Smarter Grid Infrastructure

NEW! Register for APPA’s Public Power Forward Webinar Series—featuring five webinars on key areas that are driving change for public power utilities: rate design, community solar, electric vehicles, battery storage, and smart meters. Learn from the experts about trends and opportunities and hear case studies from public power utilities across the nation that are implementing new initiatives in these areas. Sign up individually or register for the series at a discounted rate.

Register for APPA’s Public Power Forward Summit Dec. 11-12 in San Francisco, California, to learn how public power utilities are preparing for the future.

Join APPA's Public Power Forward listserv/discussion group to get updates on grid modernization, distributed energy resources, rate design and new business models and share ideas with colleagues.

The Residential Consumers and the Utility of the Future white paper identifies consumer concerns in policy initiatives to stimulate growth in distributed energy resources and changes in rate design.

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APPA’s Public Power Forward roadmap shows how public power utilities can prepare for a new era in electricity to address changing customer preferences, technologies, regulation, and market forces.

APPA’s Roadmap to the SEPA 51st State Phase II explains the public power 51st State roadmap, and lays out the current and future state of public power, with transition steps.

APPA’s Mike Hyland lays out public power’s playbook for grid modernization in a blog post profiling public power case studies from across the country.

Download the Future issue of APPA's magazine for advice on the future from industry experts, new technologies that connecting customers and utilites to a more interactrive grid, and a roadmap on new business models for utilities (Public Power Magazine, May-June 2017).

Download the Grid Modernization issue of APPA’s magazine for case studies, expert perspectives, and resources on public power smart grid initiatives (Public Power Magazine, March-April 2016).

Rate Design

APPA has published a paper on rate design. The paper explains how Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) impact utility revenue recovery, and offers several alternative rate design options, and the pros and cons of each approach. The paper is accompanied by an infographic of the ten questions your utility should ask before implementing new rate designs.

APPA has published a Value of Solar Primer. The Primer provides an overview of methods utilities and analysts have used for value of solar (VOS) studies, explains why different studies have produced disparate results, and discusses the pros and cons of adapting a VOS tariff. The paper is accompanied by an infographic of the common components of value of solar.

APPA has developed a spreadsheet model designed to help members assess the potential impacts of distributed energy resources on utility revenues and customer rates. Download documentation | View a tutorial video | Download the spreadsheet

Rate Design for Distributed Generation white paper presents case studies on alternatives to net metering and how public power utilities have educated customers about new rates.


An innovative rate plan developed by the Omaha Public Power District played a key role in helping to bring a new Facebook data center to Nebraska (Public Power Daily, April 5, 2017).

APPA’s Fall Education Institute includes courses on cost of service and retail rate design, with a focus on implications for distributed generation. Oct. 2-6, 2017 in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Solar and Other Distributed Resources

A case study involving Sacramento Municipal Utility District details the California public power utility’s efforts to create an integrated distributed energy resources planning process (Public Power Daily, June 5, 2017).

California public power utility Alameda Municipal Power recently launched a significant new technology program that includes the deployment of smart meters (Public Power Daily, May 26, 2017).

Check out case studies on community solar and other DG-related projects from public power utilities across the country.

The New York Power Authority will play a key role in an initiative under which New York state will make an investment of up to $1.5 billion in major renewable energy projects, including wind and solar, and significantly expand energy efficiency and solar installations at public buildings (Public Power Daily, June 5, 2017).

Download APPA’s 10 things to consider before you go solar infographic to share with your customers and educate them on questions to ask before installing rooftop solar.

APPA has published a guide to community solar for public power utilities entitled: Community Solar A-Z. The Guide is accompanied by an infographic of the seven questions to ask before choosing community solar.

Legal Implications of Community Solar Securities and Tax Law Considerations provides a general overview of federal and general state securities and tax law considerations that may apply to community solar projects. Members may consider these general principles in connection with any potential involvement, either direct or indirect, in a community solar project.

The Department of Energy has released details of its Solar in Your Community Challenge Sunshot Prize. The Challenge’s goal is to expand solar electricity access to low-and moderate-income (LMI) households and community organizations that haven’t been able to take advantage of the booming solar market.

Working together, two Vermont public power utilities discovered that it is possible to achieve lower energy costs by owning their solar installations, rather than using third-party arrangements, and making use of federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (Public Power Daily, January 5, 2017).

Imperial Irrigation District is No. 1 for storage MW in SEPA ranking (Public Power Daily, April 27, 2017).

In its report, Public Power and Rural Electric Leadership on Community Solar Initiatives the Consumer Federation of America details how community solar is finding a niche in public power.

Review APPA’s legislative issue brief on solar distributed generation to understand why those who benefit from the grid must share in the cost of building and maintaining it.



APPA and NRECA filed comments on the Electric Storage Participation in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators NOPR in Docket No. RM16-23-000 (2-13-17)

The Community Storage Initiative is an effort by electric utilities, environmental groups, and manufacturers to promote energy storage technologies in communities across the country (Public Power Daily, April 27, 2016).

APPA submitted comments to FERC June 6, 2016 on barriers to participation by electric storage resources in wholesale power markets, including double-recovery of storage costs and cross-subsidies (Public Power Daily, June 21, 2016).

Home Batteries: 10 Things You Need to Know infographic provides a handy checklist to share with your residential customers seeking advice on whether to purchase a battery storage system.

Energy Storage: Changing the Game, Changing the Grid offers an in-depth review of energy storage in the U.S. and storage projects by public power utilities (Public Power Magazine, September-October 2015).

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Electric Vehicles

Austin Energy in Texas has launched Electric Drive, a transportation and charging hub aimed at supporting the city of Austin’s thriving electric vehicle infrastructure (Public Power Daily, April 5, 2017).

The American Public Power Association and the U.S. Department of Energy will pursue collaborative efforts to advance electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure construction in public power communities across the U.S. (Public Power Daily, July 25, 2016).

Driving Lessons: Charging Ahead in the Electric Vehicle Race explains how public power utilities are installing EV charging infrastructure and monitoring EV charging load in their communities (Public Power Magazine, July-August 2016).

APPA’s electric vehicle infographic spells out five things people should know before buying an electric vehicle. Download and share with your customers.

APPA’s Mike Hyland blogs about the impact of electric vehicle charging on electricity loads and how public power utilities can prepare for the growing popularity of EVs.

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Microgrids, small energy systems that can run independently of the main grid, can turn communities into self-sufficient energy islands (Public Power Magazine, September-October 2015).

The How Microgrids Work infographic explains how a microgrid is like an island — it can function on its own, power a concentrated area, and connect to the mainland.

Read a blog by APPA’s Mike Hyland on gauging the real need for microgrids — are they simply a solution in search of a problem?

Take a tour of a microgrid on the University of California San Diego campus to learn firsthand how microgrids operate.

Customer Interface and Public Education


Headed to a town meeting? Need to educate new city council or board members? Download and use the Public Power 101 PowerPoint presentation that you can customize with your own data

APPA created a list of 2017's Top 10 Summer Energy Saver Tips

APPA conducted a survey of public power customers and learned that only 1 in 5 customers knows what public power is or how it makes a difference (Public Power Magazine, May-June 2016)

What are the public power brand differentiators? Affordability, reliability, environmental responsibility, and community. (Public Power Magazine, July-August 2016)

Mark your calendar for November 5–8, 2017 in Sacramento, California for APPA’s Customer Connections Conference, with sessions on energy services and public communications

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