Energy Policy Update

A blog about energy resources, energy policy, and their effects on society and the environment. From fossil fuels to renewable energy, electricity to natural gas and oil, traditional technologies to innovations, this blog presents an unbiased look at the past, present, and future of energy.

This blog site is published by and reflects the personal views of Todd Griset, in his individual capacity. It does not necessarily represent the views of his law firm or clients, and is not sponsored or endorsed by them. The purpose of this blog site is to assist in dissemination of information about energy policy and related issues, but no representation is made about the accuracy of the information. The information contained in this blog site is provided only as general information for education purposes, and blog topics may or may not be updated subsequent to their initial posting.

By using this blog site you understand that this information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to constitute legal advice. This blog site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. This blog site is not intended to be advertising and Todd Griset does not wish to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this blog site in a state where this blog site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Maine PUC opens net metering inquiry Maine is approaching or has passed a net metering milestone, as state utility regulators have opened an inquiry triggered by a statute calling for an evaluation when the total amount of generation capacity involved in net energy billing in Maine reaches 10% of the state's transmission and distribution utilities' total maximum electric load.  In 2019, the Maine state legislature enacted a law that substantially reformed Maine's net energy billing (NEB) programs. Major changes included allowing larger projects to participate (less than... More
  • Crypto miner seeks to export US electricity for Canadian servers In what has been called "a maiden effort by an energy-hungry cryptocurrency-mining industry to import electricity from the United States to Canada to meet its significant power demands", a Canadian company has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for authority to export power from the U.S. into Canada to power blockchain-related computer servers -- but a nonprofit advocacy group has warned that federal approval of this "first-ever application to export power by a cryptocurrency miner" may result in a... More
  • FERC cybersecurity incentives staff white paper U.S. electricity regulatory staff have issued a “white paper” report discussing a potential new framework for providing transmission incentives to utilities for cybersecurity investments, under federal law. According to the Cybersecurity Incentives Policy White Paper issued by the staff of the Federal Regulatory Commission on June 18, 2020, existing transmission incentives and Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards are sufficient to maintain an adequate level of reliability – but staff suggests that additional “transmission incentives to counter the evolving and... More
  • FERC sets carbon pricing and offshore wind tech conferences U.S. federal electricity regulators have scheduled technical conferences for this autumn to discuss issues related to two major policy initiatives: carbon pricing in organized wholesale electricity markets, and offshore wind integration in regional transmission organizations and independent system operators (RTOs/ISOs). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's scheduling of two technical conferences on these topics signals its interest in exploring the interplay between state energy and environmental policies and federally jurisdictional markets.  One technical conference regarding Carbon Pricing in Organized Wholesale Electricity Markets... More
  • Maine EV utility make ready pilot tariff filed Central Maine Power Company has requested that the Maine Public Utilities Commission approve terms and conditions for a new "Electric Vehicle Charging Station Make Ready Pilot Program", as part of a utility proposal selected by the Commission for inclusion in a beneficial electrification pilot program.  In 2019, the Maine State Legislature enacted An Act To Support Electrification of Certain Technologies for the Benefit of Maine Consumers and Utility Systems and the Environment, P.L. 2019, ch. 365. The law... More
  • US consumed more renewables than coal in 2019 United States consumers used more energy from renewable sources than from coal in 2019, the first time that national renewable energy use has exceeded coal since at least 1885, according to recently released federal data. Continued significant decreases in coal consumption, combined with increases in renewable energy consumption, largely explain the phenomenon.   The U.S. Energy Information Administration tracks the domestic production and consumption of energy resources. According to EIA, wood dominated historic energy use until the mid-1800s; by the 1880s,... More
  • New England winter electricity costs decreased New England's total estimated wholesale market cost of electricity in winter 2020 was 32% lower than during the previous winter, according to the ISO New England Internal Market Monitor, largely due to lower costs for electric energy and capacity and low natural gas prices. According to a recent report, one effect was that oil-fired generators in New England were "uneconomic, on average, every day during Winter 2020."  On May 4, 2020, ISO New England’s Internal Market Monitor released its Winter... More
  • Maine comments on international dam jurisdiction The State of Maine has sponsored a study supporting its position that federal regulators can relinquish jurisdiction over a dam spanning the St. Croix River and the U.S.-Canada border, based on the argument that the Forest City Dam can be operated such that it makes only an insignificant contribution to downstream hydropower generation.  At issue is the Forest City Dam, which is part of a hydropower project licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as Project No. 2660. Because the dam... More
  • FERC schedules COVID impact technical conference U.S. energy regulators have scheduled a two-day virtual technical conference "to consider the ongoing, serious impacts that the emergency conditions caused by COVID-19 are having on various segments of the United States’ energy industry."  On May 20, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Technical Conference in Docket AD20-17-000, announcing that the Commission will convene a Commissioner-led technical conference on July 8 and 9, to "serve as a public forum for the Commission and energy stakeholders to discuss... More
  • Maine sets FY2021 electric efficiency procurement cap at about $49 million Maine utility regulators have set the upper limit of possible ratepayer funding for electric efficiency resources under the state's energy efficiency procurement program, at approximately $49 million for fiscal year 2021. These amounts are in addition to other energy efficiency costs, such as for greenhouse gas emission credits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or the costs of compliance with other Maine efficiency programs. The Public Utilities Commission's establishment of the FY 2021 electric efficiency procurement cap is one step... More
  • New England behind-the-meter solar sets record Behind-the-meter solar panels in New England recently set a new record for generating electricity earlier this month, according to the region's grid operator.  Regional transmission organization ISO New England tracks the generating resources connected to the New England electric grid. According to ISO-NE, "Solar power systems are rapidly being installed across the six states of New England and noticeably reducing the electricity drawn from the regional power system."  All solar photovoltaic projects use sunlight to generate electricity, but beyond this superficial... More
  • ISO-NE projects EV, heat pump load growth New England's annual use of electricity and peak demand will increase slightly over the next 10 years, according to the latest forecast issued by the operator of the region's electric grid. In its 2020-2029 Forecast Report of Capacity, Energy, Loads, and Transmission or CELT Report, grid operator ISO New England Inc. cites the additional energy and loads resulting from the new electrification forecast for beneficial electrification of electric vehicles (EVs) and air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) as the primary drivers of... More
  • Section 45Q carbon capture tax credits and EPA reporting Over $893 million in U.S. federal tax credits claimed for carbon capture and sequestration between 2010 and 2019 were claimed by taxpayers who failed to report sequestration activities to the Environmental Protection Agency, according to an investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department. The findings could lead to changes in how IRS administers and enforces its tax credit programs, and could also have implications for the enactment of future tax credits.  At issue is the federal tax credit under Section 45Q of... More
  • Maine Public Interest Payphone program A small Maine town has petitioned the Maine Public Utilities Commission for approval to remove a "public interest phone" that was installed at the local volunteer fire department under a state program supporting telecommunications in rural and remote areas. According to the petition filed by the Town of Reed Plantation, a town of less than 200 people located in Maine's northernmost county (Aroostook), reasons for removing the phone include its infrequent use in "this day of cell phones", confusion over... More
  • Maine PUC examines pandemic effect on utility customers The Maine Public Utilities Commission has opened an inquiry into the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on customers’ ability to pay their bills from transmission-and-distribution utilities and natural-gas local distribution companies, as well as any newly available federal resources to help customers manage their utility payments or to assist the utilities themselves with meeting their ongoing obligations.  On April 28, 2020, the Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry in Docket No. 2020-00136, a new docket opened to house the inquiry. The... More