May
24
2018

Smarter Ways Forward with The Ray

Frequently, PACE talks about consumers’ interest in transportation from a fuel supply angle (oil pipelines) or integrating new technologies (electric vehicles). Many big thinkers are attempting to envision how, when and at what cost energy, telecommunications and transportation will converge. Many laudable “Smart Cities” projects and pilots with broad scopes of inquiry are underway.

While sweeping inquiries are useful, it’s also beneficial to focus more closely on a set of questions and issues. More discrete sets of information often have a better chance of getting and holding people’s attention. Those who live and work far from cities should also

May
01
2018

Looking at EVs through Tortoise-Shell Glasses

Aesop’s sayings are still with us today because they contain solid grains of truth. From where PACE sits, consumers will win in the race to electrify transportation if we take it slow and steady, like the tortoise. A recent report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance, (SEPA) bolstered my impression that’s the way the race is unfolding and should continue.

To be honest, I also may be influenced by a long weekend visit to California, where I rarely removed my tortoise-shell sunglasses and over 4 days not one of many Uber drivers appeared in an EV.

A key benefit of

Mar
20
2018

Driving an EV: The Promise and Hazards

PACE is honored to feature guest commentary by Commissioner Chuck Eaton, of the Georgia Public Service Commission.

I love technology and innovation and consider myself an early adopter. I could not wait to get an Apple Watch, and I purchased a Chevy Volt back in 2012 after extensive analysis. As an energy regulator in Georgia, I see both the upside and downside with electric vehicles.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s start with the grid – one of my daily concerns. Electric cars actually help our grid in Georgia. Our Commission worked with the power company to create a

Nov
16
2017

Driving to the Future in Electric Vehicles

The NARUC community has come to count on the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation (IEI) for creative and informative events alongside the official meetings. A breakfast panel on Tuesday brought together large utilities (Southern Company, BGE), environmentalists (the Energy Foundation) and EV consumer advocates (Plug in America).

Led by Phil Jones, a revered former PUC Commissioner from Washington state, now Executive Director of the new Alliance for Transportation Electrification, the panel united around strong support for electric vehicles and utilities’ central role in bringing the necessary charging infrastructure online. Regulators are just beginning to grapple with

Sep
14
2017

Smart Cities: What's in a Name?

After Harvey and Irma, some cities and towns may need to rebuild parts of their infrastructure. To do that, they can partially rely on disaster relief public assistance from the federal government, but also will need their own funds and sweat equity. Local government personnel, elected officials, and concerned citizens may discuss the “Smart City” concept as they formulate plans to move forward with recovery.

The word “Smart” clearly speaks to consumers, since it’s attached to a wide range of products and services. (It already has a longer shelf life than that relic of 1990s marketing, the “e- prefix”). No

Sep
11
2017

What's in Store for Storage?

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those directly affected by Hurricane Irma to visit helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text “Storm” to 51555.

During the recent spate of hurricanes, I’ve talked with friends and relations across the Southeast to see how they’ve prepared, weathered the storm, or in some cases, worked with line crews to assist restoration efforts. In several conversations, we discussed (again) whether a home generator is worth the investment. So, when the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) released its new energy storage market snapshot last week, I was doubly motivated to read it

Aug
23
2017

Energy Headlines Abroad - U.K. and Mexico

Energy Issues Facing Neighbors and Friends

Upon returning from a great road trip around the Southeast, it seemed appropriate to look abroad at global energy news. As we all pack up the beach gear and prepare to resume work or school, I hope you can find some use in what we’ve collected below. While neither the U.K. nor Mexican markets make an apples-to-apples comparison with the U.S. energy landscape, some facts leap out from the headlines generated by each country’s experience with deregulation or new technology.

S&P Global, under the Platts imprint, has released a

Aug
07
2017

“Ree”-Examining Rare Earth Elements

Here in Boston for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2017 Legislative Summit, I’ve enjoyed attending several informational sessions on current topics in energy and environmental policy. It’s been an honor to meet and talk with dozens of state legislators from all over the country.

Rightly so, the legislators, their staff and energy leaders are asking future-focused questions and trying to imagine together what the utility of the future will look like. Many of the panels and forums touched on exciting developments in battery storage and renewable energy technologies.

State legislators could also benefit from tactical discussions about how

Jul
31
2017

Choice, Consequences, and Consumers

PACE was on the road in July, covering national meetings of state legislators such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Southern States Energy Board, and the Council of State Governments’ Southern Legislative Conference. It was a privilege to hear hours of thoughtful discussions and be reminded how hard our elected officials work to get energy policy right for consumers. We were also able to share some thoughts about net metering and the importance of policies that avoid cost-shifting to customers who don’t (or can’t afford to) choose solar.

The energy policy workload isn’t going to lighten up anytime