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JUNE 29, 2022 – Welcome to the NESP Quarterly where we share exciting developments and new resources to support benefit-cost analysis (BCA) of distributed energy resources (DERs). As always, please reach out with any questions or thoughts, and happy summer reading!  

— Julie Michals & Natalie Fortman

In This Issue

-- How states apply the NSPM

-- Two new NESP resources

-- Can BCA address energy equity?

-- BCA training using the NSPM

-- DSP refreshed!

-- Upcoming events

States Using the NSPM

States are applying the NSPM BCA framework using stakeholder processes to update or modify their BCA practices. Each is unique in its process and scope, and can serve as examples of what might work best in your jurisdiction of interest:

Connecticut - On June 1, the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued a Determination approving the utilities’ 2022-2024 Conservation and Load Management Plan. DEEP’s cost-effectiveness test is referred to as the CT Efficiency Test (CTET) in the plan. Read more below.

Colorado - On May 1, Public Service of Colorado (PSCO) filed its distribution system plan (DSP) with the commission, including its Cost-Benefit Analysis of Non-Wires Alternatives (NWAs), which, consistent with Colorado Public Utilities Commission DSP rules in Proceeding No. 20R-0516E, applies the NSPM to develop an Expanded Modified Total Resource Cost Test (EMTRC). Read more below.

Maryland - The NSPM BCA framework was foundational to creating Maryland’s MD-EV jurisdiction specific test (JST) and similarly a proposed Maryland JST for energy efficiency (EE). After the EV and EE stakeholders processes, the commission has now convened a new working group in its “Unified BCA” docket to explore developing a consistent BCA framework across all DERs. Read about Maryland’s process in this new case study.

Minnesota - The MN Department of Commerce (DOC) has launched a process to explore the cost-effectiveness methodologies that utilities must use for their 2024-2026 Conservation Improvement Program Triennial Plans. An April meeting presented the NSPM BCA framework, followed by workshops using the NSPM to guide the stakeholder process for a new primary test. Read more below.

Washington State: The Utilities & Transportation Commission (UTC) opened Docket UE-210804 in November 2021 to develop a new cost-effectiveness test that aligns with the state's Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) using the NSPM principles and framework. After reviewing stakeholder responses to the Opportunity to File Written Comments, the UTC started a workshop series to apply the NSPM. Read more below.

Read More

Other State Updates and NSPM References

While some states are actively using the NSPM, interest is growing in other states to apply the NSPM in the context of distribution system planning (DSP), DER programs, or net metering, such as: in Illinois on the Role of Benefit-Cost Analysis in Integrated Grid Planning and in Michigan on BCA in DSP where Synapse Energy Economics and the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) presented before commission staff and DSP stakeholders. The Michigan PSC staff recommended in May 2022 that the Commission issue guidance on BCA using a process such as the NSPM (see pgs. 30-31)

Other developments include North Carolina (Docket E-100 Sub 180) where three intervenor groups submitted reply comments regarding net metering policy changes proposed by Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress. All groups recommended the Commission open an investigation into the costs and benefits of customer-sited generation using NSPM principles. Read a summary of all three comments, and more NSPM references, below.

See All NSPM References and Map

State Technical Assistance

NESP is providing technical assistance (TA) to jurisdictions in applying the NSPM framework in the context of updating BCA practices for DER programs, procurement, and/or broader planning efforts with support from U.S. DOE via Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. If your jurisdiction is interested in such TA services, please contact Julie Michals at (subject to funding availability).

New NESP Resources Are Here!

Two comprehensive companion resources now complement the NSPM:  

  • Methods Tools & Resources (MTR) Handbook for Quantifying DER Impacts (March 2022) - Now available as an online resource as well as the original PDF. While the NSPM provides guidance on identifying what benefits and costs should be accounted for in a jurisdiction’s primary cost-effectiveness test, this handbook, led by Synapse Energy Economics, provides technical information on how benefits and costs of DER investments can be quantified. Get the MTR Handbook.

  • Benefit-Cost Analysis Case Studies: Examples of DER Use Cases (June 2022) – This new report illustrates BCAs for DER technologies with three use cases: EV managed charging, solar + storage, and grid-interactive efficient (GEB) buildings. They demonstrate application of the NSPM with real-world data and the use of jurisdiction-specific tests for hypothetical jurisdictions. Developed by Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), ICF conducted the modeling and provided technical support. Download the BCA Case Studies.

Next up: During 2022, we will develop additional guidance on key BCA issues and applications that have arisen as the NSPM is applied in states around the country. We are also beginning a detailed non-wires solutions (NWS) BCA case study, to be published this fall.

Can BCA Address Energy Equity?

In our February newsletter, we presented a preliminary framework on how energy equity intersects with BCA. After further thought and discussion, we updated the conceptual framework as shown below. BCA and distributional equity analysis (DEA) are complementary but different, where DEA addresses key metrics that BCAs do not. 

Read More On Our Energy Equity Webpage

BCA Training Using the NSPM

The Regulatory Training Initiative (RTI) hosted a 3-session online training course on BCA for DERs, in May. Instructors Tim Woolf and Karl Rábago led students through key topics including:

·      BCA definition, categories and inputs; foundational BCA principles and framework;

·      developing a primary BCA test, BCAs for different DERs, presenting BCA results; and

·      BCAs vs. rate and bill impact analysis; energy equity and BCA; quantifying BCA impacts.

The course used the NSPM guidance and MTR Handbook as the basis for instruction, with over 100 attendees including staff from 30+ public utilities commissions. View the slides below and see the recording here.

Day 1 Training
Day 2 Training
Day 3 Training

DSP Refreshed!

The Database of Screening Practices (DSP) was just updated. The DSP provides cost-effectiveness testing information for energy efficiency in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico. Read more to get a flavor of the updates, including improved presentation of greenhouse gas emission impacts. 

Read More

Upcoming Events

  • July 17-20, 2022: NARUC Summer Policy Summit. More information and registration here.
  • August 18, 2022: AESP Summer Conference. Clear and Present Guidance: Using the NSPM Principles to Extract the Full Value from FLM. David Pudleiner, ICFMore information here.
  • August 21-26, 2022: ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. Benefit-Cost Analysis: What it Can and Cannot Tell us About Distributional Equity of DERs Natalie Fortman and Julie Michals, E4TheFuture. More information and registration here.
  • August 25-26, 2022: ECEE National Workshop. Working Together for an Equitable Energy Future. More information here
NSPM Events

NESP Resources

View all NESP resources here.


E4TheFuture serves as coordinator of the National Energy Screening Project, and manages its publications.

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