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

  • How long was your power out last year? How many times was your utility electricity service interrupted? Recently released federal statistics show that in 2017, the average Maine electricity customer experienced both the greatest number of interruptions and the longest total duration of power outages of any state in the country.The U.S. Energy Information Administration tracks electric utility service outages. EIA tracks electric utility service interruptions using two reliability metrics developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics ... More
  • U.S. environmental regulators have established renewable fuel standards for 2019, calling for a 3% increase in renewable fuel volumes over 2018, but have continued to waive statutory requirements targeting even larger volumes of renewable fuel.Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard or RFS program through the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and expanded the program through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the RFS requires a certain volume of renewable fuel to... More
  • U.S. coal consumption in 2018 will reach its lowest level since 1979, according to a prediction by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Reduced coal use for electricity generation is the largest contributor to the decline, driven by factors including economics and environmental regulations.The EIA tracks total U.S. coal consumption. According to its latest forecast, EIA expects total U.S. coal consumption in 2018 to fall to 691 million short tons. This represents a 4% decline from 2017, and would bring coal... More
  • Federal hydropower regulators have issued a pair of notices framing the implementation of recently enacted legislation designed to streamline the processes for licensing some hydroelectric projects.On October 23, 2018, President Trump signed the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. The new law amends several portions of the Federal Power Act which govern how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issues preliminary permits, hydropower licenses, and approvals for qualifying conduit hydropower facilities. It also directs the Commission to:Issue a rule within 180... More
  • This week the operator of New England's wholesale electricity markets made a series of filings with its federal regulator providing information on its upcoming thirteenth forward capacity auction, through which electric generators may commit to providing electric capacity during the period from June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023.ISO New England Inc. is the independent system operator and wholesale market-maker for most of New England's electricity grid. It is a private, not-for-profit entity, which operates pursuant to a tariff on... More
  • The federal agency responsible for managing ocean energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf has scheduled an auction for about 390,000 acres offshore Massachusetts, to be held on December 13, 2018.Under federal law, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is responsible for conducting auctions to lease parcels of federal waters for offshore wind energy development.On October 17, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that BOEM will hold its next offshore wind auction in December. According to the Final... More
  • Canada's highest court has ruled that Quebec's provincial utility Hydro-Quebec cannot be required to renegotiate a long-term contract to buy power from a Labrador hydroelectric plant at below-market rates, even though the deal has yielded about 14 times more profit for Hydro-Quebec than for the Labrador generator.At issue is the Churchill Falls hydroelectric plant on the upper Churchill River in Labrador, and a 1969 agreement between Hydro-Quebec and Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Limited -- a company jointly owned by Newfoundland... More
  • A recently-enacted federal law will make it easier for hydroelectric project developers to secure a license for new hydroelectric facilities at existing non-powered dams.U.S. rivers are home to thousands of dams, most of which impound water but don't generate electricity. A 2013 report suggested only 3% of the nation's 80,000 dams were used to produce hydroelectric power. In an effort to facilitate the development of hydroelectric facilities at some of these non-powered dams, Congress recently enacted the America's Water Infrastructure... More
  • U.S. hydropower regulators have asked for volunteers interested in serving as panel members to assist in resolving disputes related to the scope of studies required for hydropower licensing.Under federal law, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is tasked with processing applications for licenses for most hydropower projects located in the U.S. To process any given application, the Commission typically uses one of three different licensing processes. Since 2005, the Commission's "Integrated Licensing Process" or ILP has been the default choice.Under the... More
  • Tide Mill Institute holds its 14th annual conference on November 10, 2018, in Beverly, Massachusetts. The symposium -- "Creating Tide Mills -- Then and Now", features educators, historians, environmentalists, archeologists and others interested in tidal power and its history.Tide Mill Institute exists to advance the appreciation of tide mill history and technology by encouraging research, by promoting appropriate re-uses of former tide mill sites, and by fostering communication among tide mill enthusiasts. Since 2005, the Institute has held... More
  • Northeast Energy and Commerce Association holds its 2018 Fuels Conference on September 27, 2018, in Marlborough, Massachusetts.NECA is New England's oldest and most broadly-based, non-profit trade association serving the competitive electric power industry.The program for NECA's 2018 Fuels Conference features diverse perspectives on fuels including natural gas (pipeline and LNG), biogas, oil, and other fuels, and in their uses such as electric power generation, heating, and transportation. Speakers will share their outlook for U.S. and New England natural... More
  • U.S. energy regulators have denied a petition by a Nevada electric utility that would have rejected a regulatory filing by a local power plant. The ruling preserves the power plant's ability to sell electricity to its host utility.The case centers on Saguaro Power Company, owner and operator of a 105 megawatt topping-cycle cogeneration facility in Henderson, Nevada. The plant sells electricity to Nevada Power Company under a power purchase agreement. Under that PPA, the energy and capacity rates paid by... More
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new rule addressing greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired electric utility generating units and power plants. EPA's proposed "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" is designed to replace the Clean Power Plan regulations adopted in 2015.On August 21, 2018, EPA announced the Affordable Clean Energy or ACE Rule. As described by the agency, the rule encompasses four main actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:Defining the “best system of emission reduction” (BSER) for existing... More
  • A dam under construction in Laos as part of a hydropower scheme has collapsed, causing flooding and damage.At issue is the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy project, a 410-megawatt hydroelectric power project under development for Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company (PNPC). PNPC is a joint venture among the government of Laos and construction and power companies from South Korea and Thailand. The project, whose construction costs are estimated at about $1 billion, involves the construction of three primary dams to form reservoirs. Construction of... More
  • U.S. energy regulators have issued an order directing the nation's electric reliability organization to strengthen its standards for the mandatory reporting of cyber security incidents.Federal law authorizes the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to regulate significant aspects of the bulk electric system's reliability. The Commission's jurisdiction over reliability covers the nation's electric reliability organization, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which is charged with developing and submitting mandatory reliability standards for the Commission for approval.Following increased concern over cybersecurity and hacking... More