Energy Policy Update

A blog about energy resources, energy policy, and their effects on society and the environment. From fossil fuels to renewable energy, electricity to natural gas and oil, traditional technologies to innovations, this blog presents an unbiased look at the past, present, and future of energy.

This blog site is published by and reflects the personal views of Todd Griset, in his individual capacity. It does not necessarily represent the views of his law firm or clients, and is not sponsored or endorsed by them. The purpose of this blog site is to assist in dissemination of information about energy policy and related issues, but no representation is made about the accuracy of the information. The information contained in this blog site is provided only as general information for education purposes, and blog topics may or may not be updated subsequent to their initial posting.

By using this blog site you understand that this information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to constitute legal advice. This blog site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. This blog site is not intended to be advertising and Todd Griset does not wish to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this blog site in a state where this blog site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.

Recent Blog Posts

  • A coalition of New England colleges has formed to purchase electricity from a solar farm in Farmington, Maine. The New England College Renewable Partnership describes itself as the first collaborative purchase of solar electricity in New England higher education. The New England College Renewable Partnership includes Amherst, Bowdoin, Hampshire, Smith and Williams Colleges. According to an announcement by Amherst, Mount Holyoke and UMass Amherst had also participated in earlier discussions about the project, but later abandoned the project, while Bowdoin... More
  • U.S. energy infrastructure regulators have launched an inquiry to examine how they review and authorize interstate natural gas transportation facilities under federal law. The process before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could lead to changes to the Commission's policies on certification of new natural gas pipelines.Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act requires any person seeking to construct or operate a facility for the transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity... More
  • U.S. ocean energy regulators have announced the proposed lease sale of two new areas offshore Massachusetts for commercial wind energy leasing, totaling about 390,000 acres.On April 6, 2018, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management would publish a Proposed Sale Notice for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Massachusetts on April 11, 2018.Through that Proposed Sale Notice, BOEM described its plans to conduct Atlantic Wind Lease... More
  • Will Virginia adopt regulations for greenhouse gas emissions trading that enable it to join nine other states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative?The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, is the first mandatory market-based program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI was formed in 2007 by agreement of participating states. At present, nine states participate in RGGI: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Each participating state has... More
  • The operator of New England's electric grid and wholesale electricity markets has adopted a new design for its capacity market, called “Pay For Performance” or PFP, which will become effective on June 1, 2018. As of that date, capacity payments will reward power resources that make investments to successfully boost performance during periods of system stress, while resources that don’t perform will forfeit capacity payments. According to grid operator ISO New England, Inc., these capacity market reforms... More
  • How should distributed energy resources be allowed to aggregate and participate in organized wholesale electricity markets? How could increased adoption of distributed energy resources affect the bulk power system? U.S. energy regulators have announced a two-day technical conference to be held in April 2018 to discuss these and other issues relating to distributed energy resources.Distributed energy resources, or DERs, are generally small, geographically dispersed electric resources, installed and operated on the distribution system at voltage levels below the typical... More
  • U.S. ocean energy regulators have announced their intent to study the environmental impacts of approving an offshore wind developer's plans to construct and operate an 800-megawatt wind energy facility offshore Massachusetts.At issue is a proposal by Vineyard Wind LLC to construct and operate an 800-megawatt (MW) wind energy facility offshore Massachusetts. The project area, a lease for which was awarded to Offshore MW LLC by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in 2015, is located about 14... More
  • Since a 2013 rifle attack on a critical electric power substation in California, the U.S. electric power sector has generally moved toward greater physical security for critical assets, according to a report published by the Congressional Research Service. But the report says bulk power security "remains a work in progress," and suggests further investment -- and policy reforms -- may follow.The report published on March 19, 2018 -- NERC Standards for Bulk Power Physical Security: Is the Grid More Secure?... More
  • How can challenges or prize competitions help society address barriers that may prevent long-term access to low-cost water supplies? The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has published a Request for Information, seeking information from the public to understand the key technical and other barriers that may prevent long-term access to low-cost water supplies that could be best addressed through challenges and prize competitions.Water is essential for human health, economic growth, and agricultural... More
  • Calling electric grid resilience "a critical issue for the American people and for our economy and national security," U.S. energy regulators have extended to May 9, 2018, a deadline for public comment on the resilience of the nation's bulk power system in organized wholesale markets.The resilience of energy infrastructure is drawing increased public interest. Last year, U.S. Secretary of Energy proposed a rule for consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission whose nominal focus was on incentivizing electric generator resilience... More
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned that for at least two years, Russian government cyber actors have targeted government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors.In a joint Technical Alert issued March 15, 2018 by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agencies warned of a "multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors."... More
  • U.S. energy regulators have revised their policies, and will no longer allow master limited partnership (MLP) interstate natural gas and oil pipelines to recover an income tax allowance in their cost-of-service rates. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its Revised Policy Statement on Treatment of Income Taxes following a 2016 federal court order addressing the topic.At issue is the Commission's policy on how MLP pipelines may set their cost-based rates. As described by the Commission, an MLP is a partnership... More
  • New Hampshire utility regulators have reopened a program offering a rebate to commercial and industrial electric customers who undertake qualifying solar energy projects, while reducing the size of the incentive and changing other program terms.To encourage commercial and industrial (C&I) customers to participate in solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy projects, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission first approved a solar rebate program in 2010. That program disburses funds from the state's Renewable Energy Fund to customers in exchange for... More
  • Federal utility regulators have taken a portfolio of actions in response to recent changes to U.S. tax law which reduced the tax rates applicable to many electric utilities and pipeline companies. Some rates for use of infrastructure will be reduced automatically, while regulators prompted others to explain why they should not be reduced to reflect the tax law changes. At the same time, regulators have opened an inquiry and proposed a rulemaking to address further aspects of the 2017 federal... More
  • The organization responsible for New England's wholesale electricity markets has announced the results of its twelfth annual forward capacity auction. According to grid operator ISO New England, Inc., its FCA 12 concluded with sufficient resources to meet electricity demand in 2021-2022, at the lowest price in five years.As in some (but not all) other organized electricity markets, New England's electricity market design includes a wholesale energy market as well as a forward capacity market. Operated by ISO New England, the... More