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Direct Energy is a competitive energy retailer that offers both electricity and natural gas products for residential consumers. Founded in Toronto in 1986, in 2000 Direct Energy was acquired by British energy company Centrica plc.
Direct Energy Residential: Direct Energy sells natural gas and electricity contracts to residential consumers at fixed and variable rates of varying lengths. Direct Energy Services: Direct Energy, and its affiliates, sell home services such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) installation and service, plumbing, water heaters, protection plans, building automation, facility maintenance, energy audits, and energy management consulting services, for both residential and business customers. Direct Energy Business: Direct Energy sells gas and electricity contracts to commericial and industrial customers throughout Canada and the United States (government, public institutions, small, medium and large-sized businesses). With over USD 2.5 billion spent over the last four years on investments in North America, Direct Energy is seeking to solidify its claim as one of the largest competitive energy retailers on the continent. Energy from Waste (EfW) is a proven renewable energy technology that recovers energy from waste.
In those states where residential solar is starting to take hold, there are mounting concerns that rate structures currently in place to support residential PV will result in adopters bearing less than their fair share of system costs. A new EI working paper takes a close look at how increasing levels of distributed solar generation can impact power system costs.
If you have invested in putting solar panels on your roof, chances are the solar electricity you generate is valued at retail rates one way or another.
As we’ve discussed before on this blog,  the marginal retail price can significantly exceed the direct energy costs of producing a kilowatt-hour centrally. I am no an engineer, but I am fortunately married to one, who is a co-author of the new EI working paper. If you install solar panels on your roof, this will impact how power flows through the distribution system that delivers power from high voltage transmission networks to the people in your neighborhood. The cartoon above shows a single “feeder” (a collection of distribution lines that carry power from the high voltage transmission system to customers). On average, they find that the levelized value of deferred investment in distribution system upgrades (avoided costs) is small: around half a cent per kWh. The figure below focuses on the 298 feeders where capacity upgrades are anticipated  in the next ten years under a business-as-usual scenario.

On average, this study finds that the average (distribution system related) net benefits of distributed solar PV are not very significant. There is precedent for targeting energy efficiency to defer investments in transmission and distribution system upgrades… why not solar PV?
Cross-posted from the blog of the Energy Institute at Haas (tag line: Research that Informs Business and Social Policy). More than 350 UC Berkeley scholars share their perspectives on local, national and global issues. It is one of the larger competitive energy retailers in North America, with over 6 million customers throughout the continent. Its sister company, Direct Energy Regulated Rervices offers regulated rate power and natural gas to  customers in the ATCO Electric and ATCO Gas distribution service areas.
Since then, the company has made numerous acquisitions in the North American competitive retail energy market. Direct Energy Regulated Services sells electricity at regulated rates to eligible customers within its service area. As its recent acquisitions in Alberta demonstrate, Direct Energy has not only been interested in energy at the retail level but also upstream at the supply level. DIYTrade accepts no responsibility whatsoever in respect of such content.To report fraudulent or illegal content, please click here.
If increasing levels of distributed solar generation puts additional pressure on grid equipment and aging infrastructure, these concerns loom even larger. For me, this paper raises a timely question: should we be paying more attention to where distributed generation gets distributed?
Much to the chagrin of my kids (who’d rather be talking Frozen or fire trucks), I have been steering the family dinner table conversation towards this paper which looks at how distributed solar affects the electricity distribution system. For example, less electricity flowing into your neighborhood during peak times can reduce pressure on aging infrastructure (e.g. Using detailed data on all 3,000 feeders operated by the largest utility in California, PG&E, Duncan and coauthors simulate how increased solar PV penetration on each feeder would impact the need for system capacity upgrades, expenditures on voltage management, etc. This is in line with rough estimates found in other reports that use highly aggregated data.

It turns out that this economically insignificant average value obscures tremendous variation in feeder-specific capacity values. This represents about 20 percent of the total capacity, or approximately 1 million customers. Its headquarters are in Houston, Texas, but it has regional offices in Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, and it operates in all Canadian provinces where energy competition exists. The combustion process produces high-pressure steam that is converted to electrical power using a turbine and generator. If you consume the electricity you generate, you avoid purchasing electricity from your utility.
The findings should be of interest to energy economists and engineers alike (but not so much three and five year olds it turns out). Capacity values are zero across a large majority of feeders where no capacity upgrades are anticipated over the next ten years.
In other words, the net costs of future distributed generation could be significantly reduced if these resources are targeted to areas where they can generate the largest benefits. This electricity can be fed into the national grid or supplied to the local community.They can also produce high-pressure hot water or steam that can be used by industry or domestic heating.
If you do not use all the electricity that your solar panel is generating (it is estimated that almost half of electricity generated by net metering customers in California is exported), you can export the extra power to the grid and count it against consumption within the same billing period. On the other hand, solar PV generates benefits that are not fully reflected in market prices. These plants are highly efficient and are encouraged by Government policy.Pyrolysis is the thermal degradation of the waste in the absence of air. But increased PV penetration can also increase the need for investment in hardware such as voltage regulation because distribution systems are not designed to handle power flowing from customers back to the substation.

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