Consultant
Kiran Chawla

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Kiran Chawla

Kiran Chawla focuses on creating models to forecast energy market prices and applying them to value generation and storage assets at both the grid and distributed scales. In a recent project she forecast wholesale and retail rates to support due diligence services for a private equity firm considering an investment in a distributed storage company.

She also contributes to E3’s strategy practice—for example, surveying regulatory policies and stakeholder positions for a large utility in the western U.S. that is evaluating its business model. Kiran also helps evaluate the need for new transmission infrastructure to connect the renewables required to achieve state policy goals.

Kiran has a natural curiosity about all the factors influencing her analyses and finds her work fulfilling thanks to a breadth of projects that continually expands her expertise. She joined E3 in 2015 and is excited to play a part in shaping a rapidly changing industry. Her work has focused on sustainable energy systems, energy markets and politics, climate policy, and the economics of environmental regulation.

Education: MS, sustainable systems and environmental policy and planning, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan; BA, technology, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India

Projects

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 the unique characteristics of the Northwest hydro system. Scenario analysis was used to examine the cost and emissions impacts of a variety of policy mechanisms, including: (1) regional carbon cap & trade; (2) regional carbon tax; (3) increased regional Renewables Portfolio Standard; and (4) a prohibition of new gas generation. The modeling results indicate that decarbonizing the electric sector in the Northwest can be achieved at relatively low cost with a policy that focuses directly on carbon reductions, whereas policies with an indirect focus on emissions reductions generally achieve less reduction, result in higher costs to ratepayers, and can introduce distortions into electricity markets with unintended consequences.

Key findings from the study include:

  • The most cost-effective opportunity for reducing carbon in the Northwest is to displace coal generation with a combination of energy efficiency, renewables and natural gas;
  • Renewable generation is an important component of a low-carbon future, however a Renewables Portfolio Standard results in higher costs and higher carbon emissions than a policy that focuses directly on carbon;
  • Prohibiting the construction of new natural gas generation adds significant cost but does little to save GHG emissions;
  • The Northwest’s existing fleet of zero-carbon hydro and nuclear resources play a crucial role in enabling decarbonization at a low cost—meeting decarbonization goals becomes significantly more challenging and costly should existing zero-carbon resources retire.

The results and implications of the study have been broadly shared with key stakeholders and government officials in the electricity sector, including investor-owned utilities, public power agencies, and environmental groups.

You can find the Pacific Northwest Low Carbon Scenario Analysis – Technical Report, and E3’s PowerPoint Presentation on E3’s website.

 

Publications

Electricity cost reduction and sustainability support | Los Angeles MTA, 2015–present

We are helping the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), one of the largest public transit systems in the country, to reduce its electricity costs, and define and achieve its environmental goals. E3’s scope has encompassed guidance on MTA’s energy strategic plan and quantification of sustainability objectives. E3’s effort has included analyzing data for hundreds of monthly electric bills, assessing potential electricity cost savings, and investigating regulatory strategies to realize cost-reducing alternatives.

Renewable procurement strategy for corporate sustainability | Large data center, 2016

E3 advised a global data center operator on renewable energy procurement in the western U.S. to support achievement of its corporate sustainability goals. We advised the client about factors impacting the long-run cost of the renewable attribute for wind and solar procurement, which is critical to understanding the economics of long-term renewable power purchase agreements. Our 20-year hourly price projections under various market and regulatory scenarios factored in natural gas and carbon price levels, the mix and quantity of renewable technologies on the system, the penetration of rooftop solar PV, and the deployment of renewable integration technologies and strategies. These scenarios supported transaction due diligence and provided a boundary for the ranges of potential renewable energy credit costs.


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