By Utilities Tech Outlook | Friday, February 01, 2019
Renewable energy competes more and more with fossil fuels. Distributed energy upgrades the grid economy. New threats to energy systems and their regulatory models are presented by climate change. In the year 2018, the U.S. had maximum churning in energy space between the state and the federal government as a result of the difference in policy and perspectives, is likely to intensify in the year 2019 as well.
State and local governments are pushing for clean energy and climate policies, either aiming to keep low-carbon generation on the grid or build more of it in the future. For instance, in 2019, the action of state clean energy policy is likely to intensify following Democrat gains in the midterm elections.
With the push toward renewable energy, states are also looking for adapting their utility grids and business models for emerging resources. North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Centre states, 42 states in the second quarter of 2018 pushed to advanced metering infrastructure, storage deployment, data access, and revenue reforms.
Gas generation will continue to dominate. However, continued advances in battery technology could make the bridge shorter than many would have expected. Back-the-meter installations outperformed the increase in utility batteries. Bloomberg analysts expect lower prices and increased market participation options for storage—such as the recently approved order 841 of FERC—by 2040 alone to generate more than 100 GWh of storage capacity in the U.S.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory states that by 2050, electric vehicles could increase U.S. electricity demand by up to 38 percent, providing a vital source of energy demand for utilities and the possibility of using the batteries of the vehicles to meet grid requirements.
This year, utilities across the country are likely to intensify these efforts, pushing for the approval of their EV charging stations, studying new rate designs to encourage charging and finding new ways to combine vehicle fleets to modulate their charging for grid requirements.
Renewable energy will increasingly replace coal. The United States Onshore wind energy costs an average of $26/MWh to $56/MWh without subsidies, while utility-scale solar energy costs range from $36/MWh to $44/MWh in November, Lazard reported.
Renewable energy price continues to decline; utilities are likely to withdraw their older, more expensive coal generators increasingly in favor of cleaner energy sources throughout 2019.