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

  • On June 19, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized its Affordable Clean Energy rule, designed as a replacement for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.The rule, also known as the ACE rule, gives states 3 years to submit plans to limit carbon dioxide emissions from their coal-fired power plants, and sets guidelines for states to use when developing these plans. It identifies heat rate improvements at individual facilities as the best system of emission reduction (BSER)... More
  • Maine utility regulators have opened an inquiry to examine issues for agricultural fairs, seasonal festivals, and other electricity customers that have seasonal, limited-duration, concentrated load profiles. The proceeding follows recently enacted legislation calling for support for agricultural fairs, who under utility rates pay significant charges for electricity year-round despite only consuming power seasonally.During its 2019 session, the Maine state legislature enacted An Act to Address Electricity Costs of Agricultural Fairs, P.L. 2019, c. 169. Section 1 of the Act directs... More
  • New Jersey has adopted regulations restricting the emission of carbon dioxide from electricity-generating power plants, allowing the state to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative effective January 1, 2020.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... More
  • Can you build a hydroelectric project in a federally designated wilderness area? No, except where authorized by the President, according to federal law and a recent ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.Under federal law, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has jurisdiction over the construction, operation and maintenance of most hydropower projects in the U.S. On May 3, 2019, Premium Energy Holdings, LLC applied to the Commission for a preliminary permit  to study the feasibility of the proposed 1,200- to... More
  • A panel of federal energy regulators testified yesterday before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy. In written testimony and oral remarks, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee and Commissioners Cheryl A. LaFleur, Richard Glick, and Bernard L. McNamee addressed the Commission's work and priorities.Chairman Chatterjee's testimony focused on three issues: integrating storage resources into wholesale electric markets, protecting the bulk power system against cyber and physical threats, and reforming the Commission's regulations under the Public... More
  • U.S. hydropower regulators have issued a new license for a large pumped storage project in Michigan.On June 6, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new license to utilities Consumers Energy Company and DTE Electric Company to continue operation and maintenance of the Ludington Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project. The project was originally licensed by the Federal Power Commission on July 30, 1969, for a fifty-year term running through June 30, 2019. The new license follows a 2017 settlement... More
  • As part of an ongoing investigation into the modernization of New Hampshire's electric grid, state utility regulators have established the next steps in a stakeholder process for developing the framework for electric distribution utility integrated distribution system plans.In 2015, as required by state legislation, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission opened an investigation into electric grid modernization. The Commission defined grid modernization as "a broad topic that encompasses many elements, including replacement of aging infrastructure, outage management, the integration of... More
  • New England's wholesale electricity markets operated at a total cost of $12.1 billion in 2018, an increase of about 32% over 2017, according to a recent report by the regional grid operator.On May 23, 2019, the Internal Market Monitor for regional transmission organization ISO New England Inc. issued a report on the state of competition in the wholesale electricity markets operated by ISO-NE, covering the 2018 calendar year. According to that report, "Overall, the ISO New England capacity, energy, and... More
  • The electric distribution companies of Massachusetts, in coordination with state Department of Energy Resources, have issued a second request for proposals for long-term contracts for offshore wind energy projects as required by state law.Under Section 83C of Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008, as amended by chapter 188 of the Acts of 2016, An Act to Promote Energy Diversity, Massachusetts electric distribution companies are required to jointly procure significant amounts of energy from offshore wind projects. A first round... More
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has approved additional exports of domestically produced natural gas from a liquefied natural gas terminal in Texas, describing the increased export capacity as "critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world," and praising "an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world."In a May 28, 2019 press release, the Department of Energy announced its approval of increased exports from the Freeport LNG Terminal located on Quintana Island,... More
  • Massachusetts utility regulators have approved a proposed timetable and method for soliciting a second round of long-term contracts for offshore wind energy generation.Section 83C of the Green Communities Act requires Massachusetts electric distribution companies to jointly propose a timetable and method for the solicitation and execution of long-term contracts, subject to review and approval by the Department of Public Utilities. As it has been amended, Section 83C calls for multiple procurement rounds, to result in cost effective ... More
  • Carbon dioxide emissions from New England's electric power generators continued to decline in 2017, according to a recent report from the region's grid operator.According to ISO New England Inc., regional emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide all declined in 2017 compared to the previous year, due largely to a decline in the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity. For carbon dioxide, the report shows that the New England system emitted 34,969 short kilotons in 2017, a... More
  • On May 16, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order generally affirming an earlier order which established reforms to remove barriers to the participation of electric storage resources in certain organized wholesale markets. The Commission's Order No. 841-A denied various requests for rehearing of last year's Order No. 841.In 2018's Order No. 841, the Commission found that existing rules for electricity markets operated by regional transmission organizations and independent system operators were unjust and unreasonable in light of... More
  • Ending a decade-long practice of issuing Notices of Alleged Violations in early stages of enforcement investigations, this week the Federal Energy Regulatory rescinded its 2009 Order Authorizing Secretary to Issue Staff’s Preliminary Notice of Violations.Historically, the Commission generally did not issue any public notice of its investigations or targets until an investigation was either resolved through settlement or escalated through a Commission order to show cause. In 2009, the Commission adopted a policy of issuing Notices of Alleged Violations at... More
  • Last month federal regulators issued an order that could facilitate the development of small-scale distributed solar projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's April 18, 2019 order granting certain waivers to residential solar developer Sunrun, Inc. could open the door to reduced administrative burdens for developers of clustered residential-scale solar projects.Under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA), certain electrical generators can be certified as "qualifying facilities" or QFs if they meet defined standards. QFs can avail themselves... More