RegGuheert wrote:1) PREVENT the utilities from installing (or purchasing power from) utility-scale solar-powered generators (like Ivanpah) since those facilities unnecessarily take away the opportunity for more homeowners to generate their own electricity on their roofs while simultaneously raising the rate of electricity. Simply put, if it weren't for Ivanpah, southern CA ratepayers would be paying less, more homeowners would be bill-free, the duck curve would be less pronounced and less damage would be done to the environment.
Shouldn't the utilities have the freedom to build power plants they feel they need? Not sure how it takes away the opportunity (incentive??) for homeowners to generate their own electricity. When rates go up, won't people be MORE likely to install self generation?
No, utilities should NOT be allowed to generate solar electricity. Utilities have traditionally been regulated as monopolies because the generation and distribution of electricity was considered to be a natural monopoly
. This regulation is primarily to protect the interests of consumers as detailed in this article
But things have changed. As I have discussed, consumers are BEST served if they are allowed to generate electricity from their roofs using photovoltaics. This reduces cost to the consumers and cost to the environment. I am proposing that they be gradually regulated OUT of production during this period and only allowed to continue to operate in the areas where there may still be benefits of having a monopoly.
As it stands today, the government has been promoting the solution which is practically the worst one imaginable for the taxpayers, the electricity consumers and the environment.
RegGuheert wrote:2) REQUIRE utilities to purchase PV-generated electricity at a particular rate. This rate should be equal to the rate charged during the hour when it is produced. This rate can be allowed to go down over time as more PV generation is added to the grid. (I think this is how things work today.) There should be a "floor" rate that limits the minimum which can be paid for PV production. This floor rate can drop over time and should be targeted to allow a particular payback time for homeowners to recover their investment (perhaps 10 years).
This is already done in California to an extent, NEM 1.0 credits at the retail rate, and if you over produce beyond that you are paid at the wholesale rate. These rates are adjusted through regulation.
Agreed. But the current rules do not create a *simultaneous* demand, as detailed in 3) below.
RegGuheert wrote:3) REQUIRE utilities to accept TOU net metering for electric vehicles. Electricity consumed and produced by electric vehicle will be credited or billed TO THE VEHICLE OWNER, not the facility owner. This will further encourage ratepayers to consume and produce electricity at the most appropriate times. It would lead to the rapid installation of BEV charging facilities at most places-of-work and would simultaneously eliminate the problem of BEV charging for most renters.
Who pays for the charging equipment installation and maintenance of the charging infrastructure?
TBD. Since the benefit is for the ratepayer, they should probably pay for the infrastructure. Since the ratepayer is approximately the same as the taxpayer, this might be a good use for taxation.
philip wrote:How would the demand charges work on quick chargers?
This is a good example of a case when demand charges make very little sense. In fact there are real benefits to the society as a whole if we can make this work. The utility should be allowed to charge a surcharge for the installation of charging infrastructure to the extent that it might cause them to invest in existing structure to prevent overloading the system. Almost certainly this would NOT apply to home installations (if capped at a certain power level). But it might apply to places of business. If things are done smartly, however, we *should* be able to taper the charging to match the excess solar production while still balancing across the grid.
RegGuheert wrote:4) ALLOW utilities to raise the rates for electricity (and implement appropriate TOU rates) to accommodate the shrinking rate-paying base.
Not sure if the base would like that. Maintaining and operating the grid, base load plant, and peaker plants is expensive and they would be all that is left to pay for it.
Perhaps, but note that during the daylight hours, prices should be steadily coming down. With the advent of consumer-accessible battery solutions and battery-electric vehicles, there will be a firm cap placed on the price which it would be reasonable to charge at nighttime. Currently, the difference between consumption and production will be capped at about $0.15, but that number should drop rapidly.
RegGuheert wrote:These changes should hasten the demise of the traditional utility.
The utility provides a service I enjoy having. I choose to have electric powered lights at night, and feel the cost is worth it, as probably most of us do if you really think about it. Now, I may decide I don't want to pay the utility to keep my house cool in the summer, so I turn off the AC - again it is my choice. We can even go off-grid if we wanted to, but most will find that purchasing power from the utility to be the more cost effective option - but again this is all a choice.
So do I. But, as you say below, I do not propose that they disappear. Rather, I propose that we modify the regulations to recognize that a natural monopoly no longer exists for generation. The utilities should be preserved as a bourse to su
RegGuheert wrote:With the above changes, the utilities will soon cease to be electricity producers: this role will be taken over by the some ratepayers (but not all). The utilities will instead become the operators of the distribution facilities and the balancers of the production and loads by setting the pricing. In other words, they will become bourses.
I think you just described the California investor owned utilities. They actually own very few power plants; they were sold off during the deregulation attempt over a decade ago.
I'm glad you recognize that fact.
philip wrote:You may want to look up the owner of Ivanpah.
I'm familiar with the owners of Ivanpah. The government has created a situation where rooftop solar is being pushed out at great detriment to the consumer, the taxpayer and the environment. This type of nonsense needs to stop.
philip wrote:So in the future, when solar production (on both sides of the meter) exceeds demand minus base load plant power, what gets shut down and how should rates (negative?) be handled in that situation?
See item 3) above. The proper operation of the electricity bourse will allow for the value of electricity to remain positive under all conditions by creating an appropriate signals to influence both consumption and production. But we need to avoid the mistake that Germany has made of moving renewable production too far ahead of storage.
philip wrote:Like it or not, without a cheap means of power storage or major changes in the way we consume electricity, solar will become less valuable to the grid. These changes will need to be reflected in how we are compensated for our exports.
Those are precisely the dynamics which my proposal addresses. Using inventive policy initiatives to simultaneously drive BEV growth and charging behavior while we continue to build out PV roofs will address all of the issues you have raised.