The Energy Systems and Climate Analysis (ESCA) Group maintains an email list to communicate new, publicly available research, events, and other activities to the broader public. We send no more than 2-3 updates per quarter. Topics are based on current ESCA research, which covers key drivers of change in the electric sector including, but not limited to, domestic and international environmental and climate policies, technological change both in the supply and demand of electricity, and other market forces. All announcements are also posted on this webpage, from newest to oldest.
August 2020 Newsletter and Research Highlights
The ESCA group recently sent out the third installment of its 2020 quarterly newsletter. Download the PDF version of the August 2020 newsletter. If you would like to sign up for the ESCA public mailing list, please email email@example.com.
ESCA Research “At a Glance”
Interested in learning more about the breadth of research within the ESCA Group’s portfolio? Check out our new research overviews that summarize our current focus!
Tech Brief – Incorporating Energy Efficiency and Demand Response into Electric Company Power System Resource Planning
Electric companies, industry stakeholders, and regulators are placing increasing emphasis on accurately representing distributed energy resources (DER) in electric company long-term resource planning efforts. This study quantitatively demonstrates the impact of a variety of approaches to representing energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR) in electric company resource planning modeling and analysis. Resource planners can use the results and insights developed to assist them in selecting EE and DR modeling approaches for their own resource planning.
The Value of Carbon Dioxide Removal
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies represent a potentially potent, and possibly essential, strategy for helping manage future climate change and the possibility of rapid industry and company level decarbonization. This research explores and develops insights regarding the potential value of CDR technologies – to climate management, the electric power industry, and companies – and identifies additional research opportunities. For more information on this topic, please contact Steve Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Review of 1.5°C and Other New Global Emissions Scenarios: Insights for Company and Financial Climate Low-Carbon Transition Risk Assessment and Greenhouse Gas Goal Setting
In May 2020, EPRI hosted a public launch event for a new report that provides insights for companies (electric and non-electric) on low-carbon transition risk assessment, scenario analysis, and greenhouse gas goal setting.
There is increasing interest in analyzing company and financial climate-related risk and/or setting greenhouse gas (GHG) goals, with third-party organizations offering recommendations and methodologies. This research updates EPRI’s 2018 study and assesses 1.5°C and other newer global GHG emissions scenarios and derives new insights as well as validates previous insights.
Among other things, the study finds that caution is merited regarding the use of 1.5°C pathways in risk assessment or goal setting, and that it is important to consider pathway attainability, uncertainties, and global scenario issues that make them problematic as benchmarks. By validating previous technical observations, we are assured that EPRI’s insights and guidance are robust and a reliable basis for developing company methodologies, and evaluating third-party methodologies, now and into the future. For more information about this study and related research, please contact Steve Rose (email@example.com).
The ESCA group routinely submits publicly available research to peer-reviewed publications. Recent articles include:
Electric sector impacts of renewable policy coordination: A multi-model study of the North American Energy System
Parameterizing open-source energy models: Statistical learning to estimate unknown power plant attributes
June 2020 Newsletter and Research Highlights
The ESCA group recently sent out the fifth installment of its public newsletter. Download the PDF version of the June 2020 Newsletter. If you would like to sign up for the ESCA public mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Encouraging STEM Careers
During times like these, many of us have spent more time with family and some have become instant teachers. While teaching children at home can be challenging, science experiments and other projects have helped keep kids engaged. Learn the story of EPRI Scientist and ESCA researcher, Dr. Nidhi Santen, and find out how she is encouraging children from all backgrounds to get involved in science.
Dr. Santen has always used science as a tool to protect nature and says there is room in science for all types of skill sets. As a way to break barriers & stereotypes in STE(A)M, she has helped create “I am a Scientist” to encourage young students from all over the world.
Learn more about the campaign here.
Efficient Electrification in U.S. States
Following the publication of the U.S. National Electrification Assessment EPRI launched, a series of assessments at the state level to evaluate the economic potential for electrification over the next three decades across the buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors. Using EPRI’s US REGEN model, EPRI evaluated electrification outcomes across a range of state specific scenarios that varied different policy, market, and technology drivers.
Back Pocket Insight — Minnesota High Renewables Standards
Using EPRI’s US-REGEN model, this study explores the implications of several future policy scenarios for reducing CO2 emissions in Minnesota’s electric sector. The scenarios are designed to represent a series of increasingly stringent clean energy standard (CES) policies that progress toward meeting 100% of Minnesota’s electric load by 2050 from carbon free generation resources. Key insights from the analysis include:
- Minnesota can repower and expand in-state wind,expand solar, and extend other existing zero CO2 generation operations to cost effectively meet stringent CES policies.
- Achieving a 100% CES by 2050 in the presence of strict in state physical or policy induced technology constraints could be very costly.
- Battery storage can help Minnesota most cost effectively comply with a 2050 CES but does not fully displace fossil resources in the scenarios studied.
ESCA Recent Publications
Bistline, J. Estimating Power Sector Leakage Risks and Provincial Impacts of Canadian Carbon Pricing
Bistline, J. and Young, D. Emissions Impacts of Future Batters Storage Deployment on Regional Power Systems
December 2019 Newsletter and Research Highlights
The ESCA group recently sent out the fifth installment of its public newsletter. Download the PDF version of the December 2019 newsletter. If you would like to sign up for the ESCA public mailing list, please email email@example.com
Back Pocket Insight: Impacts of Recent State Renewable Policies in the U.S.
In the year prior to November 1, 2019, several state-level clean electricity policies were promulgated aimed at reducing electric sector CO2 emissions. Updates to renewable portfolio standards, clean energy standards, and offshore wind mandates, along with federal incentives including the production and investment tax credits, are creating a complex, interrelated policy environment. Using the US-REGEN model, EPRI’s Energy Systems and Climate Analysis Group analyzed the impacts of recent state policies on electric sector CO2 emissions and costs, including sensitivities to lower wind costs and higher natural gas prices.
The EPRI ESCA analysis finds that these recent state policies do increase renewable generation between 2015-2050, but could also cause up to 13GW of existing nuclear to retire earlier than otherwise expected, resulting in little change in net CO2 emissions while adding 0.6%-0.9% to NPV electric sector costs in the same timeframe. For more information about this analysis, please contact David Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peer-Reviewed Publication – “Economic drivers of wind and solar penetration in the U.S.”
In November 2019, ESCA researchers John Bistline and David Young published an article entitled, “Economic drivers of wind and solar penetration in the U.S.” in the journal, Environmental Research Letters. Using analysis from the US-REGEN model, this article offers insights into which technological and market drivers contribute to economic renewable penetration, and into the range of possible renewables shares in the future U.S. generation mix.
Key takeaways include:
- Future wind and solar cost declines and CO2 emissions policy are the most important drivers for new renewable capacity over other generation options.
- Very cheap energy storage does not enable 100% wind and solar generation, but it does help lower system costs in the electric sector.
- Unlimited, free inter-regional transmission does not enable 100% wind and solar generation, with or without cheap storage.
- Even in the most extreme scenarios, 100% wind and solar generation is never the least-cost solution to meeting load in the U.S. as decreasing value at higher deployment eventually outpaces cost reductions.
- The economics of new wind and solar are a complex function of many factors, so ultimate market diffusion is uncertain and requires detailed analysis to evaluate.
EEA participation in INFORMS
EEA staff are recognized experts in the scientific research community. As such, they regularly participate in scientific conferences such as INFORMS. Program 201 has had a long history of expert participation that has had substantial direct and indirect benefits for EPRI, its members, and the public. In October 2019, three ESCA researchers presented at the 2019 INFORMS conference in Seattle, Washington.
David Young presented on capturing the value of battery storage in generation capacity expansion models through scenario analysis using US-REGEN. Delavane Diaz presented on US-REGEN modeling efforts related to regional and local characteristics related to evaluating the potential role of electric technologies to meet energy needs and the resultant impacts on energy system and environmental outcomes.
Finally, Nils Johnson presented an analysis of the load implications of large-scale electric vehicle deployment and the potential impacts of vehicle charging on the US electricity supply system through 2050. For more information about EPRI’s participation, please reach out to David Young (email@example.com), Delavane Diaz (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Nils Johnson (email@example.com).
September 2019 Newsletter and Research Highlights
The ESCA group recently sent out the third installment of its public newsletter. Download the PDF version of the September 2019 newsletter. If you would like to sign up for the ESCA public mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Back Pocket Insight: A Primer on Wind and Solar Value Deflation
This EPRI brief investigates how the economic value of additional wind and solar capacity decreases as their penetration rises. Key takeaways include:
- Value deflation is driven not only by the weather-dependent variability of wind and solar but also by the lower revenues earned for their highest-output hours and their low output during high-priced hours.
- Studies of deep decarbonization do not find that single technology pathways (e.g. 100% renewables) to be least cost, in part due to value deflation.
- Metrics like the levelized cost of electricity neglect decreasing value and increasing system costs.
- Despite these effects, wind and solar deployment will increase moving forward, but how much varies by region and how uncertainties (e.g. cost, policy) unfold.
EEA participation in IPCC author workshop
EEA staff are internationally-recognized experts in the scientific research community. As such, they regularly participate on scientific panels, such as the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC). Program 201 has had a long history over decades of international expert participation that has had substantial direct and indirect benefits for EPRI, its members, and the public.
EPRI participation elevates EPRI’s and the staff’s scientific reputation and credibility, provides an impactful forum for sharing EPRI research methods and insights, and enhances EPRI staff expertise through engagement with other experts, helping set scientific research agendas. In July 2019, two ESCA staff, Steve Rose and Delavane Diaz, attended the Working Group II Lead Author Meetings for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Working Group II assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change and options for adapting to it. Specifically, Rose and Diaz are contributing to chapters on climate resilient development pathways. The Working Group report is expected to be released in 2021. For more information about EPRI’s participation, please reach out to Steve Rose (email@example.com) or Delavane Diaz (firstname.lastname@example.org).
EEA Newsletter and Research Highlights (June 2019)
The ESCA group recently sent out the third installment of its public newsletter. Download the PDF version of the June 2019 newsletter. If you would like to sign up for the ESCA public mailing list, please email email@example.com
Back Pocket Insight: Impact of Battery Storage on the Electric Sector Mix
Our brief investigates the potential impacts of low-cost battery storage on electric sector generation and investment changes, using the US-REGEN model. The analysis shows how battery storage can help (but not solve) the misalignment between wind and solar profiles and load shapes. Battery deployment may be extensive but changes the backup for renewables more than total wind and solar penetration. Energy storage can lower system costs and curtailments of wind and solar in some grids, especially if trends in cost declines for lithium-ion batteries continue. However, the impacts of batteries and other energy storage technologies can vary by region, assumptions about the future, and company-specific considerations.
Insights into Low CO2 Targets for Wisconsin
As part of its recently released Climate Report, WEC Energy Group collaborated with EPRI to assess the risks and opportunities associated with transitioning to a low-carbon economy. An analysis using EPRI’s US-REGEN model evaluated multiple pathways for reducing emissions in the electric sector and other key sectors of the economy, including transportation, industry, and buildings. The results improve understanding of how Wisconsin’s carbon profile could evolve under a wide range of assumptions around greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, natural gas and other fuel prices, technology availability and costs, and other variables.
EPRI’s modeling highlights the potential role for electricity to facilitate GHG reduction by decarbonizing the electric power system and electrifying end uses in transportation, buildings and industry. The exact blend of electric sector investments – to minimize overall system costs and maintain reliability – will depend on a range of technical, public policy and economic factors. Results from this analysis can be used to inform decision-making under future uncertainty.
EEA Research Summaries
The ESCA group recently updated its renewables research summary and published a new electricity storage research summary. The Renewables Research and Electricity Storage Research Summaries provide a list of all ESCA research related to renewable generation and the economics of electricity storage technologies, including works in progress. Web links are included where available. Publications marked with an * are available to the public free of charge or are published in academic journals. Other publications are available to EPRI member companies, as indicated by the program number in brackets preceding the publication. The research summaries are organized by topic and by date and are updated several times a year.
EEA Recent Publications (June 2019)The ESCA group routinely submits publications to peer-reviewed journals and publishes research that is available to the public. A list of our recent publications includes:
- Methods to Account for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Embedded in Wholesale Power Purchases. EPRI Report 3002015044.
- Santen, N., and Young, D. 2019. Electric Generation Investments Under Climate Policy Uncertainty. EPRI Report 3002015555.
- Bistline, J. 2019. Technology, Policy, and Market Drivers of (and Barriers to) Advanced Nuclear Reactor Deployment in the United States After 2030. Nuclear Technology. DOI: 10.1080/00295450.2019.1574119
EEA Newsletter and Research Highlights (March 2019)
The ESCA group recently sent out the second installment of its public newsletter. Download the PDF version of the March 2019 Newsletter. If you would like to sign up for the ESCA public mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EEA Recent Publications (March 2019)
The ESCA groups routinely submits publications to peer-reviewed journals and publishes research that is available to the public. A list of our recent publications include:
- Bistline, J., Santen, N., and Young, D. 2019. The economic geography of variable renewables energy and impacts of trade formulations for renewable mandates. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 106. pp. 79-96.
- Bistline, J. 2019. Turn Down for What? The Economic Value of Operational Flexibility in Electricity Markets. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems. 34(1). pp. 527-534
- Bistline, J. 2019. The Economics of Nuclear Plant Modernization in U.S. Markets. EPRI Report 3002014737.
Technical Brief: Minnesota High Renewable Standard
“Cost Effectively Achieving Carbon Goals: Renewable Standards vs. Technology: Neutral Policies – A scenario-based analysis of electric sector impacts through 2050”
EEA’s recently published Technical Brief highlights research results related to high renewables standards in Minnesota. This analysis investigates and compares the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy standards and technology-neutral policies for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from Minnesota’s electric power sector between 2015 and 2050. Using EPRI’s in-house electric sector capacity expansion and dispatch model, US-REGEN, the analysis quantifies the cost-differences between the policy approaches, and examines the key drivers of those differences, including (1) how generation capacity and transmission capacity investments in the state and across the region are expected to change over time; (2) the flow of electricity and renewable energy certificates (RECs) in-and-out of Minnesota; and (3) the revenues generated by in-state electric sector resources.
A two-page “Back Pocket Insight” that succinctly summarizes the research results is also available in addition to the longer technical brief.
Integrated Energy Network Planning (IEN-P): Case Studies
In July 2018, EPRI published a white paper identifying 10 complex, large-scale power system planning challenges that electric power system planners and regulators are beginning to confront today, and which are expected to become more pressing and widespread in the future.
In February 2019, EPRI published the first of a two-volume set of case studies that highlight how different electric companies in the United States have started to address the IEN-P challenges the second volume will be published in late 2019.
New ESCA Announcements Page and Public Email List
The Energy Systems and Climate Analysis (ESCA) Group has recently set up an email list open to any interested parties to facilitate greater communication between the ESCA Group and external stakeholders regarding new, publicly available research, events, and other activities. This outreach resource will help our group connect with and circulate our research among a broader network of interested individuals. We plan to send periodic (no more than 2-3 per quarter) updates that feature publicly available ESCA research, upcoming events, and news from our group.
The new email list is paired with an 'EEA Announcements' webpage that contains a list of past announcements along with a link to sign up for the ESCA public email list at the top of the page. We hope that this webpage and our public email list will provide meaningful opportunities for engagement with the broader public and a channel through which we can share ESCA perspectives on energy, climate, and economic issues of importance to the electric power sector.