Archives: Electricity

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Coming Up: FERC Conference on Storage Resources in PJM

In its recent landmark Order No. 841, FERC directed Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) to remove barriers to participation by electric storage resources in their wholesale electricity markets.  The expectation is that each RTO/ISO will adopt rules that recognize and compensate physical and operational characteristics of storage resources, including battery storage, … Continue Reading

FERC Requires Generators to Provide Primary Frequency Response

FERC has approved a final rule requiring generating facilities that interconnect to the grid to provide primary frequency response.[1]  Primary frequency response actions are needed to stop extraordinary deviations from the grid’s target frequency that could cause grid instability.  The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the group responsible for grid reliability standards, said that “(f)requency … Continue Reading

FERC Lowers Barriers to Electricity Storage

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with four new Commissioners confirmed during the latter half of 2017, including a new Chairman, is taking a critical next step toward clearing away obstacles to wholesale market participation by storage resources, a key emerging technology. At its recent public meeting, FERC approved a final rule that largely adopted … Continue Reading

FERC Requests More Comments on Grid Service Proposal

In November 2016, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) that would require new generating facilities to install and operate equipment that provides primary frequency response service to the grid.   Based on some of the comments received on the NOPR, FERC issued a request for supplemental comments. The reliable operation of the alternating current … Continue Reading

FERC IS BACK AND FACES A FULL PLATE OF ELECTRICITY ISSUES (Volume 3)

This is the third and final of three posts on this blog providing short summaries of the generic electricity policy initiatives already teed up and awaiting possible action by the newly-constituted FERC.  Together, these three posts describe initiatives that address fundamental market and resource issues spanning a broad range of FERC’s electricity authorities. Today’s post … Continue Reading

FERC IS BACK AND FACES A FULL PLATE OF ELECTRICITY ISSUES (Volume 2)

This is the second post of three on this blog providing short summaries of the generic electricity policy initiatives already teed up and awaiting possible action by the newly-constituted FERC.  Together, these three posts describe initiatives that address fundamental market and resource issues spanning a broad range of FERC’s electricity authorities. Today’s post summarizes initiatives … Continue Reading

Blockchain Goes Solar

A recent New York Times article reported on an early-stage, solar energy microgrid being formed in Brooklyn, called the Brooklyn Microgrid, that relies on blockchain technology, the innovative database technology used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that promises to transform industries as diverse as financial services, health care, retail, and manufacturing.  The blockchain-based microgrid enables neighboring … Continue Reading

NY ISO Outlines Steps For Integrating Distributed Resources

The NY Independent System Operator recently issued a plan for addressing the nuts-and-bolts issues associated with integrating distributed energy resources (DERs) into the wholesale electricity market.  The NYISO says its Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap for New York’s Wholesale Electricity Markets is “the first step in building (the) grid of the future” and seamless transition “from a … Continue Reading

FERC Clarifies Cost Recovery Flexibility for Electric Storage Resources

As part of an ongoing effort to address issues raised by, and encourage the entry of, distributed energy resources, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week issued a Policy Statement clarifying the flexibility electric storage resources have regarding rate designs to recover their costs.  FERC earlier proposed rules to remove barriers to the participation of storage … Continue Reading

Trump Executive Order Labels “Improving the U.S. Electric Grid” as a “High Priority Infrastructure Project”

Moving forward, in part, on a campaign promise to adopt an infrastructure plan to “transform America’s crumbling infrastructure,” today President Trump issued an Executive Order titled “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects.”… Continue Reading

Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System: Survivable Elements of Obama’s Policy Roadmap for the Trump Administration

Official publications of the Trump campaign and transition team propose significant changes in energy policies.   The principal focus of the proposed policy changes addresses energy independence and job creation through greater production of fossil fuel resources.  But apart from pronouncements to “scrap … the Clean Power Plan” there is little to glean from the official … Continue Reading

FERC Proposes Requiring New Generators to Provide A Grid Support Service

One factor driving the grid of the future is the change in the nation’s electric generator resource mix, such as the retirement of traditional baseload generation and an increasing proportion of variable energy resources, such as wind and solar.  This evolution has raised concern that the capability to provide “primary frequency response,” a critical grid … Continue Reading

FERC Proposes Rules to Remove Barriers to Electric Storage and Other Distributed Resources

Electricity storage resources are shaping the grid of the future.  Large-scale batteries and flywheels are now able to provide services to grid operators to help keep the bulk power system in balance.  Electric storage resources’ ability to absorb and discharge electricity provides them with significant operational flexibility, and they can be designed to provide a … Continue Reading

Grid of the Future: Opportunities, Challenges, and Solutions in Corporate Energy Procurement

Fundamental changes in the way that the electric utility and power sector operates, interacts with customers, and relates to its regulators are occurring on a massive scale and at an unprecedented pace. Covington is committed to exploring these transformations affecting the power sector, helping our clients to understand and navigate the changes, and fostering collaborations … Continue Reading

FERC Considering Changes to Standards of Review for Acquisitions and Mergers

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently launched an initiative that could result in significant changes to the standards used for analyzing whether mergers and acquisitions are in the public interest.  In a September 22, 2016 Notice of Inquiry (NOI), FERC identified several broad areas in which its current policies may need reform, made a … Continue Reading

Cybersecurity Discussions at the 2015 G-7 Summit

On Monday, the 2015 G-7 Summit ended with the President and other Leaders of the G-7 focused generally on a wide range of economic, security, and development issues, and specifically discussing the energy sector’s cybersecurity posture.  According to the White House, the Leaders “launched a new cooperative effort to enhance cybersecurity of the energy sector … Continue Reading

FERC Staff to Measure Grid Investment Effectiveness

The Department of Energy recently released a Quadrennial Energy Review that identified a pressing need for new electricity transmission facilities, among other infrastructure issues.  Encouraging new transmission investment has also been a decade-long priority policy goal of FERC reflected in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and FERC’s seminal Order No. 1000.  In furtherance of this … Continue Reading

The Impact of Distributed Generation On Electric Utilities: How Big, How Likely and How Soon?

Technological advances in distributed generation and battery storage and their consequent falling costs have the potential to significantly change the electric utility business model and regulatory policies.  While change seems likely, there are varying views on its scope, probability and timing.  Two are presented here. One perspective is that fundamental changes in the way electricity … Continue Reading

Transformative Power Technologies: Do We Need Regulation 2.0?

As discussed in a previous post, new technologies — such as distributed generation, electricity storage, and digital control and communications — are making steady inroads toward transforming the traditional role of electric utilities and their relationship to customers.  The future transformed utility is sometimes referred to as “Utility 2.0.”  While integrating new technologies into the … Continue Reading

Evolving Role of Utilities: Indicators That New Power Technologies May Be Transformative

Many forces are converging to focus the debate on the evolving role of utilities, and events and trends are being closely watched by utilities, regulators and policymakers.  Just in the last week or so, a few developments indicate that new technologies are likely to be transformative. On the innovation front, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory … Continue Reading

Wholesale Electricity Market Developments in the U.S.

Significant developments have occurred recently in wholesale electricity markets in the lower Midwest and Western regions of the U.S. Earlier this week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a substantial expansion of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).  SPP is a FERC-regulated Regional Transmission Organization that administers the grid across a nine-state footprint in the south … Continue Reading

FERC Exploring RTO/ISO Market Pricing And Operational Practices

At its recent public meeting, FERC opened a staff-led proceeding to address price formation and related issues in the RTO/ISO wholesale electricity energy markets.  Concerns with whether these organized markets are attracting appropriate levels and types of new generation capacity and the markets’ performance during last winter’s Polar Vortex have raised questions regarding their designs … Continue Reading
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