New technologies and lower costs mean growing opportunities for distributed energy resources (DERs), such as energy efficiency, distributed generation, demand response, and energy storage. E3 helps utilities, regulators, technology developers, and large energy users find beneficial applications for these technologies. We are also examining the impact of transportation electrification on the grid and assessing the potential for electric vehicles to provide grid services.
E3 has been at the forefront of DER assessment since our founding in 1989. We developed the methods and models that utilities and state regulators throughout North America use to evaluate the cost effectiveness of utility investments in DERs. E3 has also developed tools that help utilities quantify DER location benefits and optimize siting. As our international client base grows, our consultants are disseminating these tools and best practices in India, Africa, and China.
Our distributed energy resources evaluation services include:
- Avoided cost assessment
- Cost-effectiveness evaluation
- Best practice assessment
- Program design and evaluation
- DER potential estimation
- Retail rate design to maximize DER cost effectiveness
- Evaluation of electric vehicle smart charging
- Evaluation of DER impacts on utility rates and financial health
- Zero net energy building evaluation and cost-effectiveness analysis
- Building energy code evaluation
- Net energy metering cost-effectiveness analysis
- Assessing the participation of energy storage and non-generation resources in energy and AS markets
- Non-wires alternatives and local integrated resource plans
- Regulatory support and expert testimony
Distributed energy resources projects
Working with the New York Department of Public Service (DPS) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), E3 supported the development of a new roadmap for New York to achieve the installation of at least 10 Gigawatts of distributed solar by 2030. The roadmap lays out a path that will expand renewable energy in New York, generating enough clean energy to power 700,000 additional homes, while also prioritizing an equitable expansion of New York’s distributed solar infrastructure. E3 contributed to the distributed solar framework by providing analysis that informed the plan’s policy recommendations. E3 developed a supply curve model for distributed solar projects in New York and used this model to evaluate program costs for different incentive program options. The analysis was used to inform the roadmap’s ultimate recommendation to extend the current NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive program to help achieve the 10 GW target.
Electrification of Transportation Rate Design and Infrastructure Applications | Hawaiian Electric Company, 2020-2021
E3 supported the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) on four transportation electrification filings. First, E3 and its subcontractors Anser Advisory and Black & Veatch designed a program for HECO to build the make-ready infrastructure for electric buses to support electrification of transportation for transit, tourism, and other bus operators. Second, E3 designed two new electric vehicle charging rates, EV-J and EV-P, for commercial electric vehicle charging sites. E3 developed a rate design calculator and performed cost-benefit assessments to evaluate different rate designs and propose final rates that will support low-cost public EV charging in Hawaii. Third, E3 and its subcontractor Anser Advisory supported HECO in developing its Charge Ready Hawaii pilot program to deploy make-ready charging infrastructure for commercial and multi-unit dwelling locations. Finally, E3 and its subcontractors Anser Advisory and Atlas Public Policy supported HECO in developing a proposal to expand its public DC fast charging (DCFC) infrastructure pilot to build out 150 DCFC ports and 150 dual-port Level 2 charging stations across its service territory. These programs – three of which have been approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission with the fourth project (DCFC program expansion) under review in 2022 – build on HECO’s Electrification of Transportation Roadmap and allow for HECO to support its customers in electrifying their vehicles and fleets.
n 2015, Hawai‘i passed unprecedented legislation, Act 97, which requires its investor-owned utility, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), to meet a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by the end of 2045. Strengthening the state’s economy depends on moving away from imported fossil fuels for both electricity and transportation and increasing reliance on its abundant renewable […]
E3 analyzed the grid impacts of charging light-, medium-, and heavy-duty electric vehicles (EVs) for the California Electric Transportation Coalition (CalETC), a consortium of automakers and utilities. To quantify the distribution system upgrades needed to accommodate residential charging of light-duty EVs, we mapped vehicle registration data with utility distribution system and load data for more than 81,000 circuits and feeders and 2,200 substations; we then modeled costs under different rate and charging scenarios.
Even with clustered EV adoption, distribution impacts were modest, and we found that managed charging reduced distribution upgrade costs by 60 percent. For most technologies studied, we showed that EV adoption can actually reduce rates for utility customers while providing net economic, environmental, and societal benefits for California. CalETC’s member utilities used our study to educate regulators and stakeholders about the benefits of EV adoption prior to seeking authorization to invest ratepayer funds in charging infrastructure and customer outreach.
E3 created a public tool for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to inform the development of a successor to existing net energy metering (NEM) tariffs for eligible customer-sited renewable generators. This tool helped the CPUC and stakeholders balance legislative directives to design tariffs that maintain sustainable growth of such generation and ensure that total benefits to customers are approximately equal to total costs.
The tool lets users evaluate different rate designs, simulating their impact on adoption of customer-sited PV and on bills for all ratepayers, while accounting for feedback effects on future rates and life-cycle cost-effectiveness. Providing a common model to all parties allowed the CPUC and stakeholders to focus on fundamental differences in proposals and scenarios, rather than on disagreements and confusion over model differences.
E3 supports the California Energy Commission (CEC) in implementing the state building energy code by maintaining the economic framework for energy standard requirements and allowed trade-offs for new construction. We have worked with the CEC and its stakeholders since 1999 to continually refine a time-dependent valuation (TDV) methodology, and we are now under contract to support the 2025 Title 24 Update. The TDV methodology uses a 30-year forecast of the social cost of energy that varies hourly and by location to account for shifts in system peaks over time, and regional variations in climate and grid utilization. . E3’s initial study investigated a shift to a value-based standard that accounts for the time and geographic differences in energy costs seen in California energy prices, natural gas and propane markets, as well as in the costs of electric utility distribution and transmission systems. TDV was initially adopted in 2005, and E3 supported the updates in 2008, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2022.
E3 built on a collaboration with Con Edison going back to 2000 to develop an integrated demand-side management (IDSM) model that expands the utility’s distribution planning capabilities. Using detailed data on customer populations, the tool assesses market potential for dispatchable distributed energy resources (DERs) within local electric networks, enabling Con Edison to identify lower-cost ways to alleviate local distribution constraints.
Con Edison has integrated the IDSM tool into its distribution planning practices and is using it to help realize the New York State Public Service Commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative. The E3 team continues to refine and enhance the tool, which won the 2014 Utility Analytics Institute Innovation Award.
Since 2004, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has used E3’s Avoided Cost Model (ACM) to estimate the benefits of energy efficiency, distributed generation, energy storage, and other distributed energy resources (DERs). The ACM has evolved along with energy markets and policy in the West, and it currently projects avoided costs for energy, losses, generation capacity, ancillary services, subtransmission and distribution capacity, renewable portfolio standard purchases, carbon allowances, and other air permit costs. The 30-year hourly forecast is differentiated across California’s 16 climate zones. Since 2019, E3 has provided ongoing support to refine the CPUC’s cost-effectiveness framework for distributed energy resources, expanding the applications of the Avoided Cost Calculator to include the cost-effectiveness of California’s entire DER portfolio.
The CPUC approves over $1 billion in annual funding for DERs using these avoided costs for its cost-effectiveness tests. The ACM is suitable for stakeholder processes and contentious regulatory proceedings because it uses robust methods and publicly available input data. E3 also allows the download of the ACM so that all stakeholders can audit any of the calculations.