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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

  • 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
  • Focusing on form over substance, North Carolina utility regulators have dismissed a hydroelectric generator's claims that it is entitled to sell the Yadkin River projects' hydroelectricity to local utilities at specified prices.Cube Yadkin Generation, LLC owns hydroelectric facilities located on the Yadkin River in North Carolina. The company acquired the former Alcoa Corp. dams in 2016. Prior to that purchase, Cube had some discussions with local utilities Duke Energy Progress, LLC and Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, regarding the sale of... More
  • Vermont utility regulators have opened an investigation to identify and eliminate barriers to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in that state, following a legislative call in the state's general transportation bill for an examination of electric vehicle charging issues.This spring, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law Act 158 (H.917) of the 2017-2018 Vermont legislative session. Section 25 of Act 158 requires the Vermont Public Utilities Commission to investigate and to prepare a written report concerning the charging of... More
  • U.S. ocean energy regulators have extended a deadline for public comment on a proposed path forward for offshore renewable energy leasing on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's "Proposed Path Forward for Future Offshore Renewable Energy Leasing on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf" lists factors the agency proposes to consider in identifying areas for possible future offshore wind leasing.BOEM is an agency of the Department of the Interior, charged with advancing the responsible... More
  • Lava erupting from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii has caused a nearby geothermal power plant to shut down. Puna Geothermal Venture is a geothermal energy conversion plant on the island of Hawaii. It brings steam and hot liquid from underground wells to the surface, where the steam is directed to a turbine generator to produce electricity. A second turbine uses the first turbine's exhaust steam to generate additional electricity. Under a contract, up to 38 megawatts of power... More
  • New England utility regulators have gathered in Maine for the 71st annual symposium of the New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners.NECPUC is a non-profit corporation which provides regional regulatory assistance on matters of common concern to public utilities commissions of the six New England states. Its board of directors is composed of public utilities commissioners from the six New England states. NECPUC meets regularly throughout the year and sponsors an annual symposium on regulatory issues.NECPUC holds its 71st annual symposium... More
  • The operator of New England's bulk electric grid projects that both energy usage and peak demand from the utility grid will decline slightly in the region over the 10-year period between 2018 and 2027, primarily due to the deployment of energy efficiency measures and behind-the-meter solar arrays.ISO New England Inc. is the regional transmission organization responsible for the electric grid and electricity markets across most of New England. On April 30, 2018, ISO-NE published its 2018-2027 Forecast Report of Capacity,... More
  • U.S. hydropower regulators have denied a request to extend the term of the country's first hydrokinetic project pilot license, instead holding that the original license's 10-year term should be enough time for the developer to complete testing and to decide whether to apply for a subsequent license.At issue is Verdant Power, LLC's  Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project No. 12611 (RITE Project). The 1,050-kilowatt hydrokinetic tidal project site is located in the East River near New York City. In 2012, the... More
  • Acadia National Park in coastal Maine has released a draft planning document presenting possible actions to address increasing visitor vehicle traffic. The park's Draft Transportation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement proposes to adopt a timed-entry reservation system for some parking lots and roads in the park. The issue raises questions about infrastructure in national parks, and how to balance competing interests in resource management.A coastal scene near Acadia National Park.According to the National Park Service, annual visitation to Acadia National... More
  • U.S. utility regulators have issued an order adopting a final rule reforming the procedures through which electric generators obtain interconnections to the utility grid. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Order No. 845 adopts a final rule which implements ten specific reforms designed to provide interconnection customers better information and more options, in the hopes that transmission providers will better be able to focus on interconnection requests that are likely to reach commercial operation.Generally speaking, generators need to interconnect to the... More
  • Maine environmental regulators have initiated a rulemaking, after receiving a citizen petition asking for rules to reduce Maine's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 8 percent per year. According to an April 25, 2018 announcement by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, on January 24 of this year the Department received a "Citizen Petition for Rulemaking to Require the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to Fulfill its Statutory, Constitutional, and Public Trust Obligations to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Along a... More
  • 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