Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  California Public Utilities Commission staff continues its planning and development meetings today, work seeking to implement Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI) Communication Protocols.  A working group was established to design and inform decisions about how and whether to adopt a communications protocol to enable electric vehicles (EVs) to “more economically participate in electricity markets at scale.”  VGI presents some fascinating ideas and possibilities, a chance to aggregate thousands (maybe millions, soon) of EVs so that the cars (and batteries) together form a dynamic part of the electric grid.  On the one hand, VGI gets presented like it’s just a policy choice.  But on the other hand, it ain’t easy from a technical standpoint, requiring many “layers,” if you will, of some below-the-waterline black-box kind of technical stuff that’s supposed to make it appealing (and affordable) for EV owners, new energy aggregators and, of course, utilities and (of course, ratepayers…).
*  Follow up: I noted last week EIA’s report that the value of Northeast states/New England’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative CO2 emission allowances were at the lowest level since 2014, selling for $3.00/ton at the March, 2017, auction.  These auction prices are important, and, importantly, indicative for many reasons.  The downward trend continued at last week’s quarterly auction  on June 7th: the clearing price was $2.53/ton, for 14,597,470 allowances raising $36.9 million for “reinvestment in strategic programs, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, direct bill assistance, and GHG abatement programs.”
*  Regulatory reform picked up steam last week.  DOT, for example, was one of a number of agencies formally announcing its request for comments about what could make things work better, more efficiently and at a lower cost.  Coast Guard, and TVA  were two other agencies with requests last week.  Importantly, DOE had its request for comments the week before.  Considering the huge scope of issues covered by these agencies the comment periods are relatively short, about four to six weeks. 
Tom Ewing
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