RMI: Managing the Coal Capital Transition

global carbon emissions continue to rise, rather than the steep decline that the science shows is urgently needed.

o      Managing the Coal Capital Transition

o      Non-Wires Solutions Implementation Playbook released

o      Applications to eLab Accelerator due on January 18!

o      Examples of eLab Accelerator’s impact on the energy transition

o      Amplifying the Accelerator bootcamp model

o      RMI and NREL host third working session for Solar Energy Innovation Network

o      Save the date for eLab Summit 2019: October 28th to 30th

o      Thank you to eLab’s Innovation Training Attendees

o      eLab Membership

Managing the Coal Capital Transition

RMI’s new Managing the Coal Capital Transition, the first global survey of approaches that can help ease capital destruction for owners of coal-fired power plants and their shareholders, offers policymakers a clearer path toward transitioning the power sector onto 2Cº and below pathway.

The approaches outlined in Managing the Coal Capital Transition are designed to actively facilitate the transition of capital away from uneconomic and stranded coal assets, and redeploy those resources to clean electricity. RMI believes these strategies can help mitigate political opposition to climate policy from plant owners and, ultimately, lead to a more rapid closing of these assets.

This playbook details 10 policy components and financial tools, based on nearly 50 interviews with industry, policymakers, and environmental advocates, and provides four in-depth case studies of coal plant closures in Alberta, Canada, Chile, China, and Colorado.

Non-Wires Solutions Implementation Playbook released with input from eLab Network members

Electric utilities increasingly can reduce their system infrastructure investments and save their customers money by employing non-wires solutions (NWS)—portfolios of distributed energy resources (DERs) like solar photovoltaics, energy storage, energy efficiency, and demand response—to cost-effectively meet growing grid needs. NWS represent a compelling update to traditional utility investment practices, helping keep customer electricity bills stable while enabling a lower-carbon electricity grid.

Based on interviews with more than 65 experts across 15 states—representing utilities, developers, regulators, and trade associations—The Non-Wires Solutions Implementation Playbook: A Practical Guide for Regulators, Utilities, and Developers is a set of best-practice recommendations critical to creating and sustaining successful NWS programs. Practical implementation guidelines cover four central elements: screening criteria to identify potential NWS projects; competitive RFP processes that lead to meaningful responses; evaluation frameworks to help utilities determine if NWS projects are viable and competitive; and a discussion of key contract terms that are specific to NWS projects.

Applications to eLab Accelerator due on January 18!

There’s still an opportunity for your team to join RMI’s sixth annual eLab Accelerator! A bootcamp for innovators in the electricity industry, e–Lab Accelerator has a proven track record of delivering transformative change across North America (read more below).

If you have an idea for a team tackling new business models, for utilities and other service providers, grid modernization and planning for DERs, electrification of buildings, or DER adoption at scale, it’s not too late to apply—you can find the application here.

Please reach out to Sherri Billimoria at sbillimoria@rmi.org with any questions. We hope to see your application!

Examples of eLab Accelerator’s impact on the energy transition

Over the past five years, Accelerator has supported over 60 multistakeholder teams to move their work forward faster than and more creatively that would happen otherwise. Some of the success stories include:

o      Activities of the PGE team from eLab Accelerator 2018 supported the filing for a demonstration in Oregon

o      Communities including the cities of Asheville (NC), Charlotte (NC), Hoboken (NJ), Berkeley (CA), San Francisco, Ketchum (Idaho), Bloomfield (Iowa), Juneau (AK), Plymouth (MN), and the state of Rhode Island, have all come to Accelerator to advance resilient microgrid projects and/or energy planning to reduce fossil fuel use.

o      For three years, e21, a comprehensive regulatory overhaul in Minnesota, has utilized Accelerator as their strategy re-set and path forward forum

o      In 2018, the Army, Air Force, and Navy met at Accelerator to have the first cross-service conversation about how each military service develops and deploys microgrids, and identified areas where they can work together and share practices to accelerate the deployment of those systems.

o      eLab has kicked-off several consortiums at Accelerator, such as GridLab, and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators’ effort to train and support state senators to pass 100% RPS laws.

Amplifying the eLab Accelerator bootcamp model

Opportunities to apply the project bootcamp model have presented themselves several times over the past year.

eLab has helped launch convenings leveraging the Accelerator model in the U.S. and other countries such as Nigeria and India, with a focus on topics such as mobility, rural mini-grids, and clean energy access. Read about the launch of an Accelerator focused on advancing electric vehicles in the Midwest, an event co-hosted by RMI and The Midcontinent Transportation Electrification Collaborative (M-TEC): https://info.rmi.org/e/310101/new-mobility-problem-solving-/5wp7jb/284867435?h=PtH5TzIU5YUsUlTnIUX1SwgamoBxU5tuPmAfr86PabM

Participants engaged in conversation at the Urban Mobility Lab in Pune, India

RMI and NREL host third working session for Solar Energy Innovation Network

During the first week of December, RMI and NREL hosted nine teams from across the country for the third working session of the Solar Energy Innovation Network. Each of the multi-stakeholder teams is focused on developing and demonstrating new ways for solar energy, storage, and electric vehicles to improve the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the nation’s electric grid.

By pairing teams of stakeholders from across the United States that are implementing pilot projects with analytical support from a broad set of technical experts, the Innovation Network develops novel applications of solar energy and other distributed energy technologies. Rigorous demonstration and validation of these applications in real-world laboratories makes them ready for widespread adoption. In addition, RMI is supporting Innovation Network teams by designing and facilitating interactive meetings where they can accelerate their projects, leveraging expertise from the national laboratories, expert nonprofits, and peer projects in diverse jurisdictions around the country.

Insights and results from the working session, and the program more generally, will be shared at the Innovation Network Symposium in June. More information can also be found through NREL publications and on the Solar Energy Innovation Network website.

Save the date for eLab Summit 2019: October 28th to 30th

eLab Summit will be held in New Mexico again this year, October 28th to October 30th. Please note the date, registration activities will start mid-summer.

This video provides the feel of Summit, and also gives a look into eLab’s approach when bringing together thought leaders to work on the toughest and most important issues in the electricity system today.

Let us know your interest in being a part of the discussion by contacting Alex Engel, aengel@rmi.org.