News Article | February 27, 2017
Now in its seventh year, the Pharmaceutical Innovation Index (PII) celebrates the pharmaceutical companies that are most successful at developing and commercialising innovation. The Index can be summarised by the question: if you gave the same molecule to two different companies in early phase, which would make the best of it? Based on systematic, objective analysis of each company's performance between 2011 and 2016, the 2017 ranking sees the return of some major pharma companies to the Top 10, with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck rising sharply, and continued strong performance from the mid-size, specialist players - Biogen tops the Index for the first time in its history. Johnson & Johnson, who had led the Index for 5 of the previous 6 years, continue to perform strongly, but were leapfrogged by outstanding performance from Biogen, AbbVie and Gilead. Commenting on the index, IDEA Pharma's CEO, Mike Rea said: "The annual PII is the true measure of innovation in the pharma industry - meaningful medicines that deliver value to patients. The most eye-catching change in the R&D metrics for 2016 from the previous year was the fall in the number of new agents approved by the FDA: 22 for 2016 versus 45 in 2015. However, behind that headline was the companies getting the approvals: the outperformers of recent years, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Novartis, did not get a novel drug approval in 2016. Neither did Amgen, AstraZeneca (AZ), Bayer and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). In all, seven of the 13 historic big pharma companies, which received 14 approvals in 2015, came up empty-handed in 2016. The fact that innovation is being driven increasingly by smaller, possibly more agile companies, was highlighted by 14 of the 22 approvals coming from them. There are several signals there, for those who choose to listen. With 'innovation' such an overused term in the industry at the moment, the Pharmaceutical Innovation Index shows who is really delivering value to patients." The PII looks subjective measures of 'innovation', and assesses companies based on a range of factors including speed to market, attrition rate across phases - in particular phase III, reimbursement rates, regulatory approvals, on-market performance and analyst rankings. For a more in-depth look at this year's Pharmaceutical Innovation Index, details of the methodology and the top 30 companies, and to download the White Paper, please visit PII live on our website. For questions and comments please contact email@example.com. Through knowledge, insight and uncommon creativity, we unlock the potential of every molecule, inspiring and empowering the pharma industry to deliver medicines that make a difference. We work with clients early in the lifecycle at proof of concept, crafting a compelling product story and building a world-class strategy that helps every molecule reach its potential. It's what we do best. And there's nobody that does it quite like us. For further information, please visit our website or join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Path to Market Design for 7 of the top 10 (projected) oncology products by 2020 // Positioned 3 of 11 products Reuters called 2015 Blockbusters, including the Top 2 // Path to Market Design for 5 NMEs that were FDA approved in 2015 For further information please contact:
News Article | March 17, 2016
Earlier this month, I attended the 2016 Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Market Summit. The summit brought together thought leaders and stakeholders to discuss the future of Texas’ electric grid. Many of the discussions at the conference centered around the expected boom in new solar and wind energy capacity in Texas, and how ERCOT is planning to cope with the evolution of its electric grid and market as more and more renewable energy is added. While Texas will add a lot of new wind and solar capacity over the coming years, the grid operator is more than prepared to manage the reliability of the electric grid into the future. Even More Wind Energy on the Horizon Since the early 2000s, Texas has emerged as the national leader in wind energy. Last year, Texas sourced 11.7 percent of its electric energy from wind, with wind eclipsing nuclear energy, which provided 11.3 percent, for the first time ever. On an instantaneous basis, wind energy has provided about 45 percent of electric power on more than one occasion. On December 20 of last year, wind peaked at 44.7 percent of total power generation and provided about 40 percent of instantaneous generation for 17 straight hours. And on February 18 of this year, wind peaked at 45.1 percent of total generation and provided roughly 40 percent of instantaneous power generation for the entire day. Texas isn’t done adding wind energy yet. Over the next two years, Texas is expected to add more wind energy than ever before thanks in part to the declining cost of wind turbines and the extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit, which gives wind energy an extra 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of energy produced. With all of the new anticipated wind energy capacity, expect Texas to continue breaking wind energy integration records for the foreseeable future. For the first time, wind energy isn’t the only form of renewable energy expected to see significant growth in Texas over the coming years. Thanks to steadily decreasing costs for utility-scale solar plants and the extension of the federal investment tax credit, which covers 30 percent of upfront investment costs, Texas is expected to add 1,725 megawatts of new utility-scale solar capacity between now and 2017 — increasing the total amount of solar capacity installed more than six-fold. All of the anticipated solar installations in Texas are solar farms that use photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight directly into electricity. ERCOT doesn’t track the amount of solar capacity installed in the form of rooftop photovoltaic panels, so there might be even more solar energy installed than meets the eye. A New Market Design for the Future Texas benefits from a large fleet of flexible natural gas generation that has the capability to balance the output from wind and solar energy with the rest of the electric grid with relative ease. However, as the amount of wind and solar capacity increases, there will be less and less flexible generation available on a real-time basis to compensate for the additional intermittency introduced by wind and solar energy. Fortunately, ERCOT is already in the midst of a major electricity market redesign to ensure electric reliability even as wind and solar make up a larger and larger share of total electricity generation. To operate the grid reliability, it is important to perfectly balance electricity supply with demand in real time. Today, this balance is maintained by flexible generators that provide “ancillary services,” which refers to a collection of services procured by the grid operator to maintain electric reliability no matter what. ERCOT ancillary services consist of “regulation” (generators that adjust their output to maintain the second-to-second balance between supply and demand), “responsive reserve” (generators that are spinning and ready to supply power in case of a contingency), and “non-spinning reserve” (generators that are offline but ready to turn on in a pinch if needed). All of these services are procured in the market and are part of the total cost we pay for electricity. Beginning with a concept paper released in 2013, ERCOT proposed a newly designed ancillary services market better able to cope with rising solar and wind energy intermittency as conventional generation makes up a smaller share of overall generation. The new design proposes unbundling balancing services traditionally provided by fossil generators into separate services that more adequately address the needs of a heavy-renewable grid and are compatible with new grid-balancing technologies like energy storage. The newly designed ancillary services market doesn’t just help integrate wind and solar energy, it also makes the electricity market more economically efficient overall by breaking up conventional ancillary services into their component parts. An independent analysis from the Brattle Group, widely considered a thought leader in electricity markets, found that ERCOT’s proposed future ancillary services market would provide $137 million in cost savings over the next ten years, or ten times the anticipated implementation cost of $12 to $15 million. Texas Set to Lead the Way With lots of solar and wind energy on the horizon, and a new electricity market design in the works, Texas is set to continue its role as a leader in the integration of renewable energy with the grid. This might come as a surprise considering the state’s frequent legal battles with the federal government over environmental regulations. It just goes to show how the technology-agnostic nature of competitive markets can lead to renewable energy growth even where local government is against carbon dioxide regulations of any kind.
News Article | October 23, 2015
It isn’t officially autumn until September 23, but summer pretty much feels like it’s over. When it comes to energy news, it feels like summer was hardly here at all. The White House certainly didn’t slow down, announcing the final version of the Clean Power Plan rule on August 3. President Obama then traveled to Nevada, where he unveiled a plan to accelerate the use of PACE loans and announced $1 billion in new loan authority available for clean-energy projects. Congress took a summer recess, but returned to the Capitol Building after Labor Day with a full slate of energy legislation to consider. Among the items is a tax extenders bill with language to extend the wind Production Tax Credit that's now pending a full Senate vote. Also, both the House and Senate are considering bipartisan pieces of energy legislation that address everything from the electrical grid to pipelines, energy efficiency to hydropower. At the state level, solar continues to be a hot policy topic. Florida in particular is seeing increased activity around two competing solar ballot initiatives, where the divide between utilities and distributed solar advocates has proven to be more prominent than political differences. More on Florida and energy news from the Southeast, West, Midwest and Northeast below. (You can find our last state dispatches post here.) Southeast Florida A brewing debate over whether or not to allow for third-party solar financing in Florida has intensified in recent weeks. On September 1, the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the language of a 2016 ballot initiative to open up the state’s solar market. Floridians for Solar Choice, a free-market group spearheading the initiative, argues that the constitutional amendment is necessary to allow more consumer choice when it comes to buying and selling energy in the Sunshine State. Florida is currently one of only four states where laws expressly prohibit citizens and businesses from buying solar power directly from an entity other than an electric utility. A wide range of stakeholders from more than 50 organizations has come out in support the ballot initiative. The coalition has collected more than 225,000 petition signatures to date; nearly 140,000 have been verified by Florida’s Division of Elections. Opponents have put forward a rival ballot being championed by Consumers for Smart Solar, a group supported by Florida’s electric utilities, as well as the Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and the 60 Plus Association. Several of these groups have ties to the Koch brothers, according to a funding investigation by the Energy and Policy Institute. “We’re interested in how utilities are funding efforts to stop the adoption of rooftop solar,” said Gabe Elsner, executive director of E&PI. “This Florida case is a perfect example where there is an effort to increase the ability for homeowners and businesses to install solar, and sure enough, the utilities are against it, going far enough to create an alternative ballot that does essentially nothing but confuse the issue for voters.” On Sept. 10, Consumers for Smart Solar announced it had collected 100,000 signatures, enough to trigger a review by Florida’s Attorney General and the Florida Supreme Court. The group says its proposed amendment would allow consumers to own and lease solar, while also ensuring that everyone who uses the grid pays for it and that out-of-state solar utilities are not constitutionally immune from state and local consumer protection laws. Both camps have released polls showing support for their respective amendments. The initiatives will each need a total of 683,149 signatures by February 1, 2016 in order for their amendments to be considered in the November election. In other news, Florida Power & Light has filed a request with the Florida Public Service Commission to reduce electricity rates in 2016. The proposal will save a typical 1,000-kilowatt-hour residential customer about $2.50 a month on average next year, compared to 2015 rates. Separately, the Canadian power producer Emera Inc. announced it’s making a big bet on the U.S. power market with plans to buy Florida generator Teco Energy Inc. for $6.5 billion. North Carolina Later this week, lawmakers in North Carolina will vote on a state budget that does not extend the state’s 35 percent tax credit for solar and other clean technologies, to the disappointment many supporters of the measure. The credit is now set to end on December 31. A bill that would have frozen the North Carolina’s renewable portfolio standard at 6 percent, instead of progressing to 12.5 percent by 2021, hasn’t seen any action in four months. Meanwhile, solar deployments continue to grow in the state. Duke Energy recently announced it is on track to more than double its North Carolina solar portfolio this year, with 160 megawatts of new solar projects in 2015. South Carolina Sunrun launched a lease product in South Carolina on Sept. 9, adding to the company’s purchase and loan options introduced in June. South Carolina's Office of the Regulatory Staff began accepting applications from solar leasing companies in August, stemming from the Distributed Energy Resource Program Act (A236) signed into law last year. In carrying out Act 236, the state PSC approved solar incentive programs from South Carolina’s investor-owned utilities, Duke Energy and South Carolina Gas & Electric, this spring. The law also requires regulatory staff to issue a report on cost-shifting associated with distributed energy by the end of the year. Public comments are currently being accepted through Sept. 15. Alabama On Sept. 1, the Alabama Public Service Commission approved Alabama Power’s request to build 500 megawatts of renewable energy capacity. The utility said the decision will help Alabama Power meet the demands of large customers, primarily Fortune 500 companies and military facilities with renewable energy mandates. These customers would pay a premium for the power, so that costs are not transferred to the broader rate base. The commission made several changes to the original proposal, including a biennial competitive bidding process for projects, the approval of no more than 160 megawatts of projects per year, and a PSC vote on whether or not to approve each project. Alabama Power had no objections to the changes. Clean-energy advocates were also supportive of the outcome, including the Solar Energy Industries Association, which noted that there are just 2 megawatts of solar installed in Alabama today. “Our neighboring states may have a head start in realizing the environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy, but Alabama can use this opportunity to catch up and spur growth in this booming marketplace,” said Keith Johnston of the Southern Environmental Law Center. Virginia On Sept. 2, Governor Terry McAuliffe launched a $20 million loan program to lower financing costs for energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and alternative fuel projects. According to a recent report, Virginia currently ranks 30th in solar power deployments. Washington, D.C. In a major turn of events, the D.C. Public Service Commission denied Exelon’s $6.8 billion takeover of Pepco Holdings on Aug. 25. A strong grassroots movement helped to thwart the deal, but Exelon and Pepco have vowed the battle isn’t over yet. The utilities have 30 days from the ruling to appeal the decision. Five states have already approved the merger. West California Lawmakers in California passed a bill last Friday targeting a 50 percent renewables energy mix by 2030, and a 50 percent increase in building energy efficiency by the same year. Controversial language that would have required a 50 percent reduction in oil use in the state was ultimately struck from the legislation. The legislature also passed a bill to divest from coal (SB 185), as well as a resolution in support of extending the federal tax credit for solar energy systems; SJR 10 calls on Congress to extend the 30 percent tax credit for residential and commercial solar projects. In utility news, the CPUC announced on Aug. 28 that it has launched a formal investigation to determine whether PG&E’s “organizational culture and governance prioritize safety and adequately direct resources to promote accountability and achieve safety goals and standards.” The investigation stems from a fatal 2010 pipeline explosion. The CPUC also issued a citation to PG&E for $50,000 for the utility’s failure to safely maintain its Metcalf Substation in San Jose, which was burglarized the night of Aug 26. Meanwhile, regulators have required SCE to investigate the cause of several recent outages. Nevada NV Energy has filed a proposal with the state PUC to launch a community solar subscription program, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. The energy will come from two 5-megawatt solar farms and will be available to consumers in 100-kilowatt blocks. Customers will have to pay a premium for the power, but in return will get to go solar without signing a long-term contract or paying for anything upfront. The proposal comes shortly after the PUC voted to extend the state's existing solar net-metering policy through the end of year, as the commission debates the future of the program. A week earlier, NV Energy announced the state had hit its 235-megawatt net metering cap, which sparked a backlash from solar advocates. Vivint Solar suspended operations in the state a few weeks prior to the decision amid the policy uncertainty. NV Energy filed an alternative solar policy with the PUC in August that would have reduced the value of net metering credits and added new fees on solar customers. The interim rate is not what the utility proposed, but that could change in 2016. The Nevada PUC is required to decide on a permanent net-metering structure by December 31. As the value of solar debate played out in the Nevada PUC last month, it also played out on stage in a debate at Sen. Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit. In addition to rolling out new energy incentives, President Obama criticized lobbying efforts from the Koch brothers and others in his keynote address at the event, accusing them of “standing in the way of the future.” Arizona In late August, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved a motion from Tucson Electric to hold off on any changes to solar net metering until the utility’s 2016 rate case. The move came in sharp contrast to a decision made two days earlier, in which the ACC said it would start hearings this year on a proposal to raise fees on solar customers from Arizona Public Service. APS is seeking to increase its solar fee from roughly $5 per month to $21 per month. Commissioner Doug Little, who was elected last year, said that holding hearings on the APS fee increase request does not guarantee it will be approved, The Arizona Republic reports. Little also filed an amendment to study whether or not there is a cost shift from solar to non-solar customers. Meanwhile, the attorney general’s office is investigating allegations of overly friendly ties between ACC commissioners Bob Stump and Gary Pierce and APS. On Sept. 2, a separate complaint was filed against ACC Chairwoman Susan Bitter Smith for her previous work as a lobbyist. Amid the controversy, the solar advocacy group The Alliance for Solar Choice has committed to staying out of the ACC’s 2016 elections, and has invited utilities to do the same. New Mexico On Sept. 14, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez unveiled an “all-of-the-above” energy policy designed to support the development of oil, natural gas and coal, as well as low-carbon energy resources. The plan includes reducing soft costs for renewable projects through improved permitting, pursuing energy storage development, and possibly raising New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard. Separately, the Santa Fe-based group New Energy Economy filed a motion with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in early September, seeking to prevent four of the five commissioners from making decisions related to one of the state’s coal-fired power plants. The group has accused the commissioners of having close ties with utility executives based on 100 pages of text messages and emails. The first hearing on the Public Service Co. of New Mexico-owned coal plant is scheduled for Oct. 13. Alaska After his appearance in Nevada, President Obama made his way north to Alaska where he called for urgent action to address climate change. The Obama administration said it plans to launch a $4 million renewable energy initiative for remote Alaskan communities. Shortly before the president’s trip, the federal government gave Royal Dutch Shell final approval to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's northwest coast. Washington Washington state recently passed a $40 million extension to the state’s Clean Energy Fund. As part of the implementation process, the Department of Commerce will soon convene two advisory panels, one for electric utilities and one for clean-energy research and development. The panels are expected to hold public meetings through September to determine how to distribute the funds. Colorado On Aug. 26, the Colorado PUC voted to uphold net metering in its current form, despite calls for change from the state's largest electric utility, Xcel Energy. Separately, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced her state will join a multi-state suit against the Clean Power Plan. Hawaii NextEra Energy recently offered to make 50 new commitments to Hawaiian electricity customers as part of the Florida-based company’s $4.3 billion proposal to buy out Hawaiian Electric Industries. Promises include a commitment to Hawaii’s 100 percent renewable energy target, new spending on smart grid technology, and nearly $1 billion in customer savings. In July, Hawaii Gov. David Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that he opposes the acquisition, and is recommending that the PUC reject it. More than 40 state and county leaders have come together to explore whether a public utility ownership option is a viable alternative. While opposition is strong, the two utilities are taking steps to move the merger forward. The commission will hold several public meetings on all islands over the next two months. A final decision is expected by June 2016. Midwest Ohio On August 31, the Ohio PUC held its first hearing on FirstEnergy’s rate case that would require customers at the holding company’s three distribution utilities -- Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating, and Toledo Edison -- to purchase power from two of its struggling power plants for the next 15 years. FirstEnergy claims the two plants -- a large, old coal plant in Stratton, Ohio and a large, old nuclear plant on Lake Erie -- need to stay open to maintain grid reliability and energy affordability. The company has admitted that electricity costs may rise in the near term, but estimates the deal will save ratepayers $2 billion over the 15-year period. However, according to the Ohio Consumers' Counsel, the deal would cost ratepayers $3 billion over the lifetime of the agreement. FirstEnergy’s consultant also admitted at the hearing that future wholesale energy costs were overestimated in the utility’s forecast, undercutting the credibility of the utility’s plan. In addition to costs, there are concerns about PUC oversight. Environmental groups and competitive energy providers Dynegy and AEP are also opposed to the FirstEnergy deal. Earlier in the year, PUCO rejected similar “bailout” proposals from Duke and AEP. As hearings on the FirstEnergy proposal continue through fall, Ohioans will also debate the future of the state's stalled renewable portfolio standard. Legislation passed last year put a two-year freeze on the RPS. Ohio’s Energy Mandates Study Committee now has until September 30 to decide how the state should proceed. A broad coalition of state business, health, community and environmental groups has come out in support of lifting the freeze. Advocates say lifting the RPS will help Ohio comply with the Clean Power Plan. Many lawmakers are against the RPS, however. Meanwhile, Ohio is already in litigation challenging the new federal rules. Michigan Michigan officials recently announced they plan to develop their own compliance strategy for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, as opposed to letting the federal government devise a plan for the state. The decision has received support from a broad group of energy stakeholders. The final EPA rule gives states until 2018 to file their carbon reduction plans, and until 2022 to begin making emissions cuts. Michigan will need all of the time allotted in order to comply, said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy, on a recent call with reporters. “We’re not filing anything early,” she said. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration is preparing to comply with the rule in part by raising Michigan’s 10 percent renewable energy target through voluntary measures. Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Schuette has joined a lawsuit trying to block the federal plan. Brader said that Schuette is acting alone, and that the governor’s office does not plan to join the challenge. Work also continues in the Michigan state legislature, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers recently introduced a package of bills, dubbed the “Energy Freedom bills,” to lift the cap on the state’s net metering program and allow consumers to buy shares of a community renewable energy project. Another set of bills in the package would establish fair value pricing, which “ensures that homeowners and businesses get paid what utility companies would pay themselves for producing renewable energy,” according to the bill sponsors. Under the bill, the Michigan Public Service Commission would come up with a methodology that “accounts for the value of the renewable energy, its delivery, generation capacity, transmission capacity, transmission and distribution line losses, environmental value, and other values that are not always considered in current energy prices.” The Energy Freedom legislation comes in response to a separate bill (SB 0438) that would eliminate net metering in Michigan. The proposal has received support from utilities and several Republicans, but is opposed by solar customers and Tea Party member Rep. Gary Glenn, who is a sponsor of the Energy Freedom bills. Wisconsin The Wisconsin PSC will hold public hearings Sept. 16 and Oct. 29 on Xcel Energy’s request to increase electric revenues by 3.9 percent and natural gas by 5 percent. The utility has proposed to lower the cost of electricity, while more than doubling the flat monthly service fee on about 255,000 non-industrial customers. Meanwhile, the renewables industry is far less than thrilled with Governor Scott Walker’s record on wind and solar, which has put the state well behind its neighbors on clean energy deployments, Bloomberg reports. Walker, a Republican presidential hopeful, also opposes the Clean Power Plan. Sen. Ron Johnson opposes the CPP, too. The League of Conservation Voters and EDF Action launched a $1.6 million ad campaign in Wisconsin on Sept. 1 to urge Sen. Johnson to end his opposition to the CPP, with the U.S. Senate expected to consider votes on the EPA’s plan this month. Illinois Exelon’s nuclear fleet in Illinois has cleared PJM’s most recent capacity auction, throwing a lifeline to the utility’s troubled Quad Cities and Byron plants, the Quad-City Business Journal reports. The decision allows the nuclear plants to sell power into the wholesale power market until 2017. Exelon has said it will need to keep all of its Illinois nuclear plants in operation in order to comply with the EPA’s new carbon regulations, and is pushing for a "low-carbon portfolio standard" in the state. Iowa In late August, Pella Cooperative Electric withdrew plans to impose an additional $57.50 monthly fee on solar customers, which would have resulted in one of the highest fixed rates in the country. Pella sent a letter to its 3,000 members in June notifying them that the fixed rate increase would apply to anyone who installed solar after Aug. 15. The co-op eventually backed down under pressure. Kansas The Kansas Corporation Commission gave Westar Energy the green light for a $78 million rate increase on nearly 700,000 customers, which is half of what the utility initially sought. Regulators also postponed consideration of a special charge on solar customers, but plan to address it in a future hearing. In the meantime, potential solar customers have been put on notice that the rules could change. National solar installers have been barred from intervening in the solar policy docket. Northeast Maine In response to a factory closure, Governor Paul LePage sent a letter to Maine’s legislative leaders in late August calling on them to reform the state’s “obsolete and costly energy policies.” LePage put forward three pieces of legislation last session that he criticized lawmakers for not passing, including a bill (LD 1987) that would have eliminated both the state’s renewable portfolio standard and net metering program. That bill passed in the Senate, but died in the House in June. The state legislature ultimately passed a bill (LD 1263) that sets the stage to replace the current net energy metering policy with an innovative alternative. New Hampshire SolarCity has expanded its New Hampshire presence with a new operations center in Manchester. Gov. Maggie Hassan attended the opening on Sept. 9. The center is SolarCity's first in the state, after launching a New Hampshire service in April. The expansion has renewed questions about the future of New Hampshire’s renewable energy incentives. Liberty Utilities hit its net metering cap in July, and other utilities are approaching their limits. At the SolarCity opening, Gov. Hassan said her office will “take a look at that issue.” Meanwhile, the PUC has put all renewable energy rebates on hold after the state’s renewable energy fund brought in less revenue than expected. The programs are expected to reopen, albeit with decreased incentives, once the PUC sets a 2016 budget. Massachusetts Policymakers in Massachusetts are grappling with how to develop a sustainable solar policy with the state’s net-metering cap fast approaching. National Grid already hit its cap in March, generally making solar projects less economical. The Democratic-led state senate passed a bill before the summer recess in July to lift the net metering cap until Massachusetts reaches its target of 1,600 megawatts of installed solar. In August, Gov. Charlie Baker introduced a separate bill that would raise the cap for all solar projects in the interim, and eventually reduce compensation for large municipal projects. A robust debate is expected in the legislature, now that lawmakers have returned. Also in August, Massachusetts utilities Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil filed grid modernization plans to reduce energy costs, boost resiliency and improve the integration of distributed resources, EnergyBiz reports. Unitil plans to spend $12 million to become more of an “enabling platform.” Eversource has proposed a $430.7 million, five-year plan with four main components: grid-wide situational awareness, advanced analytics, real-time flexibility and distributed generation integration. National Grid presented four options that range from $225.3 million over five years, up to $1.3 billion over 10 years. All three utilities will offer optional time-of-use rates for customers. New York Stakeholders in New York continued to work on the Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding through the summer. On August 18, the Market Design and Platform Technology Working Groups filed their final report with the New York State Department of Public Service as staff develop guidance for New York utility Distributed System Implementation Plans. Also under the REV umbrella, NYSERDA announced Donovan Gordon will lead efforts to expand renewable heating and cooling markets in New York, and Gov. Cuomo has announced the state’s first large-scale anaerobic digester project on Long Island. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has filed a letter with the EPA seeking a stay of implementation and reconsideration of the Clean Power Plan, calling it “unlawful” and “fundamentally flawed.” Christie’s office said New Jersey is the first “clean energy” state to file an objection to the rule. Action against the CPP comes shortly after Christie upheld a law to expand New Jersey’s net metering caps, and as state leaders work to update New Jersey’s 2011 Energy Master Plan. Several stakeholders pushed for a higher renewable energy targets at a public hearing on Aug. 17. Separately, the Bureau of Land Management has confirmed it will host an offshore wind auction this fall for sites off the coast of New Jersey. The 344,000 acres available for leasing could support up to 3.4 gigawatts of commercial wind generation.
News Article | February 15, 2017
NEW YORK, February 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- IDEA Pharma, the leading Path to Market Design practice in pharma/ biotech, is delighted to announce the appointment of Geoff Birkett as Vice President, US Client Development. (Photo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/468449/...
News Article | March 4, 2016
Europe’s electricity market, which has some of the highest renewable energy shares in the world, is suffering from a profound investment crisis. Sonja van Renssen spoke with top experts from government, business and academia about the causes and possible solutions. Conclusion: “tinkering around the edges” won’t do – “a complete makeover” of Europe’s market design is needed. Courtesy of World Energy Focus. The European electricity market today is not fit for purpose. “All the EU’s liberalisation packages concentrated on opening up markets,” says Philip Lowe, Vice Chair of the Energy Trilemma study at the World Energy Council. Few people know more about European energy market rules than Lowe, for many years a top official at the European Commission. His assessment of the EU’s legislation is remarkably critical. “They didn’t build into that market design the two other components of our energy policies, which are security of supply and low-carbon. The need to move to a low-carbon economy has changed the parameters of the [energy] challenge.” Europe’s climate goals require a substantial share of variable solar and wind power, even if nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) were to grow significantly. The problem is that the market is not well suited to integrate this growing shares of (subsidised) renewables. “Electricity markets are designed to reflect and optimise the cost structures of conventional technologies we are familiar with from 20th century electricity systems,” says Malcolm Keay of the prestigious Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) in the UK. European electricity markets are “broken”, he argues in a paper published in January. “They are not suited to the systems we are developing to meet 21st century needs and circumstances, and they do not give effective signals in situations where, as at present, one set of technologies is receiving support from outside the market, while other technologies are expected to remunerate themselves from the market – yet both sets of technologies are operating in the same market.” He warns that this problem is structural. “Even if the cost of wind or other renewable sources attains ‘grid parity’, and even if there is a significant carbon price, the current energy market will not provide a secure basis for remunerating investment in intermittent renewables.” This is because solar and wind produce power at near-zero marginal cost and as they both tend to generate the most electricity in the middle of the day, they flatten the intraday price curve, wiping out profit margins for all types of generation. This creates a profound investment crisis for renewable as much as for fossil fuel-generators. The flattening of the price curve has the additional effect of discouraging flexible demand from consumers – just when such demand response is becoming more viable through smart grid technologies. The investment crisis in the European utility sector has led to an intensive debate on how the “broken” market should be “redesigned”. So far, this debate has focused mainly on capacity mechanisms, which some countries have set up (or are considering setting up) to ensure that supply will not fail. They are not a new idea. “Until EU policies were put in place, the electricity system was based on energy components as well as capacity components,” explains Marco Margheri, Senior Vice President for Public and EU affairs at Edison, and also Vice Chair of the World Energy Council’s Italian Committee and leader of the World Energy Council’s Market Design Task Force for the Europe region. This group will feed the European Commission with ideas from March onwards, to help shape legislative proposals on market design which the European Commission in Brussels is expected to announce by the end of the year. What is already clear is that capacity markets are part of the discussion, but cannot be the whole solution. “We at the World Energy Council believe there is a broader scenario to be taken care of,” says Margheri. “For instance, in the long run carbon pricing will be paramount to get the economics of climate policies straight. And technology will evolve at a faster pace than we have experienced so far.” Keay believes that in the longer term, EU Member States are headed for what are called ‘investment markets’, which focus not on competition in the wholesale market, but competition to stimulate investment before power is even delivered to the market. This is also one of Lowe’s recommendations for market redesign: “Public support should be concentrated not on subsidising production, but on the pre-competitive phase.” He sees two roles for subsidies: one, to encourage the development and roll-out of new technologies and two, to stimulate large investments that are too risky for private capital. He also believes policymakers need to create a market for security of supply. For him, this comes down to a forced restructuring of the energy industry: “You have to ask companies to bid to provide energy 100% of the time. The implication is that the price they offer will include the costs of ensuring there is adequate capacity.” These bids should underpin long-term contracts that give investors a return on investment security. Interestingly, such long-term contracts are already the norm in Latin America. This continent has a “fundamentally different” approach to electricity markets, explains Carlo Zorzoli, Head of Latin America for Enel Green Power. “It’s more a competition on investment than competition in the real-time market,” he says. “In Europe, you compete every minute, 15 minutes or hour to sell a certain volume. Here, you compete to deliver 20 years of energy at a defined price. The real-time market is mainly used to settle deviations between expected demand and supply.” Countries like Brazil have gone down this route because they have large quantities of low-marginal cost hydropower (85% share in the Brazilian energy mix), which are incompatible with the marginal cost pricing model that rules in Europe. “Nobody would build large hydro projects without the security of getting revenues and the same applies to other low marginal cost renewables,” Zorzoli says. He denies the suggestion that long-term contracts somehow impinge on competition: “You have fierce competition. Actually you have much more competition because you also compete with power plants that do not yet exist.” He adds: “I think this is what Europe will need for decarbonising the economy.” But Europe has been “rather resistant” to long-term energy contracts, remarks Keay. In a 2015 paper prepared by its Economic and Financial Affairs department, the European Commission talks about the possibility of “an EU-wide market for long-term contracts based on average cost pricing”. This would entail a dramatic shift away from its current marginal pricing model. But is this compatible with EU competition law? “It should be made compatible,” says Lowe, who was Director-General at the Directorate-General of Competition in Brussels before he got the same job at the Directorate-General of Energy. Long-term contracts could pose a problem only if for example bidding consortia had huge market shares (e.g. more than 50-60%) or if they were very long indeed (e.g. more than 10-15 years), he believes. For Keay, the problem lies elsewhere. “They are not ultimately compatible with full competition because however you organise them, someone centrally is making all the decisions. [It should be] individual consumers who do this.” His preferred option is a two-market approach with an “as available” price (low price, available when plenty of supply) and an “on demand” price (more expensive, always there). Leave it to the customer to decide what degree of reliability they want (and are prepared to pay for). In contrast, says Keay, the conditions for long-term contracts are ultimately set by governments, who define the energy mix they want, and bid for by utilities, with the information and capacity to deliver. In Latin America, the aggregation of small consumers to buy long-term is “rare”, admits Zorzoli. But “I don’t think there are many small European users that have a supply contract directly with a big generator [either]”, he says. The entire demand-side remains – with the exception of large energy consumers – underdeveloped the world over. The possibility for demand side management is lower in Latin America than in Europe because of the cost and technological sophistication required to make the grid smarter, Zorzoli suggests. Margheri is convinced that demand will eventually be put on a par with supply. The demand side is growing strongly, he notes. In Italy, there were 1,000 production units connected to the high-voltage grid at the beginning of the last decade; last year, it was over 650,000. Moreover, the boundaries between supply and demand are becoming blurred. Battery technologies are making consumer storage a major component of system balancing, while demand response, also through aggregation, will offer customers the opportunity to reap benefits from their flexibility potential and more control over their consumption. The digital revolution promises further transformation because it creates “the possibility to decentralise intelligence to customer homes”, says Margheri. “The Ubers of electricity may emerge very soon.” In Europe the risk going forward is that the European Commission does too little. Keay fears a tinkering around the edges that amounts to “software patches on a fundamentally flawed operating system”. Lowe, Keay and Margheri all agree that a key priority must be carbon pricing. It is climate policy that will shape the energy market and indeed must define the parameters of long-term contracts, Lowe says. He believes the EU should also set standards for genuine security of supply and update state aid guidelines for energy subsidies. And it needs to do more to integrate the demand side. In short, the European energy market needs a makeover, not touching up at the edges. Keay sums it up nicely: “If you intervene in part of the system without thinking about effects on the whole, you get a mess. And that’s what we’ve been doing until now, lurching from one intervention to the next until the whole system falls apart.” Other parts of the world would do well to take notice. This article was first published in the February issue of World Energy Focus, a free monthly publication of the World Energy Council produced by Energy Post.
News Article | November 23, 2015
A new series of reports commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (Berkeley Lab) Electricity Markets and Policy Group will advance the discussion by examining issues related to electric industry regulation and utility business models. The unique point-counterpoint approach sharpens the debate on tradeoffs in achieving multiple objectives for the electric system, including reliability, affordability, cleaner resources and more flexibility. The reports in the Future Electric Utility Regulation series will each be written by different thought-leaders in the electric industry, while Berkeley Lab—which serves as technical editor and contributes to the report writing—manages the series. The first two reports were recently released. The first report, 'Electric Industry Structure and Regulatory Responses in a High Distributed Energy Resources Future,' discusses likely changes in electric industry structure and regulation in the year 2030. The authors, Steve Corneli of NRG and Steve Kihm of Seventhwave, develop new tools to examine the relationship between natural monopoly, competitive alternatives and regulatory responses considering both potential profitability and the social benefits of coordination. They extend the analysis to a world where distributed resources such as rooftop solar and storage are competitive with grid power in price and performance and describe two alternative (but not mutually exclusive) views of the future. The second report, 'Distribution Systems in a High Distributed Energy Resources Future: Planning, Market Design, Operation and Oversight,' covers distribution system planning and markets in such a future. The report offers a practical three-stage framework to guide the evolution of utility distribution systems with growth in distributed resources, lays out three possible models for future operation of distribution systems, and considers pros and cons of an independent distribution system operator versus the utility serving in that role. Authors are Paul De Martini of ICF Consulting and Lorenzo Kristov with the California ISO. Additional reports underway in the series, and expected publication dates, include: Explore further: NREL releases report on testing electric vehicles to optimize their performance with power grids
News Article | March 29, 2016
Michael Hogan, Senior Advisor The European Commission’s Market Design Initiative (MDI) rightly identifies investment and security of supply, demand-side participation in markets, and market governance as three central pillars of a successful market reform. In framing the initiative’s priorities, however, the Commission has neglected some of the most important obstacles to success in each of these three critical areas. Priorities for the Market Design Initiative: What’s Missing? What’s Most Important? summarizes these obstacles and offers practical steps toward meeting the EU’s climate and energy objectives in the most secure and cost-effective manner. Investment and Security of Supply The principal cause of the financial woes plaguing the power sector is not market design. It is rather a glut of old, inflexible baseload generation—primarily, but not exclusively coal-fired—that is surplus to requirements and incompatible with the power system’s growing need for more flexible resources. The glut of old, inflexible baseload generation is surplus to requirements and incompatible with the power system’s growing need for more flexible resources. The idea that we should “re-design” the power market springs in part from the perception that the market is failing to support investment needed “to keep the lights on.” On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that this diagnosis misses the mark. With the exception of a few pockets isolated by inadequate transmission, Europe’s power sector is drowning under a glut of production capacity, and not just any production capacity. The top priority in restoring a healthy investment climate to the power sector should be a targeted, “smart” programme for permanently retiring inflexible, old baseload plantsas quickly as they become surplus to requirements. To support this, a new, regional, independent framework for assessing generation adequacy must be created—one that fairly accounts for all resources, including energy efficiency, demand response, storage, and interconnection. The paper also notes that this same issue of a saturated market for new capacity is one of several factors dictating that support for renewables investment must evolve and extend beyond 2020. Demand-side Participation in Markets “Empowering European consumers” is a rallying cry of the MDI and rightly so. Demand participation is not only essential for the market to work, it is a critical success factor for the energy transition. But the suggestions for action so far fall well short of what it will take to make this happen. Getting price signals right is crucial, and the MDI can go much farther in challenging Member State interventions, such as capacity markets, that distort the information provided by energy market prices. If intervention to support investment is deemed necessary, it should first enhance rather than undercut the effectiveness of energy market prices. But better price signals are only a start: Wholesale and retail markets—and even in some cases national legislation—are rife with provisions that needlessly discriminate in favour of large generators. New entry by innovative players is inhibited by ineffective market monitoring and enforcement. Decarbonisation of the heat and transport sectors is expected to rely heavily on electrification, and yet the strategies for those new sources of electric demand are being developed without adequate coordination with power market strategies. The paper presents a number of specific recommendations for addressing these problems and jump-starting demand’s role in markets, including time-of-use tariffs, especially for transport and heating and cooling applications, “smart appliance” standards, support for building grid-integrated thermal energy storage into heating and cooling applications, and limited supplier obligations. Market Governance No market design can succeed without effective governance. While the MDI refers to the need for a more regional and European approach to market governance, it overlooks the most glaring obstacle to success—the widely held and largely justified belief that the market is not competitive. It would be foolish to expect any market design to succeed unless the conditions necessary for success are in place. From the wholesale to the retail level, consumers, regulators, and government must have confidence that they are not going to be exploited by a few large, incumbent generators and suppliers. Abuse of market power by established players can stifle the innovation and investment needed to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the energy transition. Europe has yet to develop the kind of robust market monitoring, reporting, and enforcement framework that underpins successful electricity markets elsewhere in the world. The MDI must go farther in establishing an independent, expert, and fully resourced market monitoring and reporting function as well as clarifying and consolidating the competition enforcement regime. The paper also identifies a lack of coherence between energy and climate governance regimes and recommends that energy-related climate objectives be explicitly embedded into energy market governance principles. Implementation, Governance, and Complementary Policies Critical to Success The European Commission has opened an important window of opportunity to address critical electricity market-related issues. While there is a temptation to focus on the design of the current market as the problem to be addressed, in fact it is the galaxy of implementation issues, governance structure, and complementary policy challenges that require the most urgent attention. RAP presents a clear list of steps that can be taken within the current market framework that will: Restore a healthy investment climate and enable the transition to a more flexible system; Jump-start the all-important participation of demand and sustain its growth going forward; and Ensure the institutional structure for market governance is state-of-the-art and fit for the purpose. Original Post
News Article | March 22, 2016
The European Commission's Market Design Initiative rightly identifies investment and security of supply, demand-side participation in markets, and market governance as three central pillars of a successful market reform. But the Commission has neglected obstacles to success in each of these critical areas.read more
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2011
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project concentrates on the opportunities that exist in organizing consumers' opinions, unstructured information that makes up a significant portion of Internet content. Organizing this information will lead to efficiency gains in current markets and will enable emerging ones. This proposal integrates prediction markets and casual games to generate a structured, non ad-hoc and dynamic index of consumers' true opinions on a large scale. Prediction markets are explicitly designed mechanisms where consumers are given incentives to reveal their opinions truthfully through trading games. However, historically prediction markets have not scaled. Casual games are informal problem-solving mechanisms that have been shown to scale massively through Internet and mobile devices. However, casual games are ad hoc and do not induce a coordinated purposeful dataset. The intellectual merit of the proposed research lies in integrating these two mechanisms and applying the result to the commercial enterprise. The broader impacts of this research are the ability to (1) provision the collective's opinions on a larger scale by lowering barriers for mass participation in a complex mechanism, that in turn (2) decrease uncertainty and increase confidence in the quality of the information, (3) create greater efficiency in current decision-making processes, (4) enable new markets to emerge given the reduced information asymmetries, and (5) have spill-over benefits to many industrial sectors. The integrative approach is a novel contribution to software design methodologies for emerging social computing platforms, where the architecture is increasingly based on participation and less on monolithic designs. The proposed research will contribute to development of the internal logic of the prediction market itself, through better reward structure and lower transaction costs. If successfully deployed, the approach will enable lower-cost engagement for online research geared toward assessing consumer engagement and trends.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2011
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project concentrates on the opportunities that exist in organizing consumers opinions, unstructured information that makes up a significant portion of Internet content. Organizing this information will lead to efficiency gains in current markets and will enable emerging ones. This proposal integrates prediction markets and casual games to generate a structured, non ad-hoc and dynamic index of consumers true opinions on a large scale. Prediction markets are explicitly designed mechanisms where consumers are given incentives to reveal their opinions truthfully through trading games. However, historically prediction markets have not scaled. Casual games are informal problem-solving mechanisms that have been shown to scale massively through Internet and mobile devices. However, casual games are ad hoc and do not induce a coordinated purposeful dataset. The intellectual merit of the proposed research lies in integrating these two mechanisms and applying the result to the commercial enterprise.
The broader impacts of this research are the ability to (1) provision the collectives opinions on a larger scale by lowering barriers for mass participation in a complex mechanism, that in turn (2) decrease uncertainty and increase confidence in the quality of the information, (3) create greater efficiency in current decision-making processes, (4) enable new markets to emerge given the reduced information asymmetries, and (5) have spill-over benefits to many industrial sectors. The integrative approach is a novel contribution to software design methodologies for emerging social computing platforms, where the architecture is increasingly based on participation and less on monolithic designs. The proposed research will contribute to development of the internal logic of the prediction market itself, through better reward structure and lower transaction costs. If successfully deployed, the approach will enable lower-cost engagement for online research geared toward assessing consumer engagement and trends.