As expected, with the inauguration of President Trump all Obama Administration content on the White House website has been replaced with content of the new Administration. The new content includes “An America First Energy Plan”, the entire focus of which is national security and job creation benefits of the Administration’s “embrace” and promotion of

The Trump Administration will take office intent on reversing many Obama Administration policies. Although the Trump Administration’s publicly released 100-day plan does not announce a new energy policy, campaign promises and priorities of the Republican-controlled Congress suggest a number of early initiatives that will impact the power sector.  Moreover, the Trump transition team for the Department of Energy signaled a variety of potential energy policy priorities in requesting information from the outgoing Obama Administration.  The impacts of these regulatory and legislative initiatives will need to be evaluated against the backdrop of market, technology, international, and consumer driven dynamics that are transforming the power sector independent of federal law and policy.  The Covington Energy Group will be watching closely the new Administration’s and Congress’ initiatives and evaluating their significance in altering or reinforcing the transformative changes sweeping the power sector.  Below, we identify the more prominent expected initiatives from the new Administration.
Continue Reading Watching for Initiatives from the Trump Administration and Congress Affecting the Power Sector

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 publications regarding the incoming administration’s plans to address the much needed transformation of the Nation’s electricity system.

Additional insights about potential Trump administration policies affecting the electric power sector can be gleaned from assorted comments by the President-elect and transition team officials. Since the election, they have signaled possible policy initiatives to scrutinize wind energy subsidies and bird kill impacts, promote nuclear energy and lift restrictions on “clean coal”.  But these hints at policy direction, coupled with an intention to move away from the Clean Power Plan, still leave the electric power industry awash in uncertainty regarding future federal policies to modernize and increase the efficiency, resiliency and security of the Nation’s power grid.

Meanwhile the corporate sector continues to demand federal policies to promote American prosperity through clean energy transformation and is focused on locating business operations in states that facilitate corporate procurement of clean energy.  Independent of clean energy and climate change considerations, the leading trade association of the electric utility industry is highly focused on grid modernization through efforts to redesign and transform the use and operation of the grid to integrate distributed energy resources, replace distribution lines and deploy new technologies and systems that will enhance reliability, resiliency and efficiency.    
Continue Reading Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System: Survivable Elements of Obama’s Policy Roadmap for the Trump Administration

In August, EPA is expected to finalize and to modify its ambitious Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.  Here is a Watch List of key areas for possible changes and clarification that EPA might make, after considering voluminous public comments on the Proposed Regulations, which were issued in June 2014:

  • Timelines for State Implementation. Will EPA relax the level of interim requirements for emission reductions by 2020 (or 2022, as suggested in recent press reports) and allow each state a more gradual or back-loaded schedule to meet final targets by 2030?
  • Timelines for Filing State Implementation Plans. Will EPA delay or ease the threshold for granting waivers of the one-year requirement for filing single-state implementation plans or two-years for multi-state implementation plans?
  • Credits for Early Action. Will EPA enable states to obtain credits or adjustments in baseline periods for early emission reduction actions that have already occurred or for acceleration of emission reductions achieved prior to 2020?

Two of the Supreme Court’s major, end-of-term decisions turn on the deference the Court gives to agency determinations of the meaning of ambiguous clauses in complex regulatory statutes, applying the familiar Chevron framework.  The Court’s less deferential applications of Chevron raise important questions about the deference courts might be expected to give to the scope

On May 21, 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the Obama Administration’s Spring Unified Agenda, providing greater details about the President’s strategy to rely on executive actions for carrying out his energy and environmental initiatives. The agenda’s release—specifying the upcoming actions that the Administration will be taking by regulation—comes at a

Amid concerns regarding the impact on reliability of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (“CPP”), FERC scheduled a series of technical conferences to discuss the impacts of state, regional and/or federal plans for compliance with EPA’s proposed rule.  Such plans could affect electric reliability, wholesale electric markets and operations, and energy infrastructure.  FERC recently held the

At the first in a series of technical conferences, industry and government stakeholders yesterday strongly urged FERC to be proactive in helping to shape the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (“CPP”).  What remains unclear, however, is precisely how the Commissioners can and will seek to influence a rulemaking over which the Commission lacks jurisdiction.

FERC