) often have resounding impacts on U.S. electricity markets. A December 2019 FERC ruling is a reminder of this, and is likely to profoundly affect energy markets in the 13 states comprising the PJM Interconnection – a service area spanning from Illinois to New Jersey, and from Michigan to North Carolina. FERC’s December 19, 2019 ruling directed PJM to substantially expand its Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) to most state-subsidized power generation resources bidding in capacity market auctions.

Synapse’s Pat Knight rounded up some interesting observations from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recently released April 2020 data. We thought we’d share them here:

Per EIA’s latest data, in April 2020, for the first time ever, monthly nationwide generation from wind and solar plants exceeded nationwide generation from coal plants. Pretty cool!

A few points worth noting:

Beginning the week of March 15, many throughout New England have been living with emergency orders relating to COVID-19. Generally speaking, these orders limit gatherings, non-essential workforces, school openings, and on-site consumption of food and drink. In effect, these orders mean that many New Englanders are staying at home during most or all times of the day.

Our jobs, comforts, and ability to survive all depend on something most people take for granted until it goes missing: energy. It powers our lighting, our appliances, our cell phones – our entire daily lives. We need it to search for jobs or work from home, to access essential goods, to cook and store food, to keep our homes at safe temperatures, to access water, and to connect with loved ones. For those who are medically dependent on electricity, access to energy can keep them out of our hospitals—currently overwhelmed with the COVID pandemic—and out of harm’s way.

Today’s electric system is almost unrecognizable from the electric system just a decade ago. Generation from natural gas and renewables has accelerated to replace the rapid and unprecedented retirement of coal-fired generators. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric generating capacity in the United States has now eclipsed capacities from hydroelectric and nuclear resources combined. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have reached their lowest levels since 1984. Meanwhile, both total generation and electric sales have only marginally increased over 10 years.

On January 16th 2020, the New York Public Service Commission issued an order which sets New York on a path to implement one of the most ambitious energy efficiency portfolios in the country.

Get in the Know on AEO: A guide to EIA’s latest energy projection through 2050

On January 29, 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the 2020 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). AEO 2020 contains projections of energy use from the electric power, residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors through 2050. AEO 2020’s Reference case does not represent a forecast; instead, it’s a projection based on estimates of fuel availability, changes in technology costs, and current legislation.

The devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico prompted the installation of microgrids and other measures to improve the island’s electricity resiliency in the face of natural disasters.[1] Last week’s earthquake forced these newly installed technologies to prove that they can power critical facilities through long duration outages.

The 2019 issue of the Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP) Magazine featured an article by Synapse authors on Assessing Resource Cost-Effectiveness. What are the limitations of current cost-effectiveness practices? How can the National Standard Practice Manual (NSPM) aid jurisdictions in screening energy efficiency and other distributed energy resources for cost-effectiveness? Read on as we make sense of the acronym alphabet soup that is cost-effectiveness testing. 

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