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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of Evolution of the Grid to Embrace New Technologies in the Presence of Diverse Regulatory Schemes

Evolution of the Grid to Embrace New Technologies in the Presence of Diverse Regulatory Schemes


Regulatory change in Mexico and the United States, along with advances in market structures, pricing mechanisms, and technology enable electricity markets to evolve and incorporate new technologies. From the regulatory and institutional front, the U.S.has faced various levels of promotion and intervention from federal and sub-federal levels of government into balancing markets, while Mexico faces similar challenges in a more integrated way, given more recent regulatory reform and the size of its market. We address the incentive problem to “create” new markets from the transactions cost approach of how easy or difficult it is fornew renewable energy agents,incumbents, ISO/RTOs and balancing regionsto actively be part of the power markets.

Cover page of The Challenges in Training Energy Efficiency Program Evaluators

The Challenges in Training Energy Efficiency Program Evaluators


The energy efficiency services sector is an increasingly important part of the global economy, with an increased need for trained evaluators to foster energy efficiency program accountability and improvement. Organizations are experiencing difficulty in finding people who are knowledgeable about and experienced in the evaluation of energy efficiency programs. Accordingly, there is a need to assess the training needs of the energy efficiency evaluation community (for both new and “experienced” evaluators). This paper presents the results of a recent survey conducted by the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference (IEPEC) on energy efficiency evaluation training needs, and contrasts those findings with findings from a survey conducted by the American Evaluation Association on young evaluators (those people in the field less than 5 years).

Cover page of Transforming the Energy Efficiency Market in California: Key Findings, Lessons Learned and Future Directions From California’s Market Effects Studies

Transforming the Energy Efficiency Market in California: Key Findings, Lessons Learned and Future Directions From California’s Market Effects Studies


In the last three years, the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE), along with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), managed three market effects studies that were funded by the CPUC. This paper summarizes the key findings from these studies that focused on compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), residential new construction (RNC), and high bay lighting (HBL)1 , with a particular focus on changes to California’s market effects evaluation protocol and lessons learned during the evaluation of market effects. This paper also summarizes the key results from a survey that was conducted by CIEE in February 2011 to determine what additional studies should be conducted in the evaluation of market effects.

Cover page of Emissions Reductions from Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in California Air Quality Management Districts

Emissions Reductions from Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in California Air Quality Management Districts


In California and other states, air quality management districts are considering using energy efficiency and renewable energy to target both criteria pollutants (to meet air quality standards)and greenhouse gas emissions. This report presents a pilot study, designed to quantitativelymodel the emissions avoided through new energy efficiency/renewable energy programs not already required by state or federal statute. This work used California as a test case, producing an analysis that could theoretically satisfy U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements for using energy efficiency/renewable energy in State Implementation Plan compliance. Synapse Energy Economics used a Western Electricity Coordinating Council-scale production-cost simulation model (PROSYM) to examine the impact of incremental energy efficiency/renewable energy on generation and emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon dioxide. Sixteen energy efficiency/renewable energy scenarios were tested against a reference “base case,” representing the expected structure of Western Electricity Coordinating Council in 2016 under a full implementation of the California 33 percent renewable electricity standard and other energy statutes. The scenarios were comprised of four energy efficiency/renewable energy programs (solar, wind, and both baseload and peaking energy efficiency) enacted in four different California service territories (San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Pacific Gas and Electric). It was observed that in many cases, a large fraction of generation was displaced out-of-state, and total NOX and SO2 displaced in California tended to be small. Generation displaced out-of-state included coal resources, and therefore resulted in far larger emissions benefits in Western Electricity Coordinating Council regions other than California. The large range ofcriteria pollutant displacement from energy efficiency/renewable energy programs across California suggests that examining output variance and uncertainty is important, and that both model construct and input assumptions are key.

Cover page of Electric-Fuel Scale-Up in California: Policy and Regulatory Support

Electric-Fuel Scale-Up in California: Policy and Regulatory Support


Advances in electric-drive technology, including lithium-ion batteries, and strong policy drivers, such as the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), have contributed to a more promising market in California for the widespread introduction of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)—comprised of plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). However, significant technological, market-related, and institutional barriers remain. High battery costs, infrastructure requirements, and consumer unfamiliarity with PEVs create hurdles to the widespread commercialization of PEVs and thus shroud the extent to which the supply of electric transportation fuel (e-fuel) will need to be scaled up to meet future demand. Institutionally, uncertainties about the rate and scale of commercialization present significant challenges for strategic and regulatory planning, coordination, and policy development that will be necessary not only to support the largest possible number of PEVs, but also to maximize benefits.

This report examines the current market and policy/regulatory setting for PEV and e-fuel in California, assesses various related costs and benefits, identifies key issues and barriers to their widespread and responsible commercialization, and makes recommendations for policy development. These efforts are suggested in the interest of improving the commercialization of PEVs, thereby: helping the state meet its energy and environmental goals, providing economic vitality, and more generally helping the U.S. and the world evolve toward a more sustainable transportation future.

An additional goal of this report is to explore the argument that electricity used for PEVs should be monitored, tracked, and in various ways accounted for differently than electricity used for other uses, stemming from the fact that e-fuel substitutes directly for petroleum use and thus has the effect of significantly reducing emissions of GHGs and other pollutants in California. Differentiating e-fuel from other electricity uses would facilitate data collection and analysis of e-fuel-related investments and benefits, may be necessary for the implementation of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program, and, lacking alternative financing schemes, would allow for the eventual make-up of road-tax revenues should PEVs become widespread.

Cover page of Energy Efficiency Financing in California

Energy Efficiency Financing in California


In 2008 the CPUC adopted the California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, which recognized the critical role of financing in helping California to meet its energy efficiency goals – especially for obtaining efficiency improvements to existing homes, businesses, and other facilities. In Decision D.09-09-047 (2009) the Commission specifically directed Energy Division staff, in consultation with knowledgeable financial experts, to prepare an assessment and plan for ensuring the most promising and effective financing instruments are available for energy efficiency investments. Later in 2009 the State Legislature enacted AB 758 (Statutes of 2009) that directed 1) the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy savings in the state's existing residential and nonresidential building stock, and 2) the CPUC to investigate the ability of electric and gas utilities to provide energy efficiency financing options to their customers to implement the program to be developed by the CEC. The Energy Division engaged a consulting team, Harcourt Brown & Carey (HB&C), to accomplish both the Commission’s and Legislature’s directions to identify meaningful financing approaches for efficiency. HB&C conducted a needs and gaps assessment, and has made findings and recommendations for the most effective approaches to facilitate capital investment in efficiency. Energy Division staff and HB&C together conducted public workshops in October 2010 to explore issues, needs, and promising ideas. Since then the consultant team has documented specific mechanisms, and compared them to both the scale of investment needed in California and the specific needs of borrower market segments. The attached report presents their findings

Cover page of Development of Fault Current Controller Technology

Development of Fault Current Controller Technology


Fault current controller (FCC) technology, also frequently referred to as fault current limiter (FCL) technology,has been identified as a potentially viable solution for expanding the capacity of the transmission system and its service life to meet the growing demand for electricity, by addressing the impacts of the resulting higher fault currents. This document reports on the program supported by the California Institute for Energy and Environment under the California Energy Commission in the development of distribution class FCC technology. The project focused on test plan development, prototyping, laboratory test, and field demonstration, with a view toward potential further technical development and application of the technology in transmission-level systems. The University of California Irvineled the project with overall responsibility for project management, administration, coordination, and technical guidance, with the support of the California Institute for Energy & Environment (CIEE) at the University of California, Berkeley. Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) was the host utility for the field demonstration, providing on-site engineering personnel, expertise and support. Zenergy Power and the EPRI/Silicon Power team were engaged to prototype a passive type FCC and an active FCC, respectively, for laboratory testing and field demonstration. A full-size three-phase distribution level high temperature superconductor (HTS) FCC prototype was designed, built, and field tested by Zenergy Power, plc. The prototype FCC went through several iterations of extensive testing at Powertech Labs Inc., Surrey, BC, Canada and at the High Voltage Laboratory of SCE’s Westminster facility prior to field installation. It was then installed at SCE’s Avanti “Circuit of the Future” for field demonstration from March 2009 through October 2010. The EPRI/Silicon Power team has completed an initial design for asolid-state based FCC. Due to design changesthat were necessary to improve the thermal management of the prototype but were beyond the scope of this project, this design did not advance to the laboratory and field test stages during the project period. This report provides a technology survey of FCC technology, including both the saturable core and solid-state types represented by this project, followed by detailed design considerations, laboratory test procedures and results, field test installation and metering, and field demonstration outcomes. The report concludes with a summary of the lessons learned and recommendations for future research efforts

Cover page of Field Demonstration of One-Cycle Control Active Power Filter (OCC-APF)

Field Demonstration of One-Cycle Control Active Power Filter (OCC-APF)


Electric power networks (utility, industrial facility, etc.) deliver power that was generated with sinusoidal voltage waveforms. When load currents are sinusoidal and in phase with the voltage, power networks operate at the peak efficiency, the maximum available capacity, and the greatest stability. However, most electronic loads draw non-sinusoidal currents and reactive currents, diminishing power-network efficiency, stability, and capacity. This coupled with rapid growth in power demand pushes the operating margin to the limit, often resulting in instability, inadvertent shut-down, and economic loss.

OCC, Inc. has developed OCC-APF products that cancel harmonics and reactive currents making “non-ideal” loads appear “ideal” to the power network. The OCC-APF is based on breakthrough technology featuring ~10x size reduction, ~5x weight reduction, and extremely rapid dynamic performance compared to typical. With small space requirement, low user interface burden, and high-reliability, OCC-APFs deliver system-wide benefits to facilities and utilities, potentially relieving congestion caused by reactive currents, reducing peak kVA demand, improving power-network efficiency, and raising the system reliability.

During this project period, OCC, Inc. performed field demonstration of a 480 Vac 50 Amp (~40 kVA) OCC-APF at the Santa Margarita Water District Monterey Villa pumping station to improve the power quality. The the installation of OCC-APF in the field has resulted in ~21 percent reduction in line kVA.

Electricity customers limited by capacity constraints in their existing facility transformer(s) or power distribution network can utilize the OCC-APF to relieve congestion caused by reactive current and enable load growth on the existing infrastructure. Customers who are faced with high penalties for poor power factor or are charged based on kVA rather than kW may also achieve cost savings and measurable return on investment through the use of an OCC-APF. An assessment of the facility capacity constraints and electricity rate structure can quickly lead to a determination of the measurable benefits of OCC-APF deployment.

Cover page of Energy Efficiency, Information Technology, and the Electricity System

Energy Efficiency, Information Technology, and the Electricity System


Information technology can increase energy efficiency by improving the control of energy using devices and systems. Awareness of this potential is not new—ideas for applications of information technology for energy efficiency have been promoted for more than 20 years. But much of the potential gain from the application of information technology has not yet been realized. Explanations for the slow penetration of information technologysolutions include the heterogeneity of energy users and uses, regulatory constraints, limitations of the technology, and market structure. In spite of these difficulties, there is reason for optimism going forward. This is because of a convergence of new requirements for operation of the electricity system—especially the need to make use of renewable generationthat depends on resources, like the wind and the sun, that are beyond the control of system operators—and improvements in technology—especially reductions in the costs of information technology. This creates the possibility that the old paradigm for system operation in which supply is continuously adjusted to meet demand will be replaced by a new paradigm in which supply and demand are adjusted together to optimize system performance. Implicit in this new paradigm is better control of end uses of energy, which seems certain to reduce energy consumption. In this paper I examine the evolution of the new paradigm, identifying reasons for the slowpace of adoption and obstacles that must still be overcome.AndI explain why adoption of the new paradigm is likely to lead to significant energy savings and other environmental benefits.