Clean energy policies, technological advances, and the growing popularity of customer-owned distributed energy resources are upending the traditional utility planning paradigm. At the same time, energy buyers have more choices than ever and must weigh complex trade-offs between costs, benefits, and risks.
E3 assists utilities, local governments, and large energy users with sophisticated analysis that guides sound investment and contracting decisions. We provide custom market analysis to support transactions in energy, capacity, renewable energy credits, and emissions allowances.
Our utility services include technical studies for integrated resource planning, bid evaluation, and regulatory support. E3 continues to break new ground with studies of integration needs at high renewable penetration levels in places like Hawai‘i, California, and New York.
Our resource planning and procurement services include:
- Reliability/loss-of-load probability modeling
- Production simulation and optimal dispatch modeling
- Renewable integration studies
- Flexible capacity planning and procurement
- GHG abatement strategies
- Distributed energy resource adoption forecasts
- Energy efficiency and demand response assessment and cost-effectiveness studies
- Energy storage dispatch and market co-optimization modeling
- Bid evaluation
- Regulatory support and expert testimony
- Custom forward-market price projections
- Energy procurement and contracting support for large consumers
Resource planning and procurement projects
E3 was retained by a consortium of public and private utilities in the Pacific Northwest to evaluate regional resource adequacy under a resource mix that, for both economic and public policy reasons, is transitioning toward higher levels of renewable energy and storage and away from coal. The study used E3’s RECAP model to examine the reliability of different portfolios and reliability contributions of individual resources such as wind, solar, hydro, and energy storage. The study examined both near-term (2030) and long-term (2050) systems. The results found that the Northwest region needs new capacity in the near term to meet growing loads and compensate for planned coal retirements. In the long term, E3 found that deep decarbonization could be achieved if sufficient firm capacity was retained for reliability during times of low wind, solar, and hydro generation. While wind, solar, hydro, and battery storage could provide reliability benefits to the system, replacing all carbon-emitting firm resources with these alternatives was found to be impractical due to the large overbuild required. Study sponsors included the Public Generating Pool (PGP), a consortium of publicly owned utilities in Washington and Oregon; Avista Corporation; Puget Sound Energy; and Northwestern Energy.
Building on E3’s prior work for the California Energy Commission, this study examines which resources will be needed to maintain resource adequacy in a future California electricity system that is deeply decarbonized and heavily dependent on renewable energy and electric energy storage to meet California’s economy-wide 2050 greenhouse gas reduction goal. Whereas E3’s previous work identified resources California should build to meet GHG and renewable energy targets, this study takes an in-depth look at electric system reliability requirements – and specifically which resources are needed to maintain acceptable long-run reliability in a cost-effective manner. After examining resource adequacy through loss-of-load-probability (LOLP) modeling across thousands of simulated years using its RECAP model, E3 found that achieving economy-wide goals does not require full decarbonization of the electricity sector and that the least-cost electricity portfolio to meet 2050 economy-wide goals includes very large quantities of solar + storage and retains 17 GW to 35 GW of firm natural gas capacity for reliability.
Solar power has grown rapidly around the world, driven by steep cost reductions and increasing interest in carbon-free energy. In 2017, solar power was the second-largest source of new U.S. electric generating capacity, and in each of the last five years it has accounted for more than a quarter of all U.S. capacity additions. Significant strides have […]
Study of Policies to Decarbonize Electric Sector in the Northwest I Public Generating Pool, 2017 – present
On behalf of the Public Generating Pool (PGP), a group of hydro-owning public power entities in Washington and Oregon, E3 completed a study exploring the effectiveness of a range of policy mechanisms to decarbonize the electric sector. This study used RESOLVE, E3’s optimal capacity expansion model, to develop optimized generation portfolios for the region through 2050 that capture […]
- Pacific Northwest Low Carbon Scenario Analysis – Technical Report
- Pacific Northwest Low Carbon Scenario Analysis
- Public Generating Pool_2018 Pacific NW Scenarios and Sensitivities_Final Report
- Climate Solutions_2018 Pacific NW Scenarios and Sensitivities_Final Report
- National Grid_2018 Pacific NW Scenarios and Sensitivities_Final Report
After Oregon set renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goals of 25 percent by 2015 and 50 percent by 2040, Portland General Electric (PGE) turned to E3 to study the flexible generation capacity necessary to meet wind integration needs. Our studies considered the variability, uncertainty, and timing of renewable energy output, and we considered alternative resources such as flexible combined cycle gas turbine plants, frame and aero-derivative combustion turbines, reciprocating engines, and energy storage. Our analysis informed the resource procurement strategy in PGE’s 2016 integrated resource plan. The studies found that PGE’s need for within-hour operational flexibility is not a significant driver of the value or need for new gas resources, even at a 50 percent RPS.
With more than two decades of experience in Hawai‘i, E3 is now helping the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) plan for the grid transformation needed to reach 100 percent renewable generation by 2045. Our long-term analysis supported development of the utility’s Power System Improvement Plan (PSIP), with modeling centered on individual island plans and interisland transmission. The study develops least-cost expansion plans for each island using a variety of policy cases and fuel price forecasts. E3 used its Renewable Energy Solutions model (RESOLVE) to explore the economic trade-off between renewable curtailment and investments in storage, and to develop least-cost expansion plans consistent with each scenario. We also solicited and incorporated stakeholder input. HECO filed the PSIP, including testimony and support from E3, with the Hawai‘i Public Service Commission in December 2016.
On behalf of California’s five largest electric utilities, E3 evaluated the challenges, costs, and potential solutions for achieving a 50 percent renewables portfolio standard (RPS) by 2030. Using our Renewable Energy Flexibility Model (REFLEX), we performed detailed operational studies of power system dispatch flexibility constraints under high levels of wind and solar generation. We found that achieving a 50 percent RPS is feasible and that California’s power system can remain reliable as long as renewable resources can be dispatched in response to grid needs. Our study recommended strategies for integrating higher levels of renewables, including greater regional coordination, renewables portfolio diversity, flexible generation capacity, flexible loads, and energy storage. We found that deploying these strategies would reduce the need to curtail renewables, lowering the cost of reaching 50 percent RPS.
E3 has provided procurement and rate-making advice to Wyoming’s Lower Valley Energy (LVE) since 2001. Our long-term procurement plans have carefully addressed LVE’s need to mitigate cost increases due to changes in either market prices of energy or Bonneville Power Administration’s rates. We have also helped LVE assess the merits of different rate structures and compare the value of building generation in its own service territory with the costs of building new transmission facilities to access alternative power sources. Most recently, we provided an independent evaluation of the costs and benefits of a potential merger with a neighboring co-op utility.