Policy Making and Implementation Process: The Case of Intermittent Power

W.W. Clark II and G. Morris (USA)


intermittent resources, wind, solar, deregulation, regulatory rules


A direct result of de-regulation or privatization as it is called in Europe, was the selection of cheapest power supplies, meaning the more mature technologies applied to fossil fuels, rather than the selection of power from renewable or advanced clean technologies. Aside from dramatic cut backs from the investor owned utilities and only a fraction of funding available from the California Energy Commission (directed primarily to research and development rather than commercialization), renewable energy suffered from financial payment rules that penalized the very basis of renewable energy: that it is natural and dependent on wind and sun. If the wind did not blow or the sun was not shinning, the intermittent resources provided to the central grid were fined. The renewable energy companies could not totally accurately predict their fuel supplies. The result was an inherent constraint on intermittent energy. One solution was to change the rules for calculating the delivery of intermittent power. This was one avenue pursued by the State of California and necessitated extensive meetings between the wind industry and the Independent System Operators' staff to determine what would work reasonably, what rules needed to be changed, and what would be the business impact in bringing renewable energy into the power generation supply in California. All of this was accomplished over an eight-month period of time during 2001-02.

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