Serving the energy industry for over 30 years
By - Jon Brown

Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Utility Solar Rates
Evaluating NEM Actions & Other Rate-Recovery Mechanisms
July 21-22, 2016 | Denver, CO

Overview

Net energy metering (NEM) was a simple and appropriate rate mechanism when the solar industry began its push into the power industry equation and consumer-installed PV panels were relatively uncommon. It was simple for consumers and small businesses to understand the value proposition, and relatively benign for utilities to integrate the limited number of solar customers in their service areas.  In the last five years or so, the explosion in the adoption of solar and the accelerating penetration of these resources onto the grid has brought it into the power industry mainstream.  This has triggered some uncomfortable disputes among utilities, customers, regulators, solar providers and other stakeholders important to the process.

For utilities, the question is no longer if solar penetration will become significant enough to revise their business model.  Rather, it is how to facilitate this expanding development and consumer adoption of solar, while fairly recovering the costs associated with the grid and system adjustments required to absorb these distributed solar generation resources. Over the years, more than 40 states have adopted NEM as the regulatory remedy for addressing this economic balancing act.  Now, though, many state regulatory commissions and the utilities they oversee are evaluating whether and how to push the NEM re-set button.  This is in response to two gripes brought on by the consequences of allowing the consumer’s meter to run “backwards” and sell energy back to the grid: 1) that the revenue of utilities and load-serving entities is being reduced, while the unrecoverable costs to service this non-centralized form of generation and the grid are increasing, and 2) that this rate mechanism can result in economic inequities among ratepayer classes. Consequently, alternative measures for allocating the costs and benefits equitably among the parties involved are now receiving greater attention, study and debate.

This NEM utility summit will explore common NEM rate structures and many alternatives under consideration. Independent research organizations and utility analysts will examine the array of options that utilities and regulatory commissions are looking to as a means for striking the necessary balance between promoting the advancement of solar policy and development, facilitating appropriate rate recovery, ensuring grid reliability and enabling consumer choice.  The program will consider how various jurisdictions are working through these challenges, and what the results have been or are projected to be.  It is intended to be an informational — not advocacy — session for utilities and those with an interest in understanding the complexities of NEM.

Learning Outcomes

Through presentations and panel discussions, attendees will have the opportunity at this conference to:

  • Appraise various utility solar rate designs and mechanisms in use
  • Identify common elements of regulatory costs, benefits and externalities that can be reflected in “retail” rate structures
  • Evaluate strategic utility challenges in properly establishing solar program revenue targets
  • Examine distributed solar valuation, avoided cost and levelized cost (LCOE) calculation metrics and assumptions
  • Discuss “in-progress” net energy metering, tariff and related “retail” solar rate proceedings and their prospective relevance to foregoing utility rate cases
  • Assess how the higher penetration of customer distributed generation solar impacts utility business models for the future

Credits

AP_LogoEUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.9 CEUs for this conference.

Agenda

Thursday, July 21, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

SOLAR RATE POLICY CONTEXT

8:30 – 8:45 a.m. :: Welcome and Overview

8:45 – 10:30 a.m. :: Where is NEM in Flux and Why?

This opening conference segment will survey more or less current actions in the United States where there have been proposed and enacted legislative, regulatory policy, and rate design changes affecting the value proposition of distributed solar PV, with a special emphasis on net energy metering (NEM).  Its content draws on a report prepared by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center that explores several questions about the changing U.S. solar policy landscape:

  • How are (1) state regulatory bodies and legislatures and (2) electric utilities addressing fast growing markets for distributed solar PV?
  • Policy attribute debates and importance to utilities and customers of…
    • Rates
    • Customer contribution(s) to grid
    • Impact on utility business model(s)
  • What changes to traditional rate design features and net metering policies are being proposed, approved, and implemented?

10:30 – 10:50 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:50 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: What Types of NEM Studies Are Being Conducted, Where and by Whom?

This segment will consider the many different types of studies that have been conducted, how they are similar and how they are different.  These will include studies conducted on behalf of utilities, state utility regulatory agencies, solar advocacy groups and independent research laboratories.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:30 – 3:30 p.m. :: Assessing the Salient Elements of Examination and Dispute

The value of the distributed solar resource is a key point of contention in dockets relating to NEM and distributed energy resources.  This segment addresses different ways of viewing these values, in ways that can be compared with conventional grid generation, transmission, and distribution resources.  The resulting valuations can then be used to determine a fair compensation framework for distributed energy resources that may contribute supply when on-site generation exceeds on-site demand.

  • Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE)
  • Wholesale value of energy vs retail compensation
  • Grid and environmental benefits
  • Rate-class subsidization
  • Avoided capacity and capital costs
  • Project and program caps
  • Treatment of net excess generation
  • Risk avoidance
  • Local economic development

3:30 – 3:45 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:45 – 5:30 p.m. :: What NEM-Alternative Mechanisms Are Under Consideration

This segment will evaluate the relative efficacy of rate structures with price signals that drive residential solar and DER owners to deliver power at periods of peak electricity demand so they become grid assets. This will recognize the important relationships that each of these mechanisms have to rate class, utility business model and metering/billing infrastructure:

  • Net Billing
  • Monthly fixed charge
  • Demand charge (residential vs solar-specific)
  • TOU rates
  • VoST (value of solar tariff)
  • Standby charges
  • PURPA modifications
  • Long-term contracts
  • Feed-in Tariffs

DAY 2 AGENDA

Friday, July 22, 2016

7:30 – 8:00 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

NEM CASE STUDIES

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. :: Case Studies Where NEM has been Eliminated

In the past year, two states’ utility commissions – Hawaii and Nevada – have discontinued net metering programs.  In California, a non-CPUC jurisdictional utility suspended its NEM offering after meeting the state-wide cap.  This segment will consider the conditions under which the programs were discontinued and what has been instituted in their place.

9:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Case Studies Where NEM Alternatives/Replacements Are under Consideration

Utility commissions in several of the 40-plus states with NEM programs have modified or are considering petitions from utilities with service territories under their jurisdiction to re-calibrate the programs under which they operate.  This segment will examine changes that several states and utilities have made to their NEM arrangements, in such states as:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Utah
  • Vermont

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: Case Studies Where NEM Alternatives/Replacements Are Under Consideration (continued)
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont

Workshop

PRE CONFERENCE WORKSHOP

FUNDAMENTALS OF NEM AND SOLAR RATE METHODOLOGIES AND STRUCTURES

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. :: Workshop Timing

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ::  Group Luncheon

OVERVIEW

Understanding the components that go in to various net energy metering (NEM) and solar rate methodologies is essential for utilities when they are considering whether and how to pursue a modification of the state policies that govern these (mostly) solar mechanisms.  This in-depth workshop will provide a tutorial on these components and how they relate to each other.  This will be an especially useful primer for the ensuing NEM and solar rate policy discussions in the symposium.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Assess the different types of NEM and solar rate structures
  • Review the components that make up the different NEM and solar rate structures
  • Evaluate the correlations among the different NEM and solar rate methodologies
  • Appraise the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches

PROGRAM AGENDA

  • Utility Economics That Have a Bearing on Solar Generation
  • Identify NEM and solar rate methodologies
  • Discuss NEM and solar rate calculation components
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches
    • Established net metering/billing variants
    • Modified traditional rate structures
      • Monthly fixed charge
      • Demand charge (residential vs solar-specific
    • TOU rates
    • Standby pricing
    • VoST (value of solar tariff)
    • PURPA modifications
    • Long-term contracts
    • Feed-in Tariffs

INSTRUCTORS

Autumn Proudlove, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center

Autumn Proudlove is a Senior Policy Analyst at the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, joining the Center’s Energy Policy team in January 2014. She manages the Center’s work on the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership – a U.S. Department of Energy program focused on providing solar education and technical assistance. She also works on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), authoring content for eight states. Ms. Proudlove received her Master’s degree in Energy Regulation and Law, summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School (VLS). While at VLS, she worked for the school’s Institute for Energy and the Environment, examining solar policies and standards as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Plug and Play Solar PV project. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Economics, from Dartmouth College.

Bruce Chapman, Christensen Associates

Bruce R. Chapman is Vice President and Senior Economist at Christensen Associates. He specializes in the design and pricing of retail electricity pricing products that improve the efficiency of pricing relative to traditional rates. He has managed and participated in many projects, developing such innovative products as critical-peak pricing, real-time pricing, and fixed-bill products. In his work with electricity pricing projects, he has led all phases of program development: product design, implementation, and statistical evaluation of customer response. Mr. Chapman’s assignments have also included heading cost-of-service projects in a traditional regulatory environment.

Speakers

Jeffrey Ackermann, Chair, Colorado Public Utilities Commission

Bruce Chapman, Vice President and Senior Economist, Christensen Associates Energy Consulting, LLC

Dan Cross-Call, Manager Electricity Practice, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

Dhaval Dagli, Principal Manager Regulatory Policy, Southern California Edison

Rick Gilliam, Program Director - DG Regulatory Policy , Vote Solar Initiative

Elizabeth Ingram, Manager Regulatory Research, Entergy

Jim Lazar, Senior Advisor, Regulatory Assistance Project

Danielle Murray, Manager - Solar Energy Services, Austin Energy

Autumn Proudlove, Senior Manager - Policy Research, NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Anthony Teixeira, Senior Associate, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

Tommy Vitolo, Senior Associcate, Synapse Energy Economics

Scott Vogt, Vice President - Energy Acquisition, ComEd

Lindsey Wedewer, Policy and Regulatory Analyst, Colorado Energy Office

Location

The ART, A Hotel
1201 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203

To reserve your room, please call 1-303-572-8000
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

ROOM RATE:

The room rate is $249.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

ROOM BLOCK DATES:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of July 19 – 21, 2016.

RATE AVAILABLE UNTIL:

Make your reservations prior to June 28, 2016. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.

Register

Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 395.00

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