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Financing at the Grid Edge

September 2018

Citation: 48 ELR 10785

Issue: 9

Author: C. Baird Brown

This Article, excerpted from Michael B. Gerrard & John C. Dernbach, eds., Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (forthcoming in 2018 from ELI Press), discusses legal impediments and solutions for customer, community, and third-party financing of behind-the-meter and community-scale clean energy generation, storage, and energy efficiency. Current levels of investment by utilities and independent power producers fall well below levels needed to meet deep decarbonization goals. Investments at the “grid edge” driven by customers and communities not only contribute to clean energy goals, but also reduce energy prices and improve the resilience of the power supply. Legal reforms are needed to permit ownership of local energy resources and sales of energy and other services by customers, communities, and their local suppliers; to encourage utilities and regional transmission organizations to foster transparent markets for services from grid-edge resources; to provide better information on the usage of customers and the needs of the grid; and to adapt and reuse existing finance markets and create new institutions that support grid-edge finance.

C. Baird Brown is Principal at eco(n)law LLC.

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