NY’s First ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’ Rule a Major Step in Transformation of US Power Sector

March 18, 2015 By Vic Shao

Vic Shao

A major mile-marker was set in US power markets last week as the New York Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) issued the first regulations under Governor Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) strategic power market reform plan. New York State’s REV highlights the transformation under way in the US power industry and markets as state authorities increasingly look to distributed clean, renewable energy resources, intelligent energy storage and smart grid technologies as a means of addressing socioeconomic and environmental challenges.

Launched in Spring 2014, New York’s REV is intended to update and modernize regulations that govern the way electricity is produced, bought, sold, stored and distributed in New York State in light of the growing amount of distributed renewable energy generation capacity being brought online, the emergence of intelligent energy storage solutions and the growing risks, threats and costs of climate change.

As FierceEnergy’s Barbara Vergetis Lundin reports in a March 2 article post, New York’s REV regulatory proceedings seek “to redefine the roles of electric utilities and change the regulatory framework to facilitate much larger use of distributed energy resources (DER) – energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, and distributed generation like rooftop solar and on-site wind turbines – to meet system and customer needs, while still maintaining the core principles of utility regulation in providing safe, reliable, universal service at just and reasonable rates.”

Striking an equitable, lasting balance

At the heart of New York’s REV proceedings is the role incumbent electric utilities will play in the transformation of the US power sector. Regulators need to create new rules governing the transition to a new, clean energy economy. That encompasses striking a healthy, lasting balance between perceived conflicts of interest among incumbent utilities – which in the broad public interest have been operating under tightly regulated market structures for many decades – and the fast-emerging complement of younger, smaller innovative renewable energy, energy efficiency and intelligent energy storage companies keen to see their businesses expand.

Doing this requires careful, flexible and inclusive public planning and administration. The commercial and social interests of existing investor-owned utilities (IOUs) must be balanced against the benefits and advantages of opening up US power markets to a greater diversity of private and public sector players. Overarching and guiding all this should be the goal of enhancing overall socioeconomic and environmental sustainability and resilience.

Rewriting the rules governing US power markets and industry

Instituting reforms that effectively decentralize power markets so that they can make greater use of distributed clean power generation, intelligent energy storage and smart grid systems will enable greater numbers of US businesses, public sector organizations and local communities to participate directly in addressing critical challenges facing US society.

Decentralizing US power markets and fostering greater renewable energy and energy efficiency is a means of unleashing innovation, boosting sustainable economic development and growth and spurring “green” job creation. Ultimately, that’s a “triple bottom line” win for Americans – one that yields social, environmental and economic benefits that will persist over decades.

California has been leading the way. Government support and regulatory reforms have unleashed a flood of private-sector innovation, investment and job growth. In 2013, California enacted legislation requiring the state’s investor-owned utilities are required to acquire 1.325 gigawatts (GWs) of energy storage capacity by 2020.

This landmark legislation – AB2514 – is opening up opportunities for further innovation, growth and development for my company and other clean technology solution and service providers. It is also prompting a growing variety of California businesses, schools, municipalities and other public-sector organizations to participate in building a sustainable, powerfully efficient infrastructure and save energy costs in the process.

Vic is Chief Executive Officer of Green Charge Networks, an intelligent energy storage company based in Silicon Valley.  Since 2009, Vic led the company through its US $12 million smart grid project with Con Edison of New York, the US Department of Energy and Fortune 500 companies on a ROI-driven energy storage GreenStation with software intelligence to empower commercial and industrial customers to save on their energy bills. With more than 15 years experience in software development and complex system implementation, Vic is passionate in applying software to improve power efficiency.

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