Protologue

Stranded cost

existing infrastructure investments owned by a public utility that may become redundant after substantial changes in regulatory or market conditions. An incumbent electric power utility will have made substantial investments over the years and will carry debt, payments on which are included in the whole-life cost of electricity. Pros Can be a sign of transition progress. Cons Ratepayers can end…
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Substation

part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage levels from high transmission voltages to lower distribution voltages (or vice versa) or perform any of several other important functions related to safety and power quality. Between the generating station and consumer, electric power may flow through several substations at different voltage levels. Pros Core infrastructure that allows us…
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Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)

a system of software and hardware such as computers, networked data communications, and graphical user interfaces that provides for local or remote supervision and control of larger systems such as substations, which are often unattended. Pros Tracks equipment and system operations in near real-time and notifies operators of what's happening (or not). Cons Lots of…
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Tariff

a collection of rules, definitions, electric rates and additional charges that specify how your electricity bill is calculated. Tariffs are set by the utility and approved by a governing body such as a public utilities commission or equivalent. Pros Provides a basis consumer and investor confidence by accounting and detailing times and cost related to…
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Tax credit

an amount of money that can be offset against a tax liability dollar-for-dollar. In RE development, federal tax credits have come in two basic flavors: Investment Tax Credit (ITC, based on investment amount) or Production Tax Credit (PTC, given per unit of energy produced). Pros Increases the return on investment of a energy investment. Cons…
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Tax deduction

lowers a person's tax liability by lowering his or her taxable income. Pros Improves the return from an investment Cons You need taxable income to take advantage of this, i.e. a municipality can't use it. Real Talk Aligns asset investments with others like homes or medical expenses.
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Tax depreciation

can be listed as an expense on a tax return for a given reporting period under the applicable tax laws, used to reduce the amount of taxable income reported by a business. Depreciation is the gradual charging to expense of a fixed asset's cost over its useful life. Pros Accounts for the true value of a purchased asset. Cons You need…
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Taxing authority

any government entity that is authorized by law to assess, levy and collect taxes. Pros Communities could consider fund clean energy programs by leveraging their taxing authority to increase property tax rates on utility-owned assets (e.g. power plants and infratructure). Cons The legal implications of this approach are potentially highly challenging. Real Talk Increasing taxes…
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Tidal energy

a form of hydropower that converts the energy obtained from tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity. Pros Free-fuel generation located near the world's largest populations along the coast line Cons Not available everywhere Real Talk Most of the world population lives near a tidal area. The primary challenge is developing a technological solution that is both scalable…
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Transformer

Transformers are used for increasing or decreasing the alternating voltages in electric power applications. Electrical energy can be transferred between the two coils, without a metallic connection between the two circuits as described by Faraday's law of induction. Pros Enables system diversity and galvanic isolation of circuits Cons Transformers are highly complex and add cost…
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Transmission line

a conductor or conductors designed to carry electricity or an electrical signal over large distances with minimum losses and distortion Pros Connects energy markets and increase a generators value Cons A single disruption can have a big service impact; it can be problematic to agree on who should pay for system improvements or additional capacity.…
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Transmission system

an interconnected group of lines and associated equipment for the movement or transfer of electric energy between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery to customers or is delivered to other electric systems Pros Allows for a cost effective market operation and access to a diverse generation supply. Cons A…
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Transmission System Operator (TSO)

responsible for the reliable transmission of bulk power from generation plants to regional or local distribution utilities over a high voltage electrical grid. In the US, they are either an Independent System Operator (ISO) or Regional Transmission Organization (RTO). Pros Allows for a cost-effective market operation and access to a diverse generation supply; is often…
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Unconventional gas and oil

extracted using unconventional drilling methods such as fracking. Use of such methods has been driven by the increased scarcity of oil and gas resources that can be conventionally recovered. Pros Fracking has generated significant economic impact. Cons Fracking destroys the environment Real Talk Fracking is not sustainable and needs to stop.
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Utility commission

a state-level governing body that regulates the rates and services of a public utility.  Pros Provides a way to shape, control and enforce electricity regulation and to protect consumers Cons They can limit the development of RE if not aligned by legislation and regional actors. Real Talk Utility commissions are a vital part of consumer protection,…
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Value-of-Solar Tariff (VOST)

provides a more detailed valuation of solar that credits system owners for the secondary benefits created by solar PV. Pros Can increase RE development by providing more revenue for RE-DER operations. Cons Can be challenging and ambiguous to structure and implement with all parties involved. Real Talk VOST could be a powerful market formation tool…
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Vertical integration

an arrangement in which a company owns its supply chain of a company, as opposed to a more typical arrangement in which each member of the supply chain produces a different product or (market-specific) service, and the products combine to satisfy a common need. Pros Can be a powerful market transformational force Cons Can be inflexible Real Talk…
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Virtual net metering

a billing mechanism that credits centrally generated energy to multiple accounts, i.e. community solar Pros Increases access of RE to consumers and can improve the business case. Cons Can be complicated and limiting. Real Talk This is one of many tools but the implementation of the rules can be limiting and reflect a means of…
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Voltage regulation

describes the ability of a system to provide near constant voltage over a wide range of load conditions. Pros Keeps our electrical equipment running smoothly. Cons Can be hard to manage when DER sources are added to a distribution system. Real Talk Utilities often struggle to accommodate RE-DER because of voltage control. Enabling advanced inverter controls…
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Wave energy

the transport and capture of energy by ocean surface waves. The energy captured is then used for all different kinds of useful work including electricity generation, water desalination, and pumping of water. Pros Free fuel generation located near the worlds largest populations along the coast line. Cons The technology has proved to be complicated and difficult to scale. Real Talk…
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