An annual event that fosters a high-energy exchange of ideas and best practices to transform the electricity system.
What Is e-Lab Summit?
e-Lab Summit is an invitation-only meeting bringing together thought leaders from e-Lab's partners, advisors, and collaborators for three days each year. Summit engages the e-Lab ecosystem in a high-energy exchange of ideas and best practices, while strengthening the connective fabric of the e-Lab community.
Why It Matters
Developing practical, workable solutions to shifting the electricity sector is challenging. Summit encourages the sharing and replication of cutting-edge ideas in electricity, supports participant’s learning and the application of innovative ideas and examples to their own work, and connects and strengthens relationships and collaboration across and beyond the e-Lab network.
The e-Lab community is a representative cross-section of industry stakeholders including state, federal, and local governments; utilities; regulatory agencies; renewables and DER companies; financiers; advocates; customers; and philanthropists. The e-Lab Summit is invitation-only. If you or your organization is interested in supporting or attending Summit, please contact Alex Engel.
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Regulatory solutions for decarbonizing buildings
It is increasingly clear that new solutions will be needed to decarbonize fuel use in buildings, including electrifying space and water heating. Utilities and regulators must play a critical role in enabling these solutions, but most PUCs have not yet established the regulatory frameworks for fully addressing this sector. What are the most important ways in which regulators need to transform utility regulation to support meeting these goals?
Awakening utility innovation: Rethinking regulations to support innovation in an industry that desperately needs it
This pod will evaluate the structures and practices that serve as barriers to a more innovative utility and take a fresh look at how to inject more innovation into the sector. What innovative outcomes do we seek from evolved utilities? What are the opportunities for designing and introducing a “regulatory sandbox” or other measures, where utility-business model ideas and products can be tested in a low-risk environment?
Making PIMs work: Strengthening utility financial incentives to deliver customer, grid, and environmental benefits
Performance incentive mechanisms (PIMs) are emerging as a way to incentivize utilities to achieve regulatory outcomes. This pod will be a hands-on opportunity for participants to workshop PIM ideas, proposals, or hypotheses.
Community-first clean energy
Despite substantial policy and funding support for low-income and environmental justice communities in California, clean energy solutions still disproportionately benefit more affluent Californians. In partnership with low- and moderate income (LMI) and clean energy advocates, this pod is seeking new solutions to this challenge. How can utilities work with communities to better define the services low-income communities seek? How can utilities and communities work together to design new processes and programs to serve low-income communities differently?
Energy transition strategies for rural electric cooperatives
This pod will explore emerging opportunities for cooperative utility systems to meet the needs of their members while relying increasingly on portfolios of clean energy resources. What are the obstacles and opportunities for retiring existing generation assets? What are the new business models and ownership implications of these emerging options?
Wholesale markets that enable a clean electricity future
The past two years have seen a surge in announcements and deployments of large-scale renewable energy, storage, and distributed energy resource projects that will reduce carbon emissions for their host utilities. However, nearly all such projects have been announced in vertically-integrated utility jurisdictions, with clean energy adoption lagging in most organized wholesale electricity markets in the US. This pod will explore the barriers to and market solutions for expanding clean energy adoption in wholesale markets. What actions can different stakeholders take to address these barriers?
Transmission for decarbonization
100% decarbonization targets will require radical changes to transmission planning and investment. This pod will consider, “What about today’s transmission system is limiting clean energy deployment? What near-term actions will support the expanded capacity needed to integrate renewables?” The pod will identify and cultivate a network that can drive transmission for decarbonization.
Designing for tomorrow’s connected communities
Environmental, cultural, technological and lifestyle trends of today are shaping the cities of tomorrow — potentially in ways that we don’t yet understand, and haven’t yet anticipated in the energy sector. What services and infrastructure are required to meet future needs and values? How will we provide these services? How does the utility business model of today evolve to align with this future?
Past e–Lab Summit topics have included:
As net metering starts to change, what lessons have we learned from diverse state experiments that can help states determine clear, long-term paths forward?
How can we align valuation, planning, and the roles and incentives for different market actors to accelerate EV adoption—and ensure that electric vehicles can serve as economic grid assets?
As aggregated portfolios of distributed energy resources (DERs) become cost-competitive with new capital investments, how can we provide the data and incentives needed for decision makers to trust that DERs can get enough scale to replace power plants on the bulk grid, or provide locationally targeted displacement of grid assets on the distribution grid?
Many states are experimenting with microgrid incentive programs—what have we learned from early experiments about what’s needed to support ownership and contractual models for multi-user microgrid development?
Distributed Energy Resources:
For aggregated DERs to serve as grid assets, we’ll need new ways of enabling bundles of small transactions to serve the same needs as individual, centralized resources. What tools, technologies and market design are required to coordinate, integrate, optimize, and dispatch distributed energy resources?
New Low- and Moderate-Income Business Models:
What are the business models that bridge the gulf between the emerging clean energy future and low-income communities, households, and customers, and how can they be scaled?
Distribution System Operator Models:
What are the functional models of the DSO that enable a robust, transactive system where DERs are fairly valued as grid assets?