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http://energypolicyupdate.blogspot.com/

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

  • International Trade Commission investigates Massachusetts renewable energy commitments, imports The U.S. International Trade Commission has opened an investigation into the potential economic effects of increased renewable energy commitments in New England and Massachusetts and the role of renewable electricity imports in meeting these commitments.  Section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. 1332, gives the U.S. International Trade Commission authority to conduct fact-finding investigations on international trade issues. Whether on its own initiative or by request of the President, the Senate Finance Committee, the House... More
  • FERC inquiry re virtualization cloud computing U.S. utility regulators have asked for public comment on the potential benefits and risks associated with the use of virtualization and cloud computing services in the operation of the nation’s bulk electric system.  On February 20, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry asking whether the Commission’s Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards allow for deployment of virtualization and cloud computing services and balance the innovations with security requirements.  As described by the Commission, "Virtualization is... More
  • FERC technical conference on reliability, inverter-based resources, and cybersecurity U.S. utility regulators have scheduled a technical conference to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System, in response to shifts in the nation's electric generation fleet away from large, central coal-fired power plants toward more distributed renewable resources. The meeting could inform future policy reforms, such as tighter reliability regulation of smaller-scale solar and wind facilities.  Section 1211 of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 amended the Federal Power Act to grant jurisdiction to the Federal... More
  • ISO-NE capacity auction yields record low price The latest annual auction for the New England electric forward capacity market cleared at the record low price of $2.00 per kilowatt-month, for commitments to provide capacity in the future capacity year from June 1, 2023 to May 31, 2024.  Regional transmission organization ISO New England Inc. operates the New England region's wholesale electricity markets, including separate markets for electric energy and capacity products. In the energy market, resources compete on a daily basis to provide power and are paid... More
  • Vermont solar update: mixed progress toward goals Vermont could still meet its target to source at least 20 percent of the state’s electricity from in-state solar by 2025 if the percentage growth rate from the last five years continues, according to a recent report, but uneven growth and a slowdown in new capacity installations since 2016 mean significantly more solar will be required to meet the target than has been installed to date.  In 2016, the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation issued its Vermont Solar Market Pathways report, described... More
  • EIA projects US energy-related CO2 emissions to decrease If no new laws or regulations are adopted, a federal report projects that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will decrease through the early 2030s, before increasing slightly to 4.9 billion metric tons in 2050, based on changes in the fuel mix for electricity generation and increasing activity in the industrial and transportation sectors.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration publishes an annual report on projections and possible scenarios. The most recent release, Annual Energy Outlook 2020 (AEO2020), includes a "reference case" which... More
  • Report: Maine must decarbonize transportation and heating to meet climate goals Maine will need to decarbonize its transportation and building heating sectors to meet newly adopted greenhouse gas emissions limitations, according to Efficiency Maine Trust's final report, Beneficial Electrification: Barriers and Opportunities in Maine.  In 2019, the Maine legislature enacted a series of laws significantly reshaping the state's electricity laws and climate policy, including a doubling of Maine's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to require 80% of electricity sold at retail to be backed by renewable attributes by 2030, expanded eligibility for net... More
  • FERC rejects waiver request re capacity and interconnection Federal electricity regulators have denied a distributed energy resource aggregator's request for a waiver of market rules to allow fourteen distributed energy resource projects to participate in New England's upcoming fourteenth Forward Capacity Auction. The case highlights tensions between state efforts to encourage distributed energy resources and limits on state jurisdiction over interconnection.  At issue was a request by Genbright LLC for a a one-time, limited waiver of Market Rule 1 of ISO New England Inc.’s Transmission, Markets and Services Tariff... More
  • FERC rules on Natural Gas Act eminent domain and sovereign immunity U.S. natural gas pipeline regulators have issued an order partially granting a pipeline company's request for a declaratory order interpreting the scope of eminent domain authority under the federal Natural Gas Act.  At issue is a petition by PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, seeking a declaratory order. In 2018, the Commission issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the PennEast Project, a 116-mile greenfield natural gas pipeline connecting the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania... More
  • New Jersey Energy Master Plan released New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has released a new Energy Master Plan for the Garden State, presenting strategies supportive of reaching 100 percent clean energy by 2050, along with an executive order requiring further climate change regulations.  On January 27, 2020, Governor Murphy released his Energy Master Plan. The Energy Master Plan defines 100 percent clean energy by 2050 as 100 percent carbon-neutral electricity generation and maximum electrification of the transportation and building sectors, which are the... More
  • ISO-NE says lower-emitting resources supply most regional electricity Nearly 99% of the electricity consumed in New England in 2019 came from natural-gas-fired generation, nuclear, other low- or no-emission sources, and imported electricity (mostly hydropower), according to the latest report from regional grid operator ISO New England Inc.  Regional transmission organization ISO-NE operates New England's wholesale electricity markets and manages the region's bulk electric system. According to the grid operator, "Over the past 20 years, New England’s wholesale electricity markets have attracted billions of... More
  • FERC approves NYISO Aggregation Participation Model U.S. utility regulators have approved a proposal by the operator of the New York electric grid to establish a new participation model for aggregations of distributed energy resources in the grid operator's markets. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval of the Aggregation Participation Model for the New York ISO could expand opportunities for small-scale solar projects and other distributed energy resources to participate in New York's wholesale markets, and represents a model for other regional transmission organizations to consider.  New York... More
  • US energy-related carbon emissions expected to decline through 2021 U.S. energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide will continue to decrease annually through 2021, according to the latest projection by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  EIA's most recent Short Term Energy Outlook projects that energy-related CO2 emissions will decrease by 2.0% in 2020, and by another 1.5% in 2021. For petroleum-related CO2 emissions, which are dominated by transportation uses as well as heating in New England, EIA projects no change for 2020, with a slight decrease in 2021. These projected declines build... More
  • Maine proposals for beneficial electrification of transportation pilot program Following legislation enacted in 2019, the Maine Public Utilities Commission is evaluating proposals for pilot projects to support the beneficial electrification of the transportation sector.  Last year, 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 Act defined beneficial electrification as "electrification of a technology that results in reduction in the use of a fossil fuel, including electrification... More
  • Transportation tops Maine greenhouse gas emissions Cars, trucks and other vehicles used for transportation were responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions in Maine in 2017, according to a report released by state environmental regulators this week. Maine's transportation sector has emitted more greenhouse gases than any other sector every year for at least two decades, according to state data, and is the only tracked sector whose greenhouse gas emissions have increased since 1990.  A 2003 state law established a series of greenhouse gas reduction goals... More

Firm Highlights

Publication

The Potential of the Blockchain for Asset Protection Planning

While many legal scholars focus on the challenges and complications seemingly inherent to blockchain and cryptocurrency, others look past the fear and see potential. In this article for Cumberland Law Review , Ian Huyett and Brian Quirk...

Event

2020 Employment Breakfast Series: Strengthening Your Company's Management of Accommodation Requests

For more than 25 years, Preti Flaherty's Employment Law Group has been keeping clients, business partners, and friends up to date on recent developments in employment law. Join us as we continue that tradition...

News

Preti Flaherty Welcomes Government Relations Liaison Andrew I. Roth-Wells to the Firm

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that Andrew I. Roth-Wells has joined the firm as a Government Relations Liaison. Andrew will help manage legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts for the firm’s Government Affairs Team...

Press Coverage

Bangor superintendent blocked BDN reporter on Twitter after critical news coverage

In an apparent violation of the First Amendment, Bangor schools superintendent Betsy Webb temporarily blocked a journalist on Twitter following a report that news of a student suicide was announced over the loudspeaker at...

Publication

WC Alert: Recent Developments from Maine's Workers' Compensation Board

Frank A. Graf, MD, Reappointed to Approved List of § 312 Examiners At the February 11 meeting of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board, Frank Graf, MD, was reappointed to the list of approved § 312...

News

David B. Van Slyke Named Preti Flaherty Managing Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that, in a unanimous vote, the firm’s partnership has elected attorney David B. Van Slyke as its incoming Managing Partner. David is one of the preeminent environmental lawyers...

Event

2020 Employment Law Series: A Legislative Update for HR Professionals

For more than 25 years, Preti Flaherty's Employment Law Group has been keeping clients, business partners, and friends up to date on recent developments in employment law. Join us as we continue that tradition...

News

Preti Flaherty Attorney Benjamin S. Piper Promoted to Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that the firm’s partnership has named attorney Benjamin S. Piper as a partner. Ben is a member of the firm's Environmental, Litigation, and Media Law Practice Groups and works...

Publication

Litigation and Arbitration Venue Provisions in Construction Contracts: When and How They Work

Venue and choice-of-law provisions are fairly standard in construction contacts, but can be overlooked due to their location within a contract. When drafted effectively, these provisions can help limit uncertainty about where and how...

Press Coverage

Maine State Police May Be Spying on You

Police and governments are increasingly turning to new tracking and monitoring methods in their efforts to prevent and record evidence of crimes. A Portland Press Herald investigation examines these expanding law enforcement abilities and the...