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The Energy Industry Update – Volume 17, Issue 1

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

The energy world, as we know it, is changing. How are utilities responding and adapting? Themed “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” this Update examines the direction and magnitude of some of the changes, and what utilities are doing to prepare for and thrive in a changing world.

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Highlights include:

View from the Executive Suite

What are the emerging themes and trends defining the energy industry?

Energy Supply, Demand, and Markets

How is the “duck curve” evolving? How is the energy mix changing, driven in part by the competing pressures of market forces and public policy? What approaches should utilities take in hedging their natural gas needs?

Infrastructure and Technology

What’s the latest on North American natural gas pipeline development? Emerging blockchain technology could revolutionize energy transactions. How are cities becoming increasingly “smart” and what does it mean for utilities?

Rate and Regulatory Issues

How do grid transformation developments compare in California and New York? What are the potential energy policy changes under the Trump administration? What’s the latest on tax reform proposals and their potential impact on energy companies? What’s driving renewed interest in the time-honored concept of performance-based ratemaking?

Clean Tech and Environment

Australia is a global leader in distributed solar PV. What can we learn here in the United States from the experience down under? How are solar power purchase agreements evolving to recognize increasing amounts of solar resources on the grid?

ScottMadden’s EIU Webcast

Take a step back and consider what is happening, what it means, and where our industry is headed. View this recording to hear from our industry experts as they share their views and field questions related to solar curtailment, Australia’s response to DERs, and smart cities.

Since 1983, we have served more than 400 clients, including 20 of the top 20 energy utilities. We have performed more than 3,000 projects across every energy utility business unit and every function.

We hope you will find The ScottMadden Energy Industry Update to be a useful and informative resource. If you would like to discuss our observations in greater detail, have us present them to your executive team, or suggest a topic for future issues please contact us. Learn more about our Energy Practice area.

View from the Executive Suite

Executive Summary

The Energy World, as We Know It, Is Changing. The coming of a new presidential administration portends a significant shift in energy, environmental, and economic policies and priorities. Read more

View from Wall Street: Outlook for the Energy Utility Industry

Companies seek to put capital to work with a focus on improving earnings, but in a challenging environment. Each sector is positioned differently, but there are common themes… Read more

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Energy Supply, Demand, and Markets

Stressing the System: Baseload Generation Retirements Accelerate

Who decides whether to add or subtract generation? How? Open to debate: What, if anything, needs to be done?

Flying East: Preparing for the Duck Curve Migration

As solar penetration increases, system planners try to understand “tipping point” effects and over-generation risk. What “SPF” will they see?

Gas Price Risk Management: Hedging in a Time of Plenty

Increasing reserves, higher well productivity mean growing gas supplies in North America

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Infrastructure and Technology

Gas Pipeline Development: Unleashing Shale Gas Resources

Industry is cheered by renewed infrastructure focus, but hurdles remain.

“Blockchains” and Energy: What’s the Potential?

Distributed ledger technologies (DLT) could be transformative, but are they too complex?

Smart Cities: What Are They, Really? And What Is the Utility’s Role?

What is a “smart city”? An evolving concept with some key components.

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Rate and Regulatory Issues

Distributed Energy Resource Integration: NY and CA–[Somewhat] Similar Aims, [Somewhat] Divergent Means

Coming from different starting points, two states tackle—and encourage—accelerating distributed energy resource additions.

Tax Reform: Mixed Blessing for Utilities?

GOP-proposed tax reform could have potential negative earnings impacts for some companies.

Potential Trump Administration Policy Changes: What Do They Mean for Energy?

Potential policy reversals, shifts, and debates: Implications are being shaped but are still somewhat murky.

Alternative/Performance-Based Ratemaking: The Answer for a New Era?

Slow demand growth, grid modernization, and renewable and distributed energy objectives encourage fresh regulatory thinking

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Clean Tech and Environment

A Look Down Under: Lessons Learned on the Ground From This Global Leader in Distributed Solar

Smart Electric Power Association (SEPA) and ScottMadden fact-finding mission reveals Australian utilities successfully integrate huge amounts of solar photovoltaic (PV), yet face unintended consequences.

A New Day Dawns: Innovative Solar PPAs Can Be a Win-Win Solution for Excess Solar Power

SEPA and ScottMadden explore alternative PPA structures in Hawaii

The Industry In Charts: How Big Is a Megawatt?

A thought experiment: how much land does it take to make electricity?

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