12 12, 2023

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2023 is coming to a close, and with it another monumental year for the energy transition. Back in February, we predicted 5 major energy trends that we thought would define the year. They’ve certainly held true – the constantly improving economics of clean energy have led to continued growth of energy solutions like demand response, battery storage, and more. At the same time, concerns about climate change influenced both public and private action throughout the year.

And as 2023 ends, we’re taking a look back at our five most popular blogs to see which subjects resonated the most with our readers. It’s clear that each of these five blogs highlights – in different ways – a growing organizational understanding of the impact and opportunities available in taking action on sustainability.

The most prominent theme among these five blogs is the Inflation Reduction Act, with three of the five centered around this historic piece of legislation. Even though the Inflation Reduction Act actually passed in 2022, this landmark legislation continues to generate interest as more and more organizations work to align stakeholders and best understand how they can maximize the value of the available incentives and tax credits.

But there’s much more in this list beyond tax incentives. The topic of peaking power plants drew significant interest as well, as organizations seek to understand what is behind the importance of energy flexibility. Not only that, battery storage – a crucial tool in successfully transitioning to clean energy and maximizing usage of renewables – drew increased interest in 2023, likely in part due to the inclusion of standalone storage among the technologies supported by the Inflation Reduction Act. And just beyond the limits of our top five was a diverse array of other clean energy topics – Canada’s clean energy ITCCalifornia’s NEM 3.0the basics of demand response, and much more.

Let’s zoom in a bit further on our five most popular blogs to highlight their key content and takeaways.

1. An overview of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

Despite being passed last year, the Inflation Reduction Act’s enduring appeal makes sense – analysts and businesses only began to fully understand the scope of the Inflation Reduction Act in the months after its passage in August 2022. Even now, organizations are still coming to grips with the latest guidance and how they can best leverage its provisions to transform their energy strategy. In our overview blog, Enel policy analyst Maddie Lee guides organizations through the Inflation Reduction Act’s key clean energy incentives and how they can help an organization’s energy economics.

Key quote:

“Organizations need to lay down the groundwork now to take advantage of the sizeable federal tax credits. Acting now allows you to create an early mover advantage and mitigate the supply chain and interconnection application bottlenecks expected to emerge in the clean energy infrastructure industry.”

Discover the Inflation Reduction Act

2. What is a peaking power plant?

As the world’s leading demand response partner, we aim to help our customers understand the significance of the work they’re doing when they curtail their energy usage – we even give out demand response awards each year to top performing customers. Even so, many demand response participants may not fully realize why demand response is so important to the future of the energy grid.

One of the reasons for the importance of demand response is its ability to reduce the usage of peaking power plants, the high-emitting, expensive-to-maintain power plants that grid operators call on at times of high demand. This blog illuminates the challenges of peaking power plants, why grid operators have traditionally had to rely on them, and how demand response – and energy flexibility more broadly – are helping to reduce the need for peaking power plant usage.

Key quote:

“The electric grid was originally built to accommodate and run on fossil fuels. However, both supply and demand have changed drastically over the years. Demand response is one part of that evolution of supply and demand – by paying energy users to reduce their demand for grid energy at times of grid stress, demand response helps to keep power flowing and reduces the need for the use of peaking power plants.”

Learn about peaking power plants

3. Unlocking the domestic content bonus tax credit

The Inflation Reduction Act contains an abundance of provisions to help support clean energy projects, but the ins and outs of its various bonuses and incentives are complex. To unlock the “full” base tax credit rate, organizations have to satisfy certain criteria beyond just basic eligibility requirements. One of the most noteworthy requirements is the domestic content bonus tax credit, and this blog – written by Enel's Procurement Market Strategy Director Duncan Cooper – provides guidance on this provision.

Key quote:

“The definition of what constitutes domestic content is complicated, but these are the two most important criteria. To qualify for the domestic content bonus tax credit, a solar, onshore wind, or storage project must meet these two criteria:
1. The project must use 100% domestic steel and iron for construction materials that are structural in nature.
2. Projects that begin construction before 2025 must use at least 40% domestically manufactured products.”

Unlock the domestic content bonus tax credit

4. Maximizing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

Sensing a theme? This third topic related to the Inflation Reduction Act further underscores how crucial this bill is to an optimized energy strategy for organizations in every industry over the coming years.

In this blog, Enel Policy Analyst Maddie Lee talks through all bonus adder tax credits, among them the energy communities bonus adder tax credits, the (aforementioned) domestic content bonus adder tax credit, and the low-income communities bonus adder tax credit. Updated as of mid-2023, the blog focuses on explaining these adders and how to access them. We continually update this blog as further guidance is issued from the government, so readers have the latest information at their fingertips.

Key quote:

“The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is an unprecedented, transformative piece of legislation that provides consistent support to accelerate the deployment of clean power over the next decade. For clean energy projects, the legislation’s available tax credits are structured in tiers, with a partial credit value, a full credit value when prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements are met, and an opportunity to unlock bonus adders when specific conditions are met. There are various conditions organizations must meet to unlock the full value of a 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) or a 2.6 ¢/kWh Production Tax Credit (PTC). In this blog, we’re focusing on what we know to date around the bonus adders: what they are, how they work, and how projects can qualify for them.”

Maximize the Inflation Reduction Act

5. Battery storage 101: Everything you need to know

For many industry observers, one particularly welcome development in the Inflation Reduction Act was the eligibility of a standalone battery storage system for the tax credits in the legislation. Battery storage is crucial to the success of the energy transition, and that was officially recognized by the technology’s inclusion in the Inflation Reduction Act. 

But many organizations don’t understand just how significant battery storage can be to their economics. Both by itself or paired with solar to maximize its economic and sustainability benefits, battery storage can have a major impact on an organization’s energy strategy. In this blog, we explain what everyone should know about battery energy storage systems.

Key quote:

“Because battery storage is flexible – meaning it can spin up and ramp up quickly – it can provide a wide range of services to keep the grid in balance. It can also enable your organization to be more flexible in its energy usage and generate revenue from a variety of value streams. Battery storage offers main services to three stakeholder groups: energy markets, utilities, and customers.”

Get an intro to battery storage

Closing thoughts

The data on these blogs paints a clear picture: there is significant and growing interest in the changing energy landscape, and organizations are trying to understand not only how to best participate, but also the reasons their actions can be so important. 

If you want to read more energy-related topics beyond these 5 blogs, visit our Enel Insights homepage. You’ll discover:

  • The latest energy thinking and sustainability insights
  • Updates on energy market trends
  • Policy updates that may impact how you plan and recalibrate your energy strategy
  • Best practices for integrating and deploying energy solutions
  • How you can take advantage of available clean energy incentives
  • And much more!

Our team is always available to talk if you have specific questions. To learn more about the Inflation Reduction Act, battery storage, demand response, or anything else we highlighted in our 2023 year in review, contact our team to discuss how we can help your organization.

Learn more about advancing your energy strategy by leveraging our integrated energy solutions.