Actionable strategy for utility reform

“ELab aims to inspire and support change agents in the US electricity sector,” said Coreina Chan, a principal at RMI who oversees eLab. “We are helping to create the most critical concepts and tests with the most critical people in the industry. We’ll be hosting representatives from utilities large and small, regulatory agencies, technology providers, investors, customer voices and others who are coming together to help answer some of the toughest questions we face today in the industry.”

Advance actionable strategies to address the following key areas of innovation:

  • Integrated System Planning for New Resource Capabilities: How can generation, transmission and distribution system planning be integrated to better account for a wider range of resource capabilities? How should utilities define system needs and run procurement in a way that considers all asset types (categorized by technology, scale and location on the system)?
  • Wholesale Market Rules and Products for Distributed Energy Resources (DERs): What new products or rule changes are needed to allow DERs to compete on a level playing field with utility-scale assets in wholesale electricity markets? What is the role of aggregation?
  • Making the Leap to Comprehensive Regulatory Reform: How do regulators and/or utilities bypass incremental changes to cost-of-service regulation and make a transformative shift to comprehensive utility reform?
  • Achieving Ubiquitous Participation in Demand Side Management/Energy Efficiency Programs: What are the best approaches for engaging utility customers in demand side management/energy efficiency programs to make participation the norm rather than the exception? What role can nonutility organizations play?
  • Low- and Moderate-Income Customer Engagement in Regulatory Proceedings: How can major regulatory reform processes be improved to better meet the needs of low- and moderate-income customers and communities? What is the most effective way to include them in these proceedings?
  • Defining Delivery and Compensation for Resilience: How do we define delivery of resilience and how do we compensate for it? What market products/services or contract structures are most suitable for enabling DERs to provide resilience?
  • Transforming Rural Electric Supply: Co-ops and DERs: How can cooperative and municipal utilities transition from investments in traditional resources to new business models incorporating DERs (e.g., distributed solar and storage)?
  • Business Models and Policies for Building Electrification: What business models and/or policies are needed to deliver maximum value from building electrification? How should we manage the risk of stranded natural gas assets?

For more information on RMI eLab’s unique problem-solving approach and past projects, see