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

  • Newly enacted Maine legislation establishes the Maine Climate Council to advise the Governor and state Legislature on ways to mitigate the causes of, prepare for and adapt to the consequences of climate change, and calls for significant reductions in the state's overall greenhouse gas emissions.On June 26, 2019, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed into law An Act to Promote Clean Energy Jobs and To Establish the Maine Climate Council. One set of provisions in the new law establishes a requirement... More
  • The operator of New England's electricity system has announced an upcoming competitive solicitation for transmission proposals to address the expected retirement of a large power plant outside Boston. The solicitation would be significant, as the region's first competitive transmission procurement since a 2011 order by federal regulators created a competitive selection process for certain transmission upgrades.In 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its landmark Order No. 1000, reforming how public utilities plan and pay for transmission upgrades. In issuing... More
  • Vermont utility regulators have recommended steps Vermont could take to accelerate the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in the state, including creating state incentives for EV purchases as well as encouraging electric utilities to adopt new rate structures.Like most other states, Vermont's transportation sector contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector of the state's economy. Due in large part to emissions from cars and trucks powered by fossil fuels, the transportation sector is responsible for about 47% of... More
  • After receiving a request from a developer of offshore electricity transmission lines for a right-of-way in ocean waters offshore New York and New Jersey, U.S. ocean energy regulators have asked whether any other developers are interested in the same area.On April 30, 2018, Anbaric Development Partners, LLC (ADP) applied to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for a right-of-way grant for a proposed project called the New York/New Jersey Ocean Grid. As envisioned by ADP, the project would... More
  • Petroleum was the largest source of energy consumed in the United States in 2018, as it has been every year since it surpassed coal in 1950.According to data maintained by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2018 the U.S. used 101 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of overall energy -- for transportation, heating, electric power generation, and all other uses. This was a record high level of overall energy consumption.Of this amount, about 81 quadrillion Btu (about 80% of the... More
  • Renewable resources generated more electricity than coal did in the United States in April 2019, for the first time in history, according on federal data.The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that in April 2019, renewable sources including utility-scale hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass provided 23% of total domestic electricity generation. By comparison, coal provided 20%. This represents a reversal of over 100 years of history during which more U.S. electricity generation came from coal than from renewable resources.Source: U.S.... More
  • 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