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Energy Policy Update Blog

Energy powers society; society's choices shape energy policy. This blog is about our energy resources and the choices they present for society.

Recent Blog Posts

  • A Massachusetts state energy office has issued a report finding that Massachusetts has the potential to develop for 600 MW of energy storage by 2025, which could lower costs, reduce carbon emissions, and improve grid reliability. Legislation earlier this year authorized the creation of an energy storage procurement target; the Department of Energy Resource’s State of Charge report could lead to further policy changes supportive of storage. While electricity has traditionally been challenging to store efficiently, advanced energy storage... More
  • A New York state energy office has released its Blueprint for the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan.The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, known as NYSERDA, promotes energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.  It mission is to advance innovative energy solutions in ways that improve New York's economy and environment.New York recently adopted a Clean Energy Standard, which will require that 50% of New York State’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2030. ... More
  • As the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission prepares for an auction of the state's largest utility’s generating assets, its auction advisor J.P. Morgan has recommended a broad public auction of the assets, using a two phase structure. At issue are the generation facilities owned by Public Service Company of New Hampshire d/b/a Eversource Energy (Eversource).  Following a legislative finding that divestiture is in the public interest at the present time, on July 1, 2016, the Commission issued Order No.... More
  • U.S. hydropower regulators have terminated an exemption from licensing for a small conduit hydroelectric facility proposed for development in Hawaii.The case concerns the 5.3-megawatt Puu Lua Hydropower Project No. 14069.  Proposed  by Konohiki Hydro Power, LLC, the project would have been located on the Kōkeʻe Ditch Irrigation System on state-owned land on the island of Kauai.  As authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its 2012 order granting the Puu Lua project an exemption from the licensing requirements of... More
  • The U.S. has formally ratified the global climate change agreement reached in Paris last year, as has China.  This moves the Paris climate agreement closer to legal effectiveness -- but more nations must accept the pact before it can enter into force.At issue is the Paris Agreement, an agreement brokered at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  In December 2015, over 190 countries meeting under UNFCCC adopted the Paris Agreement... More
  • U.S. executive branch agencies have released an updated report presenting a national strategy to facilitate the domestic development of offshore wind energy.  According to the administration, the strategy could enable 86 gigawatts of U.S. offshore wind by 2050.The new strategy document, "National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States", was prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Energy Technologies Office and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. It builds on... More
  • U.S. energy regulators have invited comments on two issues related to the implementation of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA): its so-called "one-mile rule," and minimum standards for PURPA-purchase contracts.  This opportunity for comment follows a technical conference held earlier this summer.Congress enacted PURPA to encourage domestic cogeneration and renewable energy production, among other aims.  PURPA established a new class of generating facilities called qualifying facilities (QFs), and gave QFs special rate and regulatory treatment.  Under... More
  • Acting under a 2014 law, this summer Vermont utility regulators established a revised net-metering program to take effect in 2017. In a pair of orders, the Vermont Public Service Board prospectively changed the rules governing net metering of solar panels and other distributed generation facilities.  The result is a revision of Vermont's net metering program.Vermont defines what it calls “net-metering” as “the process of measuring the difference between the electricity supplied to a utility customer and the electricity supplied by... More
  • Regional electric grid operator ISO New England Inc. has released a report examining the economic impacts of adding significant offshore wind energy into the mainland grid.  Overall, the results project reductions in production costs, energy expense, CO2 emissions, average wholesale electricity prices, and congestion on key regional transmission interfaces, as offshore wind is added to the grid portfolio.  The study also suggests the scale of revenues available to the offshore wind industry from this scale of development.The report in question... More
  • Can a hydropower developer obtain a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a project to be located at a federal dam, where the federal entity owning the dam says it opposes the project?  In a series of recent decisions, the Commission has denied preliminary permits in these circumstances, saying there is no purpose in issuing a preliminary permit.U.S. federal law generally encourages the development of hydropower at existing dams.  Under sections 4(e) and 4(f) of the Federal... More
  • President Obama has established the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine.  His presidential proclamation establishing the monument under federal law cites climate change in two ways: both as an object of study enabled by the monument's protection, and as a challenge against which the monument lands may have special resilience.Federal law gives the President discretion and authority to establish national monuments, or to "declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of... More
  • Maine utility Emera Maine and Swan's Island Electric Cooperative have asked the Maine Public Utilities Commission for approval of Emera Maine's proposed acquisition of the island cooperative.  The electric companies say reducing electric rates for consumers is the motivation.Swan's Island Electric Cooperative is a member-owned rural electric cooperative incorporated in 1949.  The cooperative provides electric service to approximately 560 meters in the island communities of Swan's Island and Frenchboro.  It receives electricity from the mainland Emera Maine... More
  • As winter approaches, the operator of New England's wholesale electricity markets is preparing to run another seasonal Winter Reliability Program to address operational concerns related to fuel adequacy.Since the winter of 2013-2014, ISO New England Inc. has operated a seasonal program to address winter fuel security and power system reliability concerns, relating largely to natural gas pipeline constraints.  After two initial program years, last fall the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a three-year plan for ISO-NE's Winter Reliability Program.That program,... More
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed leasing federal ocean space offshore North Carolina for commercial offshore wind development.  On August 12, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a proposed lease sale for the 122,405-acre Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area.  The proposal could lead to leasing of sites offshore North Carolina for one or more marine renewable energy projects.The path to federal leasing of commercial wind development sites offshore North Carolina began in 2012, when the Bureau... More
  • Danish fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has acquired Offshore MW LLC, the holder of an offshore wind energy lease issued by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management over an area south of Massachusetts.Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners describes itself as a fund management company founded in 2012. On August 25, 2016, CIP announced that on behalf of its fund Copenhagen Infrastructure II it had acquired 100% of Offshore MW LLC.Acquired company Offshore MW LLC is developing the Vineyard Wind... More