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[Episode #90] – How Will Decarbonized Power Markets Work?

This one is for the grid geeks! With the Green New Deal now a hot topic in the US Congress, while wholesale power markets still struggle to figure out how to accommodate new kinds of resources even as coal plants and nuclear plants continue to retire, the question of how wholesale power markets should work, and how they should value new kinds of assets and services, is becoming increasingly urgent. What would a power market look like if it consisted mainly (or totally) of wind and solar, with their zero-marginal-cost power? And if we continue to use out-of-market payments to keep clean but uneconomic nuclear plants operating, what will be the effect on power markets? Will power markets ultimately crash under the weight of accumulated patches and workarounds, or can their design be adapted to new social priorities—like combating climate change—and new kinds of resources, like large-scale storage systems? Can we replace the market construct of locational marginal pricing with something more suited to the new reality of grid power? What kind of policies can keep us on track to support transition and facilitate the evolution of the fuel and technology mix toward a high renewables future? Will FERC Order 841 succeed in opening the doors to storage on the grid? Are real-time prices the future of rate design? And as we move toward a deeply decarbonized grid, what are the implications for our economic system?

In this episode, we delve into all those questions and more with an expert who has worked on power markets for over 30 years.


Pete Fuller is the founder and Principal of Autumn Lane Energy Consulting, which provides strategic business and regulatory advisory services to the energy industry, primarily in the areas of competitive wholesale market design and participation, renewable energy and energy storage, and the intersection of state energy and environmental policy with wholesale markets.  Over his 30-plus years in the energy industry, he has held roles in engineering and power supply planning for Eastern Utilities Associates, and has represented independent power producers Mirant and NRG in the ISO New England, New York ISO and PJM stakeholder processes.  He has held leadership positions in the New England Power Pool, the New England Power Generators Association, and the Independent Power Producers of New York.  Since retiring from NRG a year ago, he has developed his consulting practice by focusing on the role of FERC’s Order 841 in facilitating energy storage in the organized markets, and on facilitating energy storage and renewable energy developers seeking to enter the markets.

On Twitter: @AutumnLnEnergy

Recording date: January 29, 2019

Air date: March 6, 2019

Geek rating: 9