TechNet supports policies that are technology-neutral and that foster and promote innovation in clean energy supply and demand for a sustainable climate. This allows companies to create, thrive, and compete in the United States and around the globe. Technology is a significant driver of efficiencies and innovative solutions for solving a wide range of environmental issues, so it should be fostered through smart policy and research and development funding.
TechNet’s state program supports the following principles:
- A robust, technology-neutral energy agenda that will spur the development and deployment of clean energy and clean transportation resources and technologies.
- Customer choice.
- Resilience and reliability in the face of security threats, natural disasters, and uninterrupted energy supplies. Understanding that clean energy and resilient energy are not mutually exclusive, TechNet will seek to advance the intersection of sustainable energy and resilient energy.
- The expansion of competitive and transparent energy supply markets at the wholesale and retail levels.
- Forward-looking policies that ensure open access and enable market-based deployment of wholesale and distributed energy resources.
- Fair and equal access to data, in a standardized format, to enable industry growth while empowering consumers to effectively deploy and utilize clean energy and clean transportation solutions.
- Stable tax policies that provide industry and consumers with long-term clarity to support the investment in and deployment of clean energy technologies.
- Policies that recognize the contributions of companies with voluntary clean energy initiatives that move faster than state goals.
TechNet member companies have developed and continue to maintain significant policies and practices that protect the environment, address climate change, and promote sustainable conservation, recycling, and waste reduction. Technology is used to drive efficiencies, reduce waste and emissions, and create innovative solutions for environmental challenges. Efforts to expand or create new mandated environmental programs should be inclusive, balanced, flexible, and data-driven in order to achieve stated aims and avoid significant disruption.
TechNet’s clean energy priorities include advocacy and support around the following policy areas:
Demand Response (DR)
TechNet’s members include “clean tech” companies that offer DR products, companies that are energy customers who utilize DR programs as part of their energy portfolio, and companies that have to meet DR requirements due to state regulations or as part of their own internal environmental stewardship programs.
TechNet will support policies related to electric demand management, including but not limited to peak demand reduction standards and incentive programs, DR requirements for energy consumers that educate the consumer, better management of energy loads, and improvement of the efficiency, resilience, and effectiveness of the energy supply chain.
Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
Distributed Energy Resources (DER) are electricity generating or load reducing/managing resources that are deployed across the distribution grid, typically close to load, and usually behind the meter, which can be used individually or in aggregate to provide value to the grid, individual customers, or both. DER may include distributed generation (DG), on-site generation, energy efficiency, distributed renewables, behind-the-meter resources, energy storage, and load control/management.
Distributed energy resources must be a key component of a state’s clean energy portfolio and grid modernization efforts. As with demand response, DR is of interest to both TechNet’s “clean tech” companies who offer DER products and services and to those customers who have invested in DG onsite and utilize DERs as part of their energy consumption and management portfolio.
DER and energy management tools can help meet onsite customer energy needs and provide wholesale, grid-facing services, either individually or in aggregate. DER, deployed effectively, can reduce utility and customer costs, improve service reliability and safety, and enhance grid resilience while achieving climate and environmental goals. TechNet monitors all types of DER, such as onsite generation and storage, energy efficiency, demand response, and advanced energy management technologies, including smart thermostats and intelligent appliances.
TechNet will support legislation, regulations, and executive actions that encourage and support the use and expansion of DERs as part of the overall energy supply and minimize or eliminate barriers and costs to interconnect DERs to the grid.
Energy Efficiency Standards
TechNet supports efforts to promote energy efficient technology adoption and the development of new energy efficient technologies. TechNet believes that states should rely on voluntary industry standards rather than imposing state-specific regulations to improve energy efficiency, as consumers may be confused by a patchwork of state regulations for products that are supplied on a global scale. Current energy efficiency standards are generating significant energy savings and adoption is widespread across the electronic product spectrum.
Resilient Energy Supply
The technology sector is increasingly dependent on an uninterrupted supply of electricity. At the same time, climate change, extreme weather events, and security threats to the electric grid are growing. TechNet and its members recognize the value of electricity supplies that are able to ride through outages of the electricity distribution system and/or restore the distribution system more rapidly after an outage. TechNet supports policies and programs that recognize the value of resilience either in the form of stand-alone policies or as features of existing programs. TechNet understands that clean energy and resilient energy are not mutually exclusive and will seek to advance the interests of its members by advocating for policymakers to enhance their focus on the intersection of sustainable energy and resilient energy.
Clean Energy Standards, Renewable Portfolio Standards, Alternative Portfolio Standards, Renewable Fuel Standards, and Low Carbon Fuel Standards
In order to address climate change and reduce air pollution, many jurisdictions have adopted Clean Energy Standards (CES), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), Alternative Portfolio Standards (APS), Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), and Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS), which are requirements or incentives to ensure that energy marketers and producers have a certain percentage of clean energy in their mix. There are obligated parties when it comes to clean energy standards, and it is critical that we understand when there is a change in law related to these standards.
TechNet is interested in the trend of states setting clean energy portfolio and renewable fuel standards for customers and market participants. In addition, some TechNet members offer products and services to help customers, energy companies, and states achieve the RPS, CES, APS, LCFS and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) RFS mandates. Beyond this, we support the development and investment in alternative fuels including, but not limited to green hydrogen and biofuels, to reduce carbon emissions from our existing fuel sources.
TechNet will engage for CES, RPS, APS, LCFS, and RFS goals in conjunction with open access to both grid and consumption data. We will advocate to ensure that the approach is practical, technology-neutral, and compatible with member companies’ procurement goals, the evolution of renewable development, and the innovation of sustainable market solutions. We will advocate for the recognition of member companies’ accelerated voluntary purchases of renewable energy as counting toward any state’s mandated RPS.
TechNet defines grid modernization as addressing the needs of the aging grid to meet the needs of customers, such as using communications and modern computing to upgrade the current electric power grid and leverage DERs so that the electric grid can operate more efficiently and reliably and enable additional services to consumers. Modernization makes a grid into a platform on which market-based solutions can thrive, delivering more value and savings to consumers and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. To meet this end, grid modernization policies must include technologies and standards that enable customer data access and allow customers to easily share data with third parties. Additionally, grid modernization should be supported with integrated system planning at the distribution, transmission, and bulk power system levels to ensure that the power grid can continue to support customer adoption of clean energy technologies, as well as ensure that these resources are being fully utilized to address grid needs. Transitioning to an integrated system planning process will require greater data transparency regarding planned investments and system constraints driving those investments. The transition will also require changes in how the utilities identify and pursue solutions to address system constraints to ensure they are considering the so-called “non-wires alternative” in lieu of the more conventional investments they would otherwise rely upon.
TechNet will monitor and advocate for grid modernization policies or incentives, as well as promote policies to reform utility planning processes to take a more integrated approach. TechNet will monitor policies to ensure that grid modernization policies and proposals will truly reflect the definition of grid modernization and do not pass unnecessary or unjustified costs onto consumers.
Retail Energy Competition and Self-Supply
Retail energy competition is when a state authorizes energy (electricity and/or gas) purchases from a supplier outside of the monopoly utility provider. Self-supply allows a consumer to procure their electricity needs outside traditional utilities. TechNet believes that competition and self-supply allow for and encourage innovation. Allowing customers the flexibility to procure power and gas from a source other than the monopoly utility allows the customer to incorporate clean technology, procure cost-competitive renewable energy, and tailor energy to the needs of their facilities and organization. Typically, energy costs are among the top three highest expenses for businesses. Controlling these costs is critically important, and retail competition and self-supply empower customers to better manage energy costs.
TechNet will support policies that encourage retail choice, energy competition, or consumer self-supply and advocate for an even playing field for all suppliers, including the incumbent investor-owned utilities. TechNet will oppose any additional requirements imposed on suppliers and customers as prerequisites to participate in competitive energy markets.
Grid and Customer Data Access and Transparency
In the energy space, customer data is the foundational element of every business that directly touches customers and a number of businesses that operate more at the wholesale level. The entity that controls customer data has a huge impact on the success or failure of those businesses. In the traditional utility model, the entity that owns the metering infrastructure (which, for all relevant U.S. jurisdictions, is the utility) is the de facto owner of the data. Even customers, who may technically be considered (by law or regulation) the beneficial owner of the data, must get their data from the utility, which typically has the right to retain the data and use it for many purposes.
This model of utility-owned data seriously limits the value that customers can derive from the market. A third-party supplier’s ability to offer (and bill) advanced products and services will also be limited by the quality of the data that is passed from the utility to the third party. There can be a material difference in data quality between what the utility sends to a third party and what the utility actually gathers at the meter level and/or sends to the system operator for settlement purposes. At the same time, as customer adoption of DERs increases, distribution system planning and operations will require additional data and information for grid operators and DER providers. Therefore, in order to realize the promise of a modernized grid, the underlying data associated with the grid must be made available to a wide group of industry stakeholders and market participants while maintaining appropriate consumer data privacy. Furthermore, the inconsistency of data standardization from electric utilities creates hurdles for customers with multi-state operations and third-party DER providers.
TechNet will advocate for expanding the boundaries of access to data and customer choice and will encourage legislators and regulators to consider several possible changes to their current system. TechNet will also advocate for the use of a standardized format for providing customers and third- party providers with data on a consistent format.
Electrification of Transportation
Electrification of transportation includes all electric vehicles (EVs) including medium and heavy-duty, electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), charging stations, and related smart and networked software solutions. EVs include all technology types, including battery EVs, plug-in hybrid EVs, and hydrogen fuel cell EVs.
Charging and hydrogen fueling stations are being installed throughout the country along corridors, in urban hubs, at businesses, delivery fleets, public lots, and in residences to fuel electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. While the industry has grown significantly as EVs have become more widespread, stakeholders generally agree that there is a need to accelerate deployment across the light, medium, and heavy-duty sectors. State agencies and electric utilities are now considering ways to accelerate charging and hydrogen refueling station deployments and fueling switching. Utility rate-basing of grid upgrades to support EV charging and utility-owned-and-operated charging stations can support transportation electrification but must not threaten competition and innovation in the charging station industry. The EV charging market will continue to thrive as more EV models are introduced, hardware costs decrease, installations become more streamlined through enabling building codes, and station utilization improves. However, states can take targeted action to spur greater investment to close the infrastructure gap and support diverse networks of charging and hydrogen refueling stations.
Utilities have proposed a variety of approaches to directly participate in supporting the development of EV charging infrastructure, from utility-owned and operated infrastructure to “make ready,” which is the infrastructure needed to install a charging station, up to but not including the station itself.
TechNet will respond to utility applications at the relevant public utility commissions where investor-owned utilities are seeking to rate-base charging infrastructure, and TechNet will support proposals that help accelerate the electric vehicle sector while respecting customer choice, long-term competition, and innovation in the EV charging market. Moreover, TechNet will advocate for customer control and choice, technology-neutral hardware and software options, and competition in the EV charging marketplace.
As more public funding becomes available, TechNet supports robust and flexible incentive programs, not mandates, that accelerate EV adoption and charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure among individuals and fleets for light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicle classes alike. These programs should offer opportunities for funding for different types of EV technology and prioritize supporting private market solutions and transportation modes with the greatest potential impact to electrify both a high quantity of vehicles and high-mileage applications, including personal, fleet, ridesharing, ride-hailing, autonomous vehicles, transit, micromobility, peer-to-peer car sharing, and more.
Clean Energy Supply
TechNet members are financing, building, and innovating on clean energy projects. These projects are needed to meet growing demand and help deliver economies of scale to the energy markets. Additionally, these projects help spur economic development in many communities. Many states have incentives and streamlined permitting processes to facilitate the development of these projects. However, some states have created artificial barriers through legislative and regulatory changes that have slowed investment. TechNet will advocate for a policy environment that advances efforts to bring more clean energy projects online more quickly.
Microgrids are localized grids that can disconnect from the traditional grid to operate autonomously and help mitigate grid disturbances and strengthen grid resilience. Microgrids can play an important role in transforming the nation’s electric grid in the face of continued threats from climate change and natural disasters. In addition, they can function as a grid resource for faster system response and recovery.
Microgrids also support a flexible and efficient electric grid by enabling the integration of growing deployments of renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind, distributed energy resources such as fuel cells, energy storage, and dispatch, and DR. In addition, the use of local sources of energy to serve local power loads helps reduce energy losses in transmission and distribution, which further increases the efficiency and resilience of the electricity delivery system.
TechNet members are financing, building, and innovating in the area of microgrids, and TechNet will advocate for policies and programs that encourage microgrid development.
Today, many utilities assess demand charges to some commercial and industrial customers, and some are proposing mandatory demand charges for residential or distributed generation customers. This is a concern for DER providers and EV charging operators because demand charges can reduce the price signal for residential customers to adopt these technologies and can make a customer’s bill much more complex because of the charges’ many facets and various ways in which they can be applied.
TechNet will advocate for preserving customer choice and the option to utilize and invest in the variety of available advanced energy technologies from both the residential and commercial customer perspective for DERs in the rate design discussion. TechNet will support utilities exploring optional rates, including time variable rates and pilot programs that send clearer signals about system costs that enable technology innovation and customer control over energy costs. On the commercial side, TechNet will support transparency in demand charges and demand charge alternative tariffs. Specific to EV charging, TechNet will advocate for considering alternate rate design options for demand charges to respond to increased adoption of EV and higher power technology.