Completing the Energy Innovation Cycle: The View from the Public Utility Commission

33 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2014

See all articles by Jonas Monast

Jonas Monast

UNC School of Law

Sarah Adair

Duke University - Nicholas School of the Environment

Date Written: February 16, 2014

Abstract

Achieving widespread adoption of innovative electricity generation technologies involves a complex system of research, development, demonstration, and deployment, with each phase then informing future developments. Despite a number of non-regulatory programs at the federal level to support this process, the innovation premium — the increased cost and technology risk often associated with innovative generation technologies — creates hurdles in the state public utility commission (PUC) process. These state level regulatory hurdles have the potential to frustrate federal energy goals and prevent the learning process that is a critical component to technology innovation. This article explores how and why innovative energy technologies face challenges in the PUC process, focusing on case studies where PUCs have approved or denied utility proposals to deploy high cost, first generation energy technologies. The article concludes with an outline of possible strategies to address PUC concerns by allocating the innovation premium beyond a single utility’s ratepayers.

Keywords: public utility commission, energy, electricity, innovation

Suggested Citation

Monast, Jonas and Adair, Sarah, Completing the Energy Innovation Cycle: The View from the Public Utility Commission (February 16, 2014). Hastings Law Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2396848

Jonas Monast (Contact Author)

UNC School of Law ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Sarah Adair

Duke University - Nicholas School of the Environment ( email )

Box 90328
Durham, NC 27708-0328
United States

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