May 10 panel explores challenges to scaling up equitable distributed energy

Pennsylvania State University

The Center for Energy Law and Policy will sponsor “Scaling Up Equitable Distributed Energy Workshop,” an expert panel of professors, former government representatives and industry leaders to explore potential solutions and legal and technical impediments to achieving scale and equity in the distributed, localized energy space. The virtual workshop and discussion will be held 1-3 p.m., Tuesday, May 10, via Zoom.

The effort to enhance electricity consumers’ production of services for the grid is now decades old. States such as New York, California and Hawaii have rolled out “prosumer” initiatives that aim to make consumers both producers and consumers of electricity, providing small-scale alternatives to centralized generation and new transmission investments. These distributed prosumer activities include, among others, rooftop and community solar, home batteries and electric vehicles, and demand response activities, with the goal to reduce electricity use and offset the need for peak generation.

“The potential benefits of these activities are numerous,” said Hannah Wiseman, professor of law and Wilson Faculty Fellow in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State. “They typically reduce carbon emissions, lower electricity rates and can sometimes help avoid investments in expensive transmission infrastructure.”

Wiseman was quick to point out that there are several barriers for implementing distributed energy, which will be highlighted in the workshop.

“There are substantial hurdles, too,” added Wiseman. “First, implementation of some prosumer initiatives has been slow and limited in scope – often ending at the pilot project stage. Second, distributed energy initiatives have tended to benefit higher-income populations, failing to consistently reach low-income consumers who would benefit most from these initiatives.”

This event is eligible for Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education credit and is sponsored by the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, Center for Energy Law and Policy, and Penn State Law.

Speakers include:

  • Sara Bronin, professor, Cornell College of Architecture Art & Planning, and associate member, Cornell Law School
  • Zoey Burrows, program manager, Disadvantaged Communities – Single-Family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH), and Single Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) programs , GRID Alternatives
  • Joel B. Eisen, professor, University of Richmond School of Law
  • David Meyers, CEO, Polaris Energy Services and Gridtractor
  • Felix Mormann, professor, Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Kenneth D. Schisler, regulatory and government affairs, CPower Energy Management

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