Power plant using renewable solar energy with sun and Power transmission tower


Challenging Fossil Fuels: Renewable Energy Takes on Two States at a Time

There are many global concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on climate, making it obvious why regulatory mandates were put in place. But when these concerns are coupled with technology advancements and an increase in global manufacturing, the result is a continued decline in the cost of renewable energy resources. With these contributing factors, renewable energy resources have become competitive with conventional fossil fuel- based generation. 

Renewable fuels, such as solar and wind, are intermittent sources with the potential to be unreliable through high levels of demand. As a result, new strategies are emerging that have begun to tackle the challenge this poses. The cost of storage technologies are declining and availability of dispatchable distributed energy resources (DERs) are increasing. Apart from affordability, the other major drivers supporting this trend are favorable regulatory environments and the commercial maturity of distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS). The implementation of DERMS, for instance, has made it possible to integrate energy from distributed generation while maintaining system wide reliability and resiliency.

Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), the state’s largest utility company, was the first to emerge into the renewable energy arena. They recognized the positive impacts of clean energy and have taken the first step toward achieving 100% renewable energy by 2045. The Hawaiian PUC has officially accepted HECO’s clean energy proposal, which consists of detailed steps outlining exactly how they will accomplish this.

As the first state to declare a goal of 100% renewable energy, Hawaii is leading this clean energy initiative, and it’s possible other states will follow suit. Learn more about HECO’s renewable energy efforts. 

Entering the renewable energy arena right behind Hawaii is the state of California. Although the law has not officially passed, Senate Bill 100 has been approved by the California Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee. 

California is getting closer to its statewide goal, but they have a difficult battle ahead. As a state with the fifth largest economy across the globe, 100% renewable energy is a challenging, albeit inspiring, goal. Learn more about California’s renewable energy efforts.

Whether the need is to achieve RPS goals or manage DERs on their footprints, there is no doubt that power companies are facing enormous challenges as they confront these changing times. The proof that these challenges are surmountable is boldly exemplified by Hawaii and California as they make their way closer to achieving their RPS goals. A number of factors have contributed to this success. Top on the list is the early adoption of DERs as well as the deployment of a host of advanced technologies to guarantee efficiency, reliability, and resiliency. 

HI and CA have a history of not only seeking alternative fuels but also striving for energy efficiency. This has been done through the utilization of best-in-class demand response management programs to incorporate consumer-side DR/DER assets. With the legislation and consumers in favor of green power in these states, and innovation apparently a part of their DNA, it is, therefore, no wonder that renewable fuels and associated technologies were taken on with a measured dose of audacity. These early moves are now bearing fruit in the high percentage of energy that is being generated and consumed from renewable resources.

It is worth noting that HI and CA are merely torch-bearers in the march away from fossil fuels. The surge in renewable power is now like a movement that is upending the traditional utility model. As prosumers continue to grow by leaps and bounds, this movement, together with the innumerable IoTs at the grid edge, is ushering in an era of Transactive Energy that demands a smarter and more resilient grid. What many utilities are quickly realizing is that either they ride the wave or get swept by it. 

OATI is here to help. No matter the direction the energy industry is going to take, OATI has the proven history of engineering mission-critical solutions like DERMS and DRMS that are foundational to maximizing the benefits of DERs, while mitigating their impacts. In fact, OATI has the smart-grid-ready solutions with enough flexibility to support changes in the direction the industry decides to take to make both the transmission and the distribution grid responsive to current and future changes.