A sampling of publicly available works, as well as periodic white papers, will be posted here. Most are recent. Other, older works are worth a look, too, as they foreshadowed future developments and identified barriers that persist, until innovators inside and outside the utility industry depart from conventions and REvision a new energy system.
Utility-Driven High-Value PV and Community Solar
Cliburn, J., Bourg, J., and Powers, J., The Right Tone of VOS: Improving the Argument for Local Community Solar. Presentation to National Solar Conference (ASES), San Francisco, California, July 2016. This presentation summarizes an approach for developing the compelling case for locally-sited community solar, as opposed to drawing on centralized solar resources. The approach uses select benefits from a value-of-solar type analysis, but it does not seek to find the maximum number of DPV benefits, nor to pinpoint an absolute value for each. Instead, it takes a business-strategic approach, with select analytics to support the strategy. The presentation highlights three specific benefits for DPV: strategic solar design, transmission avoided costs, and a new benefit, which we call the customer-retention benefit.
Cliburn, J., Making Community Solar Better: Comments for the National Regulatory Research Institute, webinar presented May 2016. Presentation summarized the Community Solar Value Project, in its work to help utilities lead innovative, high-value program design for community solar. The presentation addressed the regulatory policies that could be a barrier to such innovation, as well as highlighting states and utilities that are providing a positive environment for value-enhanced changes to the community solar model.
Cliburn and Associates, LLC, Community Shared Solar Programs for Public Power Utilities, for Sacramento Municipal Utility District and American Public Power Association DEED Program, 2013, including economic analyses for a revised SMUD community solar business model. This report is fully available only to public power DEED members. However, a Summary Poster Cliburn 2013 SPI Community Solar Poster was featured at Solar Power International, October 2013, Chicago, Illinois and is available here. The report includes an overview of community solar developments and issues for the public power sector, as well as detailed modeling of proposed changes to SMUD’s original program. Changes focus on strategic siting and technology choices, as well as application of a new time-of-use rate for all customers, which allows the utility to cost-effectively continue its net metering program. This research foreshadows a more integrated approach, which Cliburn and Associates recommends.
Strategic Demand-Side Resources
Cliburn, J., Demand Response Helps Bring More Wind to the Grid, Intelligent Utility, May 27, 2014. This article summarizes the PowerShift Atlantic project, which utilizes 16.5 MW of demand response to balance wind resources in the region. The article publicizes innovations by others, informing our own work in high-value integrated community solar and other projects.
Cliburn, J. and Bourg, J., Rethinking Solar Water Heating in an Age of Booming PV, Solar Today, Boulder, Colorado, April 2013, pp. 20-23. In this article, we review findings about the load management value of solar water heating, which stemmed from impact evaluations of solar water heating programs at three utilities in the West. Modeling projected the impact of a full scale solar water heating program upon a solar-PV impacted utility “duck curve.” While solar water heating, using uncontrolled electric back up water heaters, would provide measurable benefits, other barriers to scaling up the residential solar water heating market remain.
Market, Economic, and Policy Analyses
Cliburn, J., Bourg, J., Mahar, E., et al., Ratemaking, Solar Value, and Solar Net Energy Metering: A Primer, Solar Electric Power Association, Washington, D.C., 2013. This report is an introduction to state utility regulation and the principles that must be considered during solar policy discussions. A broad industry stakeholder process, as well as research revisiting the often overlooked strengths and limitations of utility ratemaking, suggested likely directions that utilities and stakeholders might take to avoid the rising costs of solar policy gridlock.
Goldberg, M., Cliburn, J., Coughlin, J., Economic Impacts from the Boulder County, Colorado Climate-Smart Loan Program Using PACE Financing, published by NREL (NREL/TP-7A20-52231) 2011. This report examines the economic impacts from the Boulder County, Colorado Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program. This was a groundbreaking program in several ways, including that it was the first PACE program to comprehensively address energy efficiency and renewable energy, and it was the first funded by a public offering of both taxable and tax-exempt bonds. The report focuses on 600 projects and $9.0 million in spending. It sheds light on the strengths and weaknesses of the PACE model, and it informed new programs, using PACE and other types of financing to leverage local clean energy investments. The team also produced a follow-up evaluation of Climate-Smart program market transformation effects, available upon request.
Cliburn, J., and Bourg, J., A Tiger in the Lifeboat: Making the Most of Utility Solar PV, proceedings of Solar 2010, American Solar Energy Society, Phoenix, Arizona, 2010. This paper provides historical and regulatory context for the impasse that has developed between utilities and third-party DPV advocates, as solar has reached significant market penetration. It highlights ways in which barriers attributed to utilities are the result of regulatory conventions and economic assumptions that favor fuel-based generation, and it suggests ways to avert a net metering impasse. Based on experience working with solar developers, it also explores weaknesses in current regional solar markets, calling for greater integration with local smart grid strategies.
Cliburn, J., Going for Solar Gigawatts at Utilities, Solar Today, Boulder, Colorado, June 2009, pp. 26-30. This article is a snapshot of utility solar at a turning point reached between late 2008 and 2009, when utilities began to announce significant investments in centralized and distributed PV. The article explores economic, regulatory, and political drivers, and it argues for greater emphasis on collaborative strategies, such as the author’s experience on a team that triggered a statewide review of utility solar opportunities in Wisconsin.
Wind Power for Public Power Utilities, a 12-page brief published by the U.S. DOE Wind Powering America Program, 2006. This publication is an example of strong communications, targeting a policy audience that must quickly comprehend technical, economic, and environmental impacts of energy-development decisions. The use of powerful summaries and infographics also characterized Cliburn’s award-winning work on industry newsletters and recent market assessments for private-investor clientele.
Cliburn, J., No Regrets Community Solar Development, a brief prospectus for a customizable one-day workshop, geared to one or more utilities and regional stakeholder groups. The one-day workshop format addresses cross-departmental planning, various business models and financing considerations, pricing and implementation issues, and management of long-term program risks. A module on using community solar as a way to introduce DR-based solar integration strategies also may be included.
Cliburn, J., Resources From “New Marketing Solutions for Public Power Utilities: How to Engage Community Networks to Get More Results for Your Program Time and Money,” A Training Curriculum Prepared for Clean Energy Ambassadors, Lansing Board of Water and Light, and the Alliance to Save Energy, 2011. As the Agenda describes, this training was designed to provide a half-day of intensive social marketing training for utility energy program managers, followed by a half-day session engaging utility customers and stakeholders. The curriculum, which drew on a range of resources, has provided a foundation for other trainings, most recently a webinar-based session, featuring 4 Cool Moves, a case study of a social marketing campaign, in May 2014.
Cliburn, J., Your Life in Extraordinary Times: A Presentation on Climate Disruption, presented to New Mexico Highlands University, November 2012. This presentation has been updated for various audiences, but especially young adults, with an emphasis on innovative climate solutions. Jill has also led professional discussions of climate issues and solutions at conferences, including a panel for the Association of Energy Services Professionals.