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Electricity, Economic Efficiency and Growth

A cost benefit analysis in electricity typically achieves assessment of future costs but usually considers only a single type of benefit: operational cost savings.
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figure 1 - Domestic Output and Net Value Added for Selected U.S. Industries, 2012 $ billions
Figure 2 - Estimates of Federal Spending and Federal Investment by Category, 2012 $ billions
Figure 3 - Federal Investment by Category, 2012 $ billions
Figure 4 - Federal, State, Local Government Spending on  Primary Infrastructure, 2014 $ billions
Figure 5 - Economic Impacts of Scenario, 2012 $ billions
Author Bio: 

Silvio Flaim, PhD conducts impact assessments of natural resources and infrastructure in the areas of energy and environmental economics, taxation and finance. He is a former Chief Economist for the state of New Mexico and economic modeling consultant for Compass/Lexecon in Tucson, Arizona. Loren Toole, MSEE leads a variety of algorithm development and simulation projects related to electric infrastructure at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His modeling tools have been used in studies performed for the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security to conduct vulnerability assessments, to rank regional assets, and to simulate policy issues affecting the grid.

Building a fully integrated grid is the next great opportunity to realize higher levels of economic efficiency and prosperity.

Utilities' Role in Transport Electrification: Capturing Benefits for All Ratepayers

An EV charging infrastructure network only provides value and reduces range anxiety to the degree it is well maintained.
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Figure 1 - Net Societal Benefits from EV Charging Load
Figure 2 - San Francisco Bay Area Feeder and Substation Utilization
Figure 3 - Net Ratepayer Benefits from EV Charging Load
Net societal benefits occur, in large part, because electric vehicles require less primary energy than their gasoline counterparts.
Utility load growth from  EVs can actually benefit all ratepayers  by providing societal benefits and reducing utilities’ average cost of service.
Author Bio: 

Nancy Ryan is a Partner at Energy and Environmental Economics (E3), and an economist with over two decades of energy experience. Dr. Ryan was formerly a Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission, where she held a number of other senior positions. She taught applied economics at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy for many years, and has held senior climate advocacy roles at Environmental Defense Fund. Lucy McKenzie is a Consultant at E3, where she focuses on electric vehicles and other distributed energy resources. She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School, and spent 5 years working on energy projects at economic consulting firm Analysis Group, Inc.

The authors would like to thank former CPUC Commissioner Rachelle Chong, as well as Hilary Staver and Eric Cutter of E3, for their thoughtful suggestions and review.

Utility load growth from EVs can actually benefit all ratepayers by providing societal benefits and reducing utilities’ average cost of service.

Response to Brown Re: Net Metering

Is rooftop solar more like an independent power producer, subject to societal regulation and policy, such as wholesale-level regulation or retail-level resource planning? Or is the electricity that is produced a private consumer good, immune from regulation, policy, and planning?
Author Bio: 

Dr. Charles Cicchetti is a member of Pacific Economics Group, Inc. and the former Miller Chair of Government, Business and the Economy at the University of Southern California.

A response to the letter to the editor by Ashley Brown in our February 2016 issue.

We Made Light Free

Will lighting drop to a tenth of residential consumption, then below? Every use of a machine, appliance, device shrunk in its significance to the household budget.
Author Bio: 

Steve Mitnick is Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and author of the book “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.”

As inexpensive as lighting was, twenty years ago, we’ve since made it close to free. Too cheap to meter?

Build to Order

Engineers and constructors adapt to serve an industry in transition.
From gas pipelines to PV arrays, the nation’s contractors are seeing growth in utility infrastructure. Fortnightly talks with executives at engineering and construction firms to learn what kinds of projects are moving forward, where they’re located, and what lies over the horizon.