Better Through Reform? Exploring REV’s Impact on New York’s Energy Future

Emilie Bolduc

Mark Henderson, VP, Utility Sales & Client Management, and I had the opportunity to attend the AESP Mid-Atlantic Chapter (MARCh) “Better through Reform? Exploring REV’s Impact on New York’s Energy Future” event on Monday, March 30th at National Grid in Brooklyn, NY.

For a quick overview of REV (Reforming the Energy Vision), Jackson Morris with NRDC clearly explains the core commandments of REV in his blog.

This was the best attended AESP MARCh event to date, and the innovative format of the event allowed for lively exchanges between panelists and intimate conversations between the audience and panelists.

Panelists from National Grid, NYSERDA, Sustainable West Chester and E9 Insights spoke about their perspectives on REV, and afterwards the audience broke into small groups to ask panelists questions directly.

The conversations focused around these five key themes:

1) THE ELECTRIC UTILITIES’ ROLES IN REV NOW AND IN THE FUTURE

Utilities will continue to provide resilient infrastructure and be the market enabler or “facilitator” between customers and policy objectives. Animated discussions centered on the question of long-term ownership and grid integration of Distributed Energy Resources (DERS), defined by the REV order as “end-use energy efficiency, demand response, distributed storage, and distributed generation.”

2) THE IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITIES FROM REV

Utilities and NYSERDA are enthusiastic about REV and have already started developing opportunities to meet REV’s policy changes:

a) Demonstration projects. Utilities and NYSERDA are implementing demonstration projects which will help guide the regulatory change, inform the development of the Distributed Service Provider functionality, measure customer response to REV, and guide.

b) Energy efficiency pilots. Pilot proposals are due July 1st and may include market solutions for energy efficiency, community solar projects, and grass roots support & engagement.

3) THE IMPACT OF REV ON PROCEEDINGS IN OTHER STATES

The key components of REV which may migrate to other states include distribution-level planning, localized markets, and open market /transactional economy around the grid.

4) EVOLUTION OF NY STATE PROGRAMS AS PART OF THE CLEAN ENERGY FUND

$5 Billion fund over 10 years to ensure the delivery and continuity of clean energy programs. With respect to incentives, NYSERDA mentioned, “bridge” incentives, which would bridge the financial gap to new market solutions.

5) THE FUTURE OF UTILITY-FUNDED ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS

NYSERDA will be working with electric utilities to transition some state programs that historically competed with the utility-funded energy efficiency programs to utilities.

At the conclusion of the event, there was general acknowledgement that there are still many unanswered questions around REV. We are all eager for answers when the New York State Energy Plan, REV Track II order, and the Clean Energy Fund proposals are released in the coming months.

It was exciting to see the high level of participation from stakeholders, the utilities and NYSERDA, around REV and the recognized need for utilities to evolve in the changing energy grid landscape.

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