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Energy and environmental policy

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E3 offers a unique perspective on energy and environmental policy, thanks to our diverse client base and deep knowledge of energy economics, technology, and regulation.

We are helping shape new energy policies through rigorous analysis for our public sector clients. Our PATHWAYS model provides long-term, economy-wide, decarbonization scenarios that map out trajectories for deployment of low-carbon technologies, illuminate interactions among sectors, predict costs, and identify risks. Policy makers in California relied on our analysis to set the state’s 2030 GHG reduction target and implement cap and trade for the electric sector. E3 has supported regulators and policy makers across North America, including in New York, Idaho, Hawaii, British Columbia, Colorado, and Oregon. We also advise public agencies in India and China.

Private sector clients benefit from our sophisticated understanding of how energy and environmental policies are affecting investment opportunities, asset values, utility operations, and rates. We assist clean technology firms and investors by evaluating the costs and impacts of policies on renewable and fossil generation, transmission and distribution networks, distributed energy resources, electrification, and smart grid applications. Our strategic advice helps electricity and natural gas utilities, project developers, and large energy consumers understand how clean energy policies and goals affect their business decisions.

E3’s services in energy and environmental policy include:

  • Policy analysis
  • Carbon pricing and market design
  • GHG abatement costs and strategies
  • Long-term scenario planning
  • Best practices in energy and climate policy
  • Strategic planning

 

Energy and environmental policy projects

Maryland Decarbonization Pathways | Maryland Department of Energy, 2017–present

E3 is supporting the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University in developing a macroeconomic assessment of Maryland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The project is divided into two phases. In the first phase, E3 developed a reference case of GHG emissions for Maryland consistent with existing energy policies. This work was presented to the Mitigation Working Group of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change in February 2018. The second phase, planned for 2018, will evaluate deeper GHG reduction scenarios with additional and more aggressive measures. E3 will support RESI in Phase II by providing cost and investment results by sector using E3’s PATHWAYS model in LEAP to inform the macroeconomic analysis.

People:

Tory Clark, Doug Allen, Snuller Price

Deep Decarbonization in a High Renewables Future: Updated Results from the California PATHWAYS model | CEC, 2015–2018

This project evaluates long-term energy scenarios in California through 2050 using the California PATHWAYS model. These scenarios investigate options and costs to achieve a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, relative to 1990 levels.

Ten mitigation scenarios are evaluated, with each designed to achieve the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals subject to a changing California climate. All mitigation scenarios are characterized by high levels of energy efficiency and conservation, renewable electricity generation, and transportation electrification.

The mitigation scenarios differ in their assumptions about biofuels and building electrification, among other variations. The High Electrification scenario is found to be one of the lower-cost and lower-risk mitigation scenarios, subject to uncertainties in building retrofit costs as well as implementation challenges.

This research highlights the pivotal role of the consumer in meeting the state’s climate goals. To achieve high levels of adoption of electric vehicles, energy efficiency and electrification in buildings, near-term action is necessary to avoid costly replacement of long-lived equipment in 10-15 years. Furthermore, market transformation is essential to reduce the capital cost of electric vehicles and heat pumps.

This project was completed with funding from the California Energy Commission Energy Research and Development Division through the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC). The final report will be posted here once published by the CEC. Supporting materials, including a Powerpoint of the draft study results, and three MS Excel spreadsheets of scenario model results are linked below:

Link to:

People:

Amber Mahone, Zachary Subin, Snuller Price, Nancy Ryan, Doug Allen, Gerrit De Moor, Vivian Li

New York GHG scenario analysis | NYSERDA, 2016–present

E3 is supporting the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in developing a detailed GHG analysis to quantify the infrastructure and policy changes necessary to meet state climate and energy goals. We are evaluating the GHG and cost implications of a variety of scenarios that are consistent with New York’s goal of reducing statewide GHG emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. In this work, E3 developed a user-friendly PATHWAYS model on the LEAP software platform for NYSERDA, as well as other modeling tools to support evaluating costs and options to decarbonize the electricity sector.

Strategic program development and consulting | DOE Technical Assistance to States, 2008–present

E3 has been a resource to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Technical Assistance to States program through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2008. Our projects help state governments better understand how to implement energy efficiency programs and how to make them cost-effective. E3 has advised utility commissioners and senior policy staff in Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Dakota, Illinois, Arizona, and other states on major aspects of their program designs. We provide accurate information, guidance, and background based on our knowledge of various states’ decisions, and share our expertise in standard industry practice.

Decarbonizing pipeline gas to help meet GHG reduction goals | SoCalGas, 2014–15

E3 worked with the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) to evaluate the potential of decarbonized pipeline gas fuels and the existing pipeline infrastructure to help meet California’s long-term climate goals. “Decarbonized pipeline gas” refers to gaseous fuels—including biogas—with a net-zero or very low GHG impact. E3 used its PATHWAYS model to evaluate two scenarios, one with heavy electrification of buildings and vehicles and one with a mix of electrification and decarbonized pipeline gas. Both were found capable of meeting the state’s 2050 climate goals with comparable total costs within the ranges of uncertainty that we evaluated. The results of the study suggest that the use of decarbonized gas distributed through the state’s existing pipeline network would complement a low-carbon electrification strategy. SoCalGas has used the results of this study to inform its energy and climate policy positions in California.

Publications

California’s 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan | CARB, 2016–2017

E3 supported the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in developing an updated “Scoping Plan” strategy for achieving California’s 2030 greenhouse gas target. California Senate Bill 32 (Pavley, 2016) requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. E3’s analysis evaluated the GHG and cost implications of different 2030 scenarios that are consistent with the state’s current policies and GHG target. For this project, E3 updated the California PATHWAYS model to reflect scenarios and input assumptions requested by the CARB. The model results were translated into inputs to a macroeconomic model (REMI) in analysis performed by the CARB to evaluate impacts to statewide economic growth and jobs. E3’s study results were presented in public stakeholder workshops and are reflected in the final Scoping Plan published in November 2017.

 

 

Feasibility and cost of potential 2030 GHG reduction goals | CARB, CEC, CPUC, CAISO, 2014

The California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, California ISO, and governor’s office engaged E3 to evaluate the feasibility and cost of potential 2030 GHG targets. We focused on emission reduction strategies through 2030, with an eye toward meeting the state’s 2050 GHG reduction goal. Using our PATHWAYS model, we developed several scenarios that varied the mix of low-carbon technologies and the timing of deployment. PATHWAYS is a stock-and-flow model that encompasses the entire state economy with detailed representations of the building, industrial, transportation, and electricity sectors. E3 team members briefed Gov. Jerry Brown and members of the legislature on the results. Our work informed the governor’s Executive Order B-30-15, which calls for a 40 percent reduction in statewide GHG emissions by 2030 relative to 1990 levels. California agencies are using our results in ongoing implementation analysis of the state’s climate goals.

Publications



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