Archives: Electricity

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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

New York explores a “fundamental” restructuring of electric utilities

What is the structure and role of the utility of the future?  New York is initiating a regulatory process to begin answering this question. New York is considering “a substantial transformation of electric utility practices” to improve efficiency, empower customer choice and encourage greater penetration of clean generation and efficiency technologies, according to the NY … Continue Reading

Competition Inquiry into the UK Energy Market

When Labour leader Ed Miliband made a promise in September 2013 to freeze household fuel bills for 20 months if he were to win next year’s election, he instantly made energy supply and pricing one of the central election topics in the UK.  Prime Minister David Cameron’s immediate response was to cut green levies paid … Continue Reading

FERC Acts to Improve Coordination Between the Natural Gas and Electricity Industries

The increasing reliance on natural gas to fuel electricity generators has sparked a need for more coordination between the operators of gas pipelines and electricity grids. Up to now, markets and operations in the two sectors have proceeded independently, but some differences between them have become problematic. Differences are especially problematic in New England, where … Continue Reading

California Announces Timing/Process for Issuing New Regulations on Appliance Efficiency

On March 19, 2014, the California Energy Commission, the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency, announced that it was initiating a regulatory process leading to the regulation of 15 categories of consumer appliances as to usage of electricity, natural gas, and water.  This comes in part in response to the three-year drought period in … Continue Reading

FERC Acknowledges Physical Security Risks to Bulk Power System and Begins Development of Standards for Protection Against Physical Attacks

On March 7, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) directed the North American Electric Reliability Council (“NERC”) to develop new standards for the protection of critical elements of the bulk-power system from physical attacks.  In recent years there has been considerable attention paid to the potential for cyber-attacks against the transmission grid.  Following a … Continue Reading

FERC and CFTC Launch Information Sharing MOU

Earlier this year, the CFTC and FERC announced an information sharing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies. The agencies have now announced that they have begun sharing market data pursuant to this MOU.  In addition, they have created an Interagency Surveillance and Data Analytics Working Group “to coordinate information sharing between the agencies … Continue Reading

Regional Electricity Market Adopts Improved Design

On March 1, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), transitioned to a more sophisticated electricity market design that, according to SPP, is expected to realize up to $100 million in annual net benefits.  SPP is a FERC-regulated Regional Transmission Organization that administers the grid across a 370,000 square mile, nine-state footprint in the south central part … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Upholds FERC Order Approving PJM Tariff Targeting State Generation Capacity Subsidies

In the latest salvo in an ongoing controversy over state efforts to subsidize local generation capacity development, the Third Circuit in New Jersey Board of Public Utilities v. FERC upheld a final FERC order approving a PJM Interconnection tariff governing its wholesale capacity market.  The court denied appeals by the New Jersey and Maryland utility … Continue Reading

Proposed Rules Requiring Carbon Capture at New Coal Power Plants Would Nearly Double Costs

Carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS) technologies, used for decades in industries that could produce revenue from the use of CO2 to offset the high costs, have more recently come to the forefront of clean energy policy as a way to reduce CO2 emissions from new and existing coal-fired power plants. In 2013, President … Continue Reading

The UK Government pledges to cut green taxes, but at what cost to gas and electricity suppliers?

Governments globally are grappling with difficult decisions about green energy policies: maintain green initiatives or remove the strains on economic growth? It is interesting to look across the globe for examples of how different Governments are reacting. In recent months, the UK has opted to “tweak” its green levies to save households an anticipated average … Continue Reading

New England Market Price Suppression Complaint Withdrawn at FERC

An earlier post discussed a complaint by the New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) arguing that the inclusion of a large, high-cost generating plant in an upcoming  capacity market auction will artificially suppress clearing prices. NEPGA has withdrawn its complaint because the generating plant’s owner has decided to retire it and, accordingly, the plant will … Continue Reading

New England Market Price Suppression Complaint Draws Mixed Comments at FERC

An earlier post discussed a complaint filed at FERC by the New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) arguing that one of New England’s capacity market rules “will have a catastrophic impact on clearing prices” in the  upcoming February 3 capacity market auction.  NEPGA’s concern is that a large, high-cost generating plant will be counted toward … Continue Reading

New England Generators Complain: Market Rules Will Suppress Prices

One aspect of New England’s capacity market rules “will have a catastrophic impact on clearing prices” in an upcoming auction according to a recent complaint filed at FERC by the New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA). The auction-based wholesale electricity capacity market operated by ISO New England secures one-year commitments to supply electricity three years … Continue Reading

Entergy Integration Makes MISO Largest RTO by Geography

Entergy’s large transmission system and five operating companies in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and eastern Texas have been integrated into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).  This extends MISO’s footprint to 15 states from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico, making MISO the largest Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) by geography.  The integration adds about 18,000 … Continue Reading

Law360 Names Covington “Energy Practice Group of the Year”

Here at Inside Energy & Environment we are honored to share that Law360 has named Covington’s energy practice as a 2013 “Energy Practice Group of the Year.”  In giving this award, Law360 recognized the breadth of Covington’s practice capabilities (including litigation, transactions, regulatory and government policy) in both the traditional energy and clean energy sectors, … Continue Reading
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