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
- Feds predict winter oil heating cost increase; Maine pursues heat pumps U.S. households that rely primarily on heating oil for heating will spend more this winter on heating compared to last winter, according to a federal projection.The U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2023 Winter Fuels Outlook supplement to its October 2023 Short-Term Energy Outlook includes heating data, projections, and analysis. Based on NOAA data and a 30-year weather trend, EIA projects that this winter will be colder than last winter, driving an increase in demand for heating fuels and energy. For households that... More
- Solar, wind, and natural gas power plant construction costs declined in 2021 Construction costs decreased for several types of new power plants on average in 2021, according to federal data. The Energy Information Administration reports that compared to 2020, average construction costs for natural gas-fired generators fell by 18% in 2021, with average construction costs for solar and wind systems declining by 6% and 5% respectively.Source: U.S. EIA Average U.S. solar project construction costs in 2021 were $1,561 per kilowatt. Crystalline silicon tracking systems, which accounted for 56% of the nation's utility-scale solar capacity... More
- Over 2 million light-duty EVs registered in the US in 2021 The number of light-duty electric vehicles registered in the U.S. reached 2.13 million in 2021, according to federal data. The Energy Information Administration reports a "sharp increase from the less than 100,000 EVs on the roads in 2012". The lagging nature of this data set and continued growth in EV adoption mean that an even greater number of EVs are now registered in the U.S. EIA's annual EV registration data is segmented into two categories: battery-electric vehicles (without any internal combustion... More
- US added record amounts of small solar power in 2022 A recordbreaking amount of small-scale solar electric generating capacity was added to the U.S. grid in 2022, as the nation added more distributed solar than in any prior year according to federal energy data. The U.S. Energy Information Administration tracks the nation's portfolio of electric generation resources. EIA considers solar-power systems with one megawatt (MW) of capacity or less to be "small-scale solar", also called distributed solar or rooftop solar.According to EIA, U.S. small-scale solar capacity has grown consistently year-over-year since... More
- Natural gas pricing drives New England's electricity costs Two factors are the main drivers of wholesale electricity prices in New England, according to the region's grid operator: the cost of natural gas and other fuels used to generate electricity, and the level of consumer demand for power.Fuel costs are a key component of the cost of electricity, and natural gas is the "predominant fuel in New England", used to generate 52% of the power produced in 2022 by New England’s power plants. According to ISO New England Inc.,... More
- U.S.-Canada energy trade reached record-high value in 2022 Energy trade between the United States and Canada reached record high levels of value in 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.EIA tracks and reports statistics concerning energy matters, including volumes and values of international trade. According to EIA, high energy prices contributed to a total of $190 billion in energy trade between the U.S. and Canada in 2022, when adjusted for inflation.EIA tracks four main types of energy commodity transacted between the U.S. and Canada: crude oil, other... More
- Maine considers distributed generation interconnection reforms The Maine legislature has enacted a law designed to reform the state's procedures for interconnecting solar projects and other forms of distributed generation resources to the electric grid. The law, An Act to Provide Maine Ratepayers with Equitable Access to Interconnection of Distributed Generation Resources, requires the Public Utilities Commission to appoint an "interconnection ombudsman". The law also requires the PUC to align its interconnection rules with best practices and to prioritize interconnection of solar resources and energy storage systems... More
- Maine enacts law to develop clean energy on PFAS-contaminated lands The Maine legislature has taken a significant step to promote the economic reuse of agricultural land contaminated by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through the development of renewable energy projects. A newly enacted law will require state regulators to solicit proposals for renewable energy projects, with a primary preference given to projects located on PFAS-contaminated agricultural land. The law could help Maine address challenges arising from farmland contamination with PFAS, while promoting renewable energy development. Importantly, the law represents a new... More
- Maine enacts Beneficial Electrification Policy Act The Maine legislature has enacted a law promoting beneficial electrification. The Beneficial Electrification Policy Act, chapter 328 of the Public Laws of 2023, gives Maine new tools to reduce carbon emissions from the state's heating, transportation, and other sectors, by promoting electrification through heat pumps, electric vehicles, and other measures. Maine law requires the state to achieve specified reductions in its statewide net and gross annual greenhouse gas emissions over time. Gross annual emissions must drop to at least 45% below... More
- New England power plant air emissions increased in 2021 New England's power plants collectively emitted greater amounts of key air emissions in 2021 than in the year before, according to a report by the region's electric grid operator. Factors included the weather, decreases in power imported from outside the region, and increased reliance on coal and oil-fired generation.The 2021 ISO New England Electric Generator Air Emissions Report provides "a comprehensive analysis of New England’s native electric generator air emissions (nitrogen oxides [NOX], sulfur dioxide [SO2], and carbon dioxide [CO2]), along... More
- New England electric demand projected to grow by electrifying heating and transportation The operator of New England's electricity grid projects that demand for power will increase by 23% over the next 10 years "due to accelerating electrification of the heating and transportation sectors." State and federal policymakers are promoting "beneficial electrification", the replacement of carbon-emitting fossil fuel uses with lower-carbon-intensity electricity as a power source. The trend has potential to significantly decarbonize the region's transportation and heating sectors, which collectively emit many times more greenhouse gases than the region's electric power sector.ISO... More
- Quack: the New England solar duck curve The New England wholesale electricity grid set a new record for low demand on Sunday, April 9, 2023, according to grid operator ISO New England. Moderate temperatures and the Easter holiday contributed to setting a record low demand of 6,814 megawatts, as did significant electrical production from behind-the-meter solar resources on the sunny afternoon. The result is the "duck curve" familiar from California and other regions with increasing amounts of behind-the-meter solar, a phenomenon now increasing in both depth and... More
- Coal declined, gas and renewables grew in 2022 U.S. electricity generation resource portfolios continued to shift in 2022, with natural gas and renewables increasing their shares of total electric power generation, as coal's share continued to decline, according to data released by federal energy regulators.The U.S. Energy Information Administration tracks national electric power generation, among other energy metrics. According to EIA, in 2022 the U.S. electric power sector produced 4,090 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electric power. The greatest fraction of this power came from natural gas, whose contribution... More
- US retail electric choice holds steady, per EIA Over a quarter of eligible residential electricity consumers participated in their state’s retail choice program in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. At the national level, participation in state retail choice programs has remained stable from 2019 to 2021, at about 26% of eligible U.S. customers participated in their state’s retail choice program, or 13.2 million U.S. residential electric customers. How consumers buy electricity at retail is generally a matter of state law. Under the traditional system of vertically... More
- New England EV growth predicted by electric grid operator New England is poised for significant growth in electric vehicle (EV) use through 2030, according to a draft forecast by the region's electric grid operator. According to the draft ISO New England Inc. Load Forecast Committee 2023 CELT Transportation Electrification Adoption Forecast released in February 2023, various federal and state policies incentives promote EV adoption, as do economic and environmental concerns, though their impacts on EV adoption in New England remain uncertain. For example:The federal Inflation Reduction Act creates tiered incentives for... More