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
- Oroville Dam evacuation and relicensing A California dam in the midst of a federal relicensing process has experienced flooding and storm-related damage, prompting the evacuation of over 180,000 people. Evacuation orders and a reservoir drawdown represent the most rapid responses to the Oroville Dam incident -- but future discussions of engineering, dam safety, and public policy are likely to continue after the emergency has been resolved.Oroville Dam is the tallest dam in the U.S.: a 770-foot high earthfill embankment dam on the Feather River in... More
- Teton County power outage in focus What happens when a storm damages utility transmission towers? Some consumers in the Teton Village area near Jackson, Wyoming, are facing multi-day power outages as local utility Lower Valley Energy scrambles to restore power safely.Lower Valley Energy is a cooperative serving about 29,000 electricity customers in wesstern Wyoming and southeast Idaho, including the Jackson area. Its 2015 financial statements describe about $126 million in net utility plant, and operating revenues of about $52 million. The Teton County outage started on the... More
- NH energy efficiency resource standard workshops Following the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission's adoption last summer of an energy efficiency resource standard, a regulatory board has scheduled a series of workshops to allow public input on how utilities serving the state plan to met the standard over the next three years.On August 2, 2016, the Commission issued its Order No. 25,932, approving a settlement agreement establishing an energy efficiency resource standard or EERS. The Commission described the EERS ... More
- Maine 2017 solar, energy legislative proposals The 128th Maine Legislature's first session kicked off last month in Augusta. Over 2,000 legislative requests or proposed bills were submitted for the 2017 session, most of which will eventually be "printed" or released to the public as bills or "Legislative Documents." Energy items on this session's docket are expected to include a variety of bills addressing solar energy. While most of these bills have yet to be printed, energy-related bills that have been printed so far include items related... More
- National park solar microgrid proposed The National Park Service has proposed a solar-powered microgrid to replace a power line in a remote area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If developed, the Mt. Sterling Sustainable Energy Project could serve as an example of microgrids as cost-effective alternatives to transmission or distribution lines.Solar panels on a campground facility inside Arches National Park, Utah.Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in a rugged area of North Carolina and Tennessee. Today, NPS radio equipment located at the Mt.... More
- FERC 2-year licensing pilot workshop The regulatory process for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing of hydropower projects can take many years and significant expense -- but can it be improved following a two-year pilot process ordered by Congress? After running a pilot process for one license application, the Commission has scheduled a workshop to discuss lessons learned from its pilot licensing process.Under the Federal Power Act, the Commission is responsible for licensing most non-federal hydropower development in the U.S. Concerned over the duration and expense... More
- Kitty Hawk NC offshore wind auction set U.S. plans to auction ocean sites off North Carolina for commercial offshore wind energy development advanced last week, as the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management scheduled a commercial lease sale for the sites for March 16, 2017. But will the Trump administration continue the Obama administration's offshore wind leasing program?Under federal law, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is charged with leasing sites on the Outer Continental Shelf for fossil fuel or renewable energy development. To date, BOEM has... More
- President Trump's America First Energy Plan With U.S. President Trump now in office, a look at his "America First Energy Plan" suggests potential directions for his administration.President Trump's energy strategy as posted on the White House website shortly after the inauguration describes energy as "an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy." The 7-paragraph document expresses the administration's commitment to policies that reduce consumer costs and "maximize the use of American resources."Some elements of the Trump plan aim to reverse policies... More
- FERC electric storage policy statement U.S. energy regulators have issued a policy statement addressing how electric storage resources may provide services at a mix of cost-based and market-based rates. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's January 19, 2017 policy statement on storage provides insight into how the Commission views its role in regulating the rates at which energy storage would be compensated -- but was accompanied by a dissenting view expressed by Commissioner LaFleur. The result is a mix of both greater certainty and continued debate.Electricity... More
- EPA FAQ on dam removal projects The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a document answering "Frequently Asked Questions" about the removal of obsolete dams. As noted by EPA, dams "provide important societal functions for drinking water supply, flood control, hydropower generation, and recreation." EPA estimates that the U.S. is home to between 2,000,000 and 2,500,000 dams -- but that between 75% and 90% of these dams "no longer serve a functional purpose." Given the expense of maintaining dams and their safety, and... More
- US, Canada grid security and resilience strategy The governments of the United States and Canada have released a joint strategy for ensuring the security and resilience of their electric grid. In recognition of the interconnected nature of the North American electric grid, the document, "Joint United States-Canada Electric Grid Security and Resilience Strategy," describes the nations' shared goals and objectives. An action plan released alongside the strategy presents U.S. steps and milestones toward achieving the strategy's desired outcomes.The joint strategy centers on a vision of "a secure... More
- ISO-NE winter electricity supply 2016-2017 New England should have sufficient electricity supplies to meet consumer demand this winter, according to regional power grid operator ISO New England, Inc. But because natural gas pipeline constraints could limit electricity production, the grid operator has implemented a Winter Reliability Program to help ensure supply meets demand.ISO-NE is the regional transmission organization responsible for most of New England's electric grid. In that role, it forecasts electricity demand, and operates markets to match up generation with demand.On December 5, 2016,... More
- NY considers ESCO reforms New York utility regulators have launched consideration of reforms to how retail electricity suppliers called energy service companies or ESCOs operate in that state. A December 2, 2016 notice issued by the New York Department of Public Service describes a history of "substantial overcharges and deceptive practices by the ESCO industry harming New York consumers," and establishes a process to "push ahead with reforms to ensure that ESCOs provide useful, value-added, economical services to New York consumers." New York's ESCO... More
- Maryland considers offshore wind applications Maryland moves closer to offshore wind development, as the state Public Service Commission reviews two applications for offshore wind projects.The Maryland Offshore Energy Act of 2013 contains a number of provisions that would benefit a “qualified offshore wind project” that is located on the outer continental shelf, between 10 and 30 miles off the Maryland coast, in an area that is designated for leasing by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management within the U.S. Department of... More
- FERC energy trading compliance white paper Enforcement staff at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have released a white paper presenting their view of effective practices to ensure energy trading complies with prohibitions against market manipulation. The November 2016 document, “Staff White Paper On Effective Energy Trading Compliance Practices,” provides examples of compliance practices that Office of Enforcement staff have found effective in detecting and deterring market manipulation – as well as examples of ineffective compliance practices. Staff’s identification of these best practices and pitfalls... More