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What if we didn’t have to work around the grid we have today, with all of its inertia and incumbents and inflexibility? If we could start over and design the grid from scratch, what would it look like? And once we understood that, how might it change the way we are going about energy transition now, in order to reach that goal more quickly and directly? If what we really want is a grid that is fair, equitable, reliable, efficient, resilient, sustainable, and which serves our climate and social goals, what are the first principles we might work from, and what mechanisms might get us where we want to go? This freewheeling conversation aims to help all of us “think outside the box” a bit more, and imagine what the possibilities might be if we could just start over.

Geek rating: 9

Guest: Jim Kennerly is a Principal Analyst with Sustainable Energy Advantage in Massachusetts, a consulting firm specializing in renewable energy markets and policy, where he focuses on solar and distributed energy markets and policy. Formerly, he was a Senior Policy Analyst at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State University, where he researched distributed energy economics, utility regulation and rate design with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, and also worked on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) project. Jim also served as a regulatory analyst to the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and a consultant to the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program at ICF International.

On Twitter: @kennerlyJ1

On the Web: Jim Kennerly’s LinkedIn profile

Recording date: July 28, 2016

Air date: August 24, 2016


Jim Kennerly and Karl R. Rábago, 51st State, “The ‘Sharing Utility’ – Enabling & Rewarding Utility Performance, Service & Value in a Distributed Energy Age” (Feb 27, 2015)

Gavin Bade, Utility Dive: “How Wellinghoff, Rabago, and other grid reformers would design their own electricity markets” (Apr 9, 2015)

The 51st State

Jeff McMahon, Forbes: “SolarCity And ComEd Discover Shared Vision For Utilities’ Future” (Aug 9, 2016)

Peter Maloney, Utility Dive: “PURPA’s puzzle: FERC workshop revisits 1978 law, embattled as ever” (Jul 28, 2016)

EIA, “Energy-related CO2 emissions from natural gas surpass coal as fuel use patterns change” (Aug 17, 2016)

EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook, August 2016

@DeepwaterWind announcement | Block Island Wind Farm details

Jon Weiner, LBNL, “Annual Wind Power Market Report Confirms Technology Advancements, Improved Project Performance, and Low Wind Energy Prices” (Aug 17, 2016)

Maria Sarado (translated by Christian Roselund), PV Magazine, “Renewables sweep Chile’s electricity market and set historic low prices” (Aug 17, 2016)

Vanessa Dezem, Bloomberg, “Solar Sold in Chile at Lowest Ever, Half Price of Coal” (Aug 19, 2016)