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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. ocean energy managers have leased a 122,405-acre site offshore North Carolina to a company for offshore wind development.  The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's lease to Avangrid Renewables, LLC will enable the company to study the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area -- and possibly to propose developing an offshore wind project on the site.On November 10, 2017, BOEM signed a lease agreement through which Avangrid Renewables, LLC will lease the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area offshore North Carolina. ... More
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff have released a report on cyber security, including recommendations to help users, owners, and operators of the bulk-power system assess their risk and compliance position.Federal law establishes a framework for regulating the reliability of the nation's major electricity grid, also known as the bulk electric system.  Acting under Section 215 of the Federal Power Act, the  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a set of Critical Infrastructure Protection or CIP Reliability Standards implemented by the... More
  • Bloom Energy Corporation, maker of fuel cell-based "Energy Servers," has petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a declaratory order that its facilities meet the Commission’s standards for cogeneration units and thus that those 5 megawatts or smaller are "Qualifying Facilities" under federal law.According to Bloom, its Energy Server Facilities employ solid oxide fuel cells that convert chemical energy directly into electricity using fuel and oxygen without combustion.  In Bloom's petition, the company says "each Bloom Server Facility uses innovative... More
  • Massachusetts utility regulators have opened an inquiry to investigate the eligibility of energy storage systems paired with net metering facilities to net meter and the qualification and bidding of certain net metering facilities in the Forward Capacity Market administered by ISO New England Inc.The existing Massachusetts statutes and regulations allow customers to "net meter," or to generate credits for excess electricity generated by an eligible net metering facility.  Massachusetts allows a customer may install... More
  • U.S. energy regulators have asked for public comment on a rule proposed by the Secretary of Energy that would require organized grid operators to pay certain electric generators for their grid reliability and resilience benefits.On September 28, 2017, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider a proposed rule on an expedited basis.  The proposed rule defines an "eligible grid reliability and resiliency resource" based on criteria including the ability to provide essential energy and... More
  • The Massachusetts Water Resources Agency has petitioned federal hydropower regulators to surrender its exemption for the Aqueduct Transfer Station Small Conduit Project, a conduit hydropower facility which has not generated power since 1995.MWRA is a Massachusetts public authority established by an act of the state legislature in 1984 to provide wholesale water and sewer services... More
  • Canadian pipeline operator TransCanada Corporation has announced a decision not to proceed with its Energy East oil pipeline and a related natural gas pipeline.In 2014, TransCanada affiliates applied to the National Energy Board of Canada for approvals relating to two proposed pipeline projects to transport "about 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the refineries of Eastern Canada and a marine terminal in New Brunswick" and to ensure natural gas supply to ... More
  • As Puerto Rico continues to grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, information on damage to the Guajataca Dam remains scarce, while reports suggest spillway repairs may be ongoing.Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico last month, bringing 150 mph winds and 20 inches of rain.  Damage to infrastructure was widespread, and the destruction of electricity and communications networks hindered efforts to assess the damage and move toward recovery.Early reports suggested that the Guajataca Dam had "failed".  On September 22,... More
  • U.S. electricity regulators have invited public comment on a draft rule proposed by the Secretary of Energy that would require some grid operators to buy electricity from certain generators at rates that allow the generators to recover their costs and a return on equity.  The Secretary has set the grid resiliency pricing rulemaking proceeding on a fast track -- but some energy industry associations have asked regulators to allow more time for public participation before finalizing "a proposed rule that... More
  • Federal energy regulators have terminated a proceeding opened last year seeking comment on the need for, and possible effects of, modifications to national reliability standards to address the cybersecurity of control centers used to monitor and control the bulk electric system.A 2015 cyber attack in Ukraine significantly disrupted Ukraine's electric grid, in what has been called "the first publicly acknowledged cyber incident to result in power outages."  According to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security bulletin, in that incident remote... More
  • A Virginia-based utility company has applied to federal regulators for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of a pumped hydroelectric storage facility in the coalfield region of Southwest Virginia. If built, Dominion Energy Services, Inc.'s Tazewell Hybrid Energy Center Project could use mine water sources for the initial fill and makeup water.  On September 6, 2017, Dominion Energy Services, Inc. filed an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a preliminary permit, pursuant to section 4(f) of... More
  • U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider a proposed rulemaking to ensure that "traditional baseload resources, such as coal and nuclear" are rewarded for their reliability and resilience attributes.  The proceeding before the Commission will be on a fast track, and would restructure organized wholesale electricity markets.Section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act authorizes the Secretary of Energy to propose rules, regulations, and statements of policy of general applicability... More
  • Hurricane Maria has hit Puerto Rico, damaging the island's electric grid and causing systemic power outages.  The storm made landfall on September 20 as a Category 4 hurricane with winds at 155 miles per hour.  Hurricane Maria's damage to power plants and transmission and distribution comes on top of damage from Hurricane Irma earlier this month -- and comes at a time when the government-owned utility company responsible for the island's electricity is functionally bankrupt.In remarks, President Trump described his... More
  • 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