University of San Diego

San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law


Davod B. Spence


In Part I of this essay, I outline some of the background characteristics of the electric grid, the way it is operated, and the way regulators and grid operators manage the sale and transmission of electricity across it. In Part II, I explore the opportunities and potential problems associated with integrating intermittent, renewable sources of electric generation into the grid. This discussion includes a review of a number of recent studies examining the GHG emissions effects of using fossil fueled generation to back up wind power, as well as the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission?s (FERC) recent rulemakings addressing this issue. Part III explores the potential cost and pollution reduction savings associated with better management of our electricity demand, and why many of those opportunities remain unrealized. This discussion includes a review of the behavioral economics literature addressing this phenomenon, as well as FERCs recent rulemakings aimed at reducing the growth in peak demand by encouraging demand response. Part IV offers some concluding thoughts.