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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

  • At its first open meeting following restoration of its quorum, today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved two final rules and issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing mandatory standards intended to support the resilience and reliability of the nation’s bulk electric system. One final rule, adopted by Order No. 836, approves revised reliability standards that clarify and consolidate existing requirements related to frequency control.  Through Order No. 836, the Commission approved Reliability Standards for Balancing Authority... More
  • The nine states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have announced consensus on proposed revisions to that program that would provide a further 30% reduction in the regional limit on emissions by 2030, relative to 2020 levels.  The proposed regional program changes are now available for stakeholder comment, after which each participating state will follow its own specific statutory and regulatory processes to propose updates to their own carbon dioxide budget trading programs.Nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states -- Connecticut,... More
  • When the First Regular Session of the 128th Maine State Legislature adjourned earlier this year, its committees reserved a list of bills for further debate in 2018.  A list of these carryover bills published by the legislative information office includes 16 bills carried over by the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology.  While new legislation may be proposed in the legislature's second session, the committee's work in 2018 will include action on these carried-over bills.Here's an excerpt from... More
  • The developed of a proposed C$15.75 billion Canadian oil pipeline has asked Canadian regulators to temporarily suspend their review of the project, following the regulator's decision to consider the project's indirect greenhouse gas emissions and other factors as part of its environmental review.At issue are the proposed Energy East Pipeline and the related Eastern Maineline Project, proposed by affiliates of TransCanada Corp. to transport "about 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the refineries... More
  • On August 29, 2017, a Canadian utility energized a new $142.5 million (CAD) undersea electric transmission system connecting Canada's Prince Edward Island to mainland New Brunswick. The Northumberland Strait Submarine Transmission System includes two 180-megawatt underwater cables, running 17 kilometers from Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick, to Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island.  They replace aging cables with a more limited transfer capability.  The project also includes new overhead transmission lines on land and an expanded substation. The cost was split by the federal... More
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has $6.6 million available for the latest round of funding under a program supporting projects adding hydroelectric power generating capabilities to existing dams and impoundments.  Applications for this new round of funding under section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 are due September 6, 2017.In 2005, Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  Among its many features, the law established a program to support the expansion of hydropower energy development... More
  • Federal hydropower regulators have issued an original license to an Ohio city to construct, operate, and maintain a 50-megawatt hydroelectric project at an existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lock and dam site.  If developed as licensed, the City of Wadsworth, Ohio's Robert C. Byrd Hydroelectric Project will join other projects focused on adding hydroelectric generation to existing dams.The Army Corps owns 21 locks and dams on the Ohio River, which it operates for commercial and recreational navigation.  These facilities... More
  • The owner of a dam and reservoir spanning the East Branch of the St. Croix River on the international boundary between the United States and Canada has applied to federal regulators for a ruling that the project will no longer be required to be licensed as a hydropower project if it transfers the dam to a Maine state agency.At issue is the Forest City Project. The water storage project currently operates under a license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory... More
  • The developer of a proposed Louisiana liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project has asked U.S. regulators for approval to begin a "pre-filing review" of its project.  Part of a boom of interest in LNG exports, the Fourchon LNG pre-filing request highlights the regulatory process -- and broader policy considerations -- associated with increased exports of natural gas from the U.S.Energy World (USA) Incorporated subsidiary Fourchon LNG LLC proposes to site, construct, own, and operate a LNG liquefaction facility with a... More
  • U.S. fisheries regulators have issued a final rule designating nearly 4,000 river miles in Atlantic watersheds as critical habitat for endangered and threatened Atlantic sturgeon.  The rule increases regulatory complexity and compliance obligations for some hydropower and nuclear power licensees, among others.The National Marine Fisheries Service, also known as NOAA Fisheries, is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce.  Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary... More
  • The U.S. nuclear energy enterprise is a key national security enabler, according to a report released this week by a new non-profit.  The Energy Futures Initiative's report describes the domestic nuclear energy industry as playing important roles in both electricity supply and "maintaining a robust supply chain (equipment, services, and skilled personnel) that is necessary for U.S. leadership in global nuclear nonproliferation policy."According to its website, Energy Futures Initiative, Inc. (EFI) is "a new not-for-profit dedicated to driving... More
  • Could a coalition of rural counties in Utah and a startup company develop a thorium-fueled nuclear reactor for electric power and other purposes?According to its website, the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition is currently comprised of seven counties in eastern Utah: Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, San Juan, Sevier, and Uintah.  The website describes the Coalition’s main roles and mission as "to identify revenue-producing infrastructure assets that will benefit the region" and "to plan infrastructure corridors, procure funding, permit, design,... More
  • A Vermont municipality has proposed installing hydroelectric generating facilities along a potable water pipeline -- and under streamlined federal procedures, regulators have made a preliminary determination that the Village of Waterbury's proposed project does not need to be licensed or exempted from licensing.Most new hydropower projects in the U.S. cannot be developed without approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 streamlined the process for certain "qualifying conduit hydropower facilities."  If a facility... More
  • Miles from the nearest road in the woods of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire sits a backcountry hydropower project.  Owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Zealand Falls Hydroelectric Project No. 14657 is licensed to generate 2.5 kilowatts of power, using Whitewall Brook on federal land within the White Mountain National Forest.  The project provides power to licensee Appalachian Mountain Club's Zealand Falls Hut, a year-round backcountry facility constructed in 1932 which provides overnight lodging for about... More
  • Massachusetts energy regulators are reviewing bids to supply clean energy from new sources -- including a combined offshore wind and energy storage project proposed by developer Deepwater Wind.Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind is the developer of America's first commercial offshore wind project, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm which began commercial operations in December 2016. Other projects in early-stage development by the company include the 90 MW South Fork Wind Farm serving Long Island and the 120 MW Skipjack... More