Recent Research Papers, NRRI Insights and more
The Economics of Carbon Capture and Sequestration
This report provides a comprehensive overview of the economics of carbon capture and sequestration. It describes the different factors (both revenues and costs) that affect the economic viability of CCS. In terms of revenue, the challenges associated with financing CCS faced by organized markets are presented, along with the benefits of direct subsidy payments as opposed to tax credits.
A Review of State Fair Market Value Acquisitions Policies for Water and Wastewater Systems
The use of FMV acquisitions has increased in the past decade, with 12 states adopting FMV acquisition rate mechanisms. This may be because the cost of running a small system and meeting clean water requirements has increased, or because small system owners see FMV as a way to sell a difficult to manage system at a higher price. FMV acquisitions provide policymakers with an option to address the problems faced by the many small and struggling water systems throughout the United States by supporting the consolidation of small systems with large, better funded systems. This report reviews state actions on FMV acquisitions.
Whither the FERC?: Overcoming the Existential Threat to Its Magic Pricing Formula through Prudent Regulation
This research study addresses the emerging issue of how FERC can regulate the complex electric market, which has a growing mandate to decarbonize, is increasingly reliant on renewable energy, and must accommodate the changing role of the customer from “load” to prosumer.
NRRI Insights: Regulatory Questions Engendered by the Texas Energy Crisis of 2021
The February extreme cold weather event in Texas resulted in significant electric outages across the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) system. The disruptions contributed to the loss of human life, with significant economic harm in the aftermath. This NRRI Insights paper, by Dr. Carl Pechman and Elliott Nethercutt, delves into the regulatory questions that have arisen from this terrible event. These questions fall into two general categories: (1) Who should pay the enormous toll of skyrocketing electric prices and how much should be paid? and (2) How do we avoid a recurrence of this failure in the future?
NRRI Insights: Rethinking FERC
This paper reviews FERC's mission and its role in carbon mitigation and customer protection. As former FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee opined "the days of FERC being referred to as an obscure agency are over." By regulating the nation's organized markets for wholesale electric and natural gas, FERC plays a critical role in the health of the US economy. It will also play a vital role in determining the success or failure of the country's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect consumers, and move to a more environmentally just society.
NRRI 19-03 State Responses to Net Neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) order was released in December 2017 and published in the Federal Register on February 22, 2018. The order redefines Broadband Internet Access Service (BIAS) as an information service, regulated under Title I of the Telecommunications Act, rescinds the Commission’s 2015 Open Internet order to oversee Internet Service Providers1 (ISPs) under Title II of the Act, and removes FCC oversight of net neutrality rules. State responses to the RIF order were immediate, although approaches have varied.
NRRI Insights: Solar Energy that Pays for Low-Income Customers and Communities
This paper highlights the key aspects of program design and implementation that are helping providers deliver cost-saving solar energy and associated products and services to low-income consumers, organizations that provide services to low-income clientele, and disadvantaged communities. The paper also briefly reports on some of the most successful efforts to date.
NRRI 19-02 State Universal Service Funds 2018: Updating the Numbers
Universal Service is a key component of both federal and state communications policy. Its goal is to ensure that regardless of where they live, all citizens have access to robust, reliable communications services, including broadband connectivity, at affordable rates, with “reasonably comparable service” across the country. The four Federal Universal Service funds (FUSF)—High Cost/Connect America (CAF), Schools and Libraries (E-Rate), Lifeline, and Rural Healthcare—provide financial support to carriers (and, in the case of the Lifeline fund, consumers) to bring 21st century communications services to users across the country.
NRRI 19-01 Review of State Net Energy Metering
The objective of this paper is to summarize actions now being taken in many states to change rate designs for distributed energy resources (DER) on the customer side of the meter. Net energy metering (NEM) has been the most common rate design used for customers with small-scale generators that provide what is sometimes known as self-service power. Recently, there has been considerable interest in finding alternatives to net metering by legislatures and public utility commissions (PUCs), with some related deliberations underway or recently concluded in at least 48 states and the District of Columbia. These actions sometimes arise from preexisting legislative or regulatory requirements that trigger reviews when the total installed NEM system capacity or energy production, either for individual utilities or statewide, reaches a predetermined threshold. In other cases, regulatory reviews have been requested by utility companies through proposals to replace net-metering with other alternatives.
NRRI Insights: Telecommunications Questions to Consider as Schools and Businesses Go Online
The COVID-19 virus will have impacts on telecommunications services and systems across the country. This NRRI alert provides some thoughts regarding questions commissions may wish to consider as we move to a “virtual world.”