The Future of Centrally-Organized Wholesale Electricity Markets

TitleThe Future of Centrally-Organized Wholesale Electricity Markets
Publication TypeReport
LBNL Report NumberLBNL-1007226
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsGlazer, Craig, Jay Morrison, Paul Breakman, Allison Clements, and National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocate
EditorsSchwartz, Lisa C.
Series TitleFuture Electric Utility Regulation Report Series
VolumeFEUR Report No. 7
Date Published03/2017

Despite enormous complexity, diversity and challenges, bulk power markets in the United States are functioning reasonably well. However, some aspects of their design — particularly, the long-term functioning of wholesale markets administered by regional transmission operators and independent system operators — remain a work in progress and in some cases are subject to an ongoing debate.

Four questions in particular lack consensus and are the subject of this report:

  1. Are today's centrally-organized market designs adequate to accommodate state public policy goals, and what potential design changes would further enable deployment of resources that achieve the goals of reliability, affordability and resource mix?
  2. What are the market impacts of environmental regulations that further constrain the deployment of fossil fuel resources?
  3. What are the market impacts of integrating increasingly higher levels of renewable resources with zero marginal cost?
  4. Are today's market designs adequate to acquire the flexible resources needed to better integrate increasing levels of variable energy resources at least cost?

These questions are debated in the report by authors representing a market operator (PJM), utilities (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association), environmental interests (Natural Resources Defense Council) and consumers (National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates).


This report was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability  Electricity Policy Technical Assistance Program and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy  Solar Energy Technologies Office under Task 1.4.29  Future Electric Utility Regulation of DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative. Lisa Schwartz, with Berkeley Lab's Electricity Markets and Policy Group, is the project manager and technical editor. 

To see more information on this report series, click here.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory hosted a webinar on March 24, 2017, entitled "The Future of Centrally-Organized Wholesale Electricity Markets." To view a video of the recording, click here.  
Report PDF1.57 MB
Presentation PDF3.82 MB