Future Electric Utility Regulation Series

A new series of reports from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory taps leading thinkers to grapple with complex regulatory issues for electricity.

The electric sector in the United States is seeing significant changes in technologies, customer desires, load growth, and federal and state policies and regulations. This new series of reports takes a unique point-counterpoint approach to highlight different views on the future of electric utility regulation and business models and achieving a reliable, affordable and flexible power system.

Following are reports completed or underway to date:

  1. Electric Industry Structure and Regulatory Responses in a Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) Future - November 2015
    Steve Corneli (NRG) and Steve Kihm (Seventhwave)
    (Report PDF) (Presentation PDF) (Webinar Recording) (Corneli/Kihm article in ElectricityPolicy.com) (GMT article: Back to the Future: What Role Will Electric Utilities Play in 2030?)
  2. Distribution Systems in a High DER Future: Planning, Market Design, Operation and Oversight - October 2015
    Paul De Martini (California Institute of Technology) and Lorenzo Kristov (CAISO)
    (Report PDF) (Presentation PDF) (Webinar Recording)(IEEE Smart Grid article)
  3. Performance-Based Regulation in a High DER Future - January 2016
    Tim Woolf (Synapse Energy Economics) and Mark Lowry (Pacific Economics Group)
    (Report PDF) (Presentation PDF)(Webinar Recording)(GTM article: How Should We Structure Performance-Based Regulation of Utilities?)
  4. Distribution System Pricing with Distributed Energy Resources - May 2016
    Ryan Hledik (The Brattle Group) and Jim Lazar (Regulatory Assistance Project) 
    (Report PDF) (Presentation PDF) (Webinar Recording
  5. Recovery of Utility Fixed Costs: Utility, Consumer, Environmental and Economist Perspectives - June 2016 Lisa Wood (Institute for Electric Innovation) and Ross Hemphill (RCHemphill Solutions), John Howat (National Consumer Law Center), Ralph Cavanagh (Natural Resources Defense Council) and Severin Borenstein (UC-Berkeley) (Report PDF)(Presentation PDF)(Webinar Recording)(NCSL Presentation)  
  6. The Future of Electricity Resource Planning - September 2016.
    Fredrich Kahrl (E3), Andrew Mills (LBNL), Luke Lavin, Nancy Ryan and Arne Olsen (E3) (Report PDF) (Presentation PDF) (Webinar Recording)
Topics of forthcoming reports:
  • What is the future of wholesale electricity markets?
    • Market impacts of integrating increasingly higher levels of renewable resources with zero marginal cost
    • Market impacts of environmental regulations further constraining the deployment of fossil fuel resources
    • Adequacy of today’s market designs to acquire the flexible resources needed to integrate increasing levels of variable energy resources at least cost
    • Adequacy of today’s market designs to accommodate state public policy goals and potential design changes to further enable deployment of resources that achieve these goals 
  • What incentives and disincentives do utilities have for investing in electricity infrastructure (e.g., information and communication technologies, conservation voltage reduction on distribution systems, visualization and automation technologies for transmission systems) in the face of rapid changes in the electric industry?
  • How can state utility regulators foster competition for value-added electricity products and services while allowing utilities to play new roles?

 Report Authors Aug 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is funding the work.


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