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

  • FERC Order 1920 reforms electric transmission planning US electricity regulators have issued a major order addressing the nation's policy on regional planning of the electric transmission grid. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission describes its Order No. 1920 as "the first time in more than a decade that FERC has addressed regional transmission policy – and the first time the Commission has ever squarely addressed the need for long-term transmission planning."FERC adopted Order No. 1920 at its May 13, 2024 Open Meeting, by a vote of 2-1. Captioned "Building for... More
  • New England electric load to grow, grid operator says Electricity consumption in New England will increase by about 17 percent over the next ten years, according to the regional grid operator, mostly due to the electrification of heating and transportation.ISO New England tracks and projects power generation as well as consumer demand. Its 2024-2033 Forecast Report of Capacity, Energy, Loads, and Transmission (CELT Report) provides a ten-year look at projected power system characteristics. According to the grid operator, 2024 represents an inflection point in New England's electricity use, as the regional trend... More
  • US proposes Gulf of Maine offshore wind site auction The U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed the first offshore wind energy auction in the Gulf of Maine. The process has potential to advance the development of large-scale offshore wind projects in New England.BOEM's Proposed Sale Notice for ATLW-11 appeared in the Federal Register on May 1, 2024. According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the proposed "Atlantic Wind Lease Sale 11 (ATLW-11)" would cover about one million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.... More
  • US announces offshore wind leasing schedule through 2028, finalizes Gulf of Maine area The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced a schedule for up to 12 potential offshore wind energy lease sales through 2028, in Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, and territorial waters.According to Interior, the new offshore wind leasing plan features the following schedule:2024 Central Atlantic, Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, and Oregon 2025 Gulf of Mexico 2026 Central Atlantic 2027 Gulf of Mexico and New York Bight 2028 California, a U.S. Territory, Gulf of Maine, and Hawaii The Bureau... More
  • Bourne tidal hydrokinetic project obtains FERC pilot project license U.S. hydropower regulators have issued a pilot project license to the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative of New England (MRECo) for its proposed Bourne tidal hydrokinetic energy project to be located on the Cape Cod Canal in Massachusetts.MRECo describes itself as a nonprofit corporation that educates and involves all stakeholders (Academic, industry, governmental/regulatory, and public interest groups) to promote the sustainable development of renewable energy in New England ocean waters.In 2023, MRECo applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision for an... More
  • Solar power and the Great American Eclipse of 2024 A total solar eclipse traversed North America on April 8, 2024, on a path from Mexico, across the U.S. from Dallas to northern New England, and into Canada. No total eclipse has covered such a large extent of the U.S. in recent years (a 2017 eclipse was the first in the U.S. in 26 years); meanwhile, an increasing amount of solar photovoltaic power plants have been built. The "Great North American Eclipse" of 2024 thus provided an opportunity to examine... More
  • New England must balance multiple objectives, says grid operator New England must balance multiple objectives as it navigates the clean energy transition, according to the operator of the region's electric grid and wholesale electricity markets.ISO New England, Inc. is the regional transmission organization serving all of New England except northern Maine. ISO-NE administers the regional electric transmission system and wholesale markets for electricity. The region must increasingly balance multiple objectives in light of state policies promoting renewable energy and decarbonization, according to recent remarks by ISO-NE President and Chief Executive... More
  • ISO-NE 2024 Regional Electricity Outlook ISO New England Inc., the operator of New England's wholesale electricity markets and transmission system, has published its 2024 Regional Electricity Outlook. The report examines trends affecting supply and demand for electricity, through the ongoing clean energy transition.Specifically, ISO-NE notes the dawn of "a new era in our energy history", as broad decarbonization in the name of climate change becomes public policy. According to the grid operator, "This era will be marked by rapid and significant change. Over the next... More
  • Court suspends EIA-862 survey of crypto mining energy use The U.S. Energy Information Administration's efforts to require cryptocurrency miners to report on their electricity use have been suspended by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, following a complaint by Texas crypto miners alleging that EIA exceeded its regulatory authority in requiring the report. Earlier this year, EIA announced a new, mandatory survey of crypto miners. The Form EIA-862 report would cover topics like the nature and scale of equipment installed, electricity consumption, and sources of power. EIA... More
  • Will ISO-NE capacity market shift from forward to prompt/seasonal? The operator of New England's transmission grid and wholesale electricity markets has proposed major reforms to its market for capacity. For 18 years, ISO New England has administered a "Forward Capacity Market", featuring annual auctions to procure commitments from energy resources, for a capacity commitment period three years in the future. ISO-NE has now proposed to shift to a "prompt/seasonal" model. If adopted, the reforms will change important elements of New England's electric market systems.According to ISO-NE, its Forward Capacity... More
  • EIA Form EIA-862 cryptocurrency mining electricity use survey A federal agency will start requiring commercial cryptocurrency miners to report on their electricity consumption. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has obtained an emergency clearance allowing it to begin collecting data on a monthly basis from February through July 2024. EIA's new Form EIA-862, the "Cryptocurrency Mining Facilities Report", is mandatory for all commercial cryptocurrency mining facilities in the U.S. Failure to file could result in criminal and civil fines and penalties that could exceed $10,000 per violation per day.According... More
  • 2022 Maine power outages quantified Maine electricity customers experienced more frequent and longer power outages on average in 2022, compared to the national average, according to recently released federal data.According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. electricity consumers in 2022 experienced one or two outages, averaging about 5.5 total hours of power outage. According to EIA, major incidents like storms are most likely to cause outages with extended durations, while heavily forested states are most likely to experience a higher frequency of outages.EIA tracks reliability... More
  • ISO-NE 2022 generation portfolio emissions report New England's electric power generation fleet emitting slightly less carbon dioxide in 2022 relative to 2021, according to the grid operator's 2022 ISO New England Electric Generator Air Emissions Report.ISO New England operates the regional transmission grid and the wholesale market for electricity. In support of this role, ISO-NE tracks the portfolio of generation resources used in the region, as well as the resources' emission characteristics.According to ISO-NE, New England generation emitted 33,382 kilotons of carbon dioxide in 2022, a... More
  • US renewable output exceeded coal in 2022 The U.S. generated more electricity from renewable sources than from coal last year, for the first time in history. The nation's portfolio of electric generation resources continues to shift away from coal and oil and towards renewable resources and natural gas.The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tracks statistics on a variety of energy sources and their related infrastructure. According to EIA, the domestic electric power sector generated 4,090 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2022. The greatest share of this... More
  • Maine "Solar for All" program proposed for EPA funding The Maine Governor's Energy Office has applied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for $99.5 million to establish statewide "Solar for All" programs for Maine. If selected for funding by EPA, the programs could create new incentives for residential solar development in Maine with a focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities.The Inflation Reduction Act allocated $7 billion to the EPA, to fund a system of competitive grants to states and other entities to establish or expand "Solar for All" programs... More