Evolving Role of the Power Sector Regulator: A Clean Energy Regulators Initiative Report

Owen Zinaman, Mackay Miller

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This paper seeks to briefly characterize the evolving role of power sector regulation. Given current global dynamics, regulation of the power sector is undergoing dramatic changes. This transformation is being driven by various factors including technological advances and cost reductions in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and demand management; increasing air pollution and climate changeconcerns; and persistent pressure for ensuring sustainable economic development and increased access to energy services by the poor. These issues add to the already complex task of power sector regulation, of which the fundamental remit remains to objectively and transparently ensure least-cost service delivery at high quality. While no single regulatory task is trivial to undertake, it is theprioritization and harmonization of a multitude of objectives that exemplifies the essential challenge of power sector regulation. Evolving regulatory roles can be understood through the concept of existing objectives and an additional layer of emerging objectives. Following this categorization, we describe seven existing objectives of power sector regulators and nine emerging objectives,highlighting key challenges and outlining interdependencies. This essay serves as a preliminary installment in the Clean Energy Regulatory Initiative (CERI) series, and aims to lay the groundwork for subsequent reports and case studies that will explore these topics in more depth.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-61570


  • clean energy regulation
  • clean energy technologies
  • EE
  • EE
  • energy efficiency
  • investment
  • power


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