COVID-19 has reminded Americans of the importance of cheap electricity and clean air – consumers and businesses are looking for ways to save money, and people who breathe dirty air suffer higher mortality rates from the virus. One of the quickest ways to overcome both challenges, at least in the U.S. power sector, has been replacing fossil fuel generation with renewable energy.
However, the way utilities procure new generation hasn’t kept pace with fast-falling renewable energy prices, often resulting in investments that cost consumers too much money while emitting more greenhouse gases and conventional air pollutants than if renewable energy were evaluated on the same basis as coal and natural gas. So how can regulators help ensure utilities invest in new generation that saves money and cleans the air?
New research from Energy Innovation and the Southeast Alliance for Clean Energy shows how “all-source” procurement can provide utility regulators with a strategy to cut costs and air pollution across the electricity grid. As we build a more resilient economy, could this technology- and resource-neutral approach change the utility generation procurement dynamic for good?
“Shockingly” cheap wind and solar in Colorado through all-source procurement
Colorado demonstrates how this unique all-source approach to resource procurement can create “shockingly” cheap wind and solar project bids, which will save Colorado ratepayers an estimated $200 million.