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Support for Storage Grows While Challenges Mount

4 Oct

Bipartisan support for energy storage is being propelled by the latest round of hurricanes, particularly in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Destroyed and damaged grids need to be rebuilt to be more reliable, with energy storage an essential “part of that conversation,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the Committee on Energy & Natural […]

The Buzz

29 Sep

A future as predictable as a Ouiji board was a central theme at the Independent Energy Producer’s annual meeting this week amid mounting uncertainty from the changing role of utilities and the scarcity of contracts for generators. Speaking of contracts, and lack of them, utility regulators this week nixed a deal between Southern California Edison […]

Undercurrents: Long-term Nuclear Waste Disposal Remains Stalled

26 Sep

State and local representatives pressed for federal solutions to the problem of mounting radioactive waste at nuclear power plants, including the closed down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, during a House Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, & Environment Sept. 26. David Victor, chair of the SONGS Community Engagement Panel, told the […]

U.S. Senate Panel Aims to Cut Power-Related Wildfires

20 Sep

Western forests are “tinderboxes for wildfire” after the prolonged drought, warned Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) during a Sept. 19 hearing by U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which she chairs, on vegetation management mandates for electricity infrastructure on federal lands. There have been hundreds of wildfires on public lands in the West because of […]

Shorts

19 Sep

At its first meeting since President Trump was inaugurated, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission adopted two final rules aimed at enhancing the reliability and resilience of the bulk power system. The federal agency also opened a new rulemaking seeking to refine and clarify rules concerning emergency preparedness and recovery for power grid operators. One of […]

FERC’s New Chair Walks Fine Line

14 Sep

Neil Chatterjee, the new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair, signaled a subtle shift in the commission’s focus to maintaining grid reliability as more renewable energy comes online, during a Sept. 14 House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing. The commission under former President Barack Obama highlighted the role of matching power demand with available energy […]

Panel Witnesses Back Carbon Capture Subsidies

13 Sep

Carbon capture and sequestration, including for coal generating plants, continues to face financial and other challenges, according to witnesses at a Sept. 13 U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee hearing. “There is a gap between project costs and market prices and tariffs that prevent private capital from flowing into projects,” said Julio Freidman, chief […]

JUICE: PURPA’s CA Purpose

13 Sep

Congress may gut the federal law requiring utilities to buy power from qualifying solar, wind and other alternative energy projects. Is that a big deal for California? Not really—if looking through a California-only lens. When viewing the issue from a Western perspective, however, significantly weakening or eliminating the must buy provisions of the federal Public […]

Last Two FERC Nominees Vetted by Senate Panel

7 Sep

During a Sept. 7 Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing the latest two nominees for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated support for increasing grid cyber-security protections, reducing barriers to energy storage and other distributed energy resources, and thwarting harm from market manipulation. FERC authority goes beyond protecting just and reasonable rates, Kevin McIntyre, […]

House Panel Debates Whether PURPA is Out of Fashion

7 Sep

A House panel this week began considering whether to change a 40-year old federal law enacted to promote small wind and solar energy projects and industrial cogeneration to make the electricity market more competitive and energy supplies more diverse. The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy Sept. 6 held a hearing aimed at assessing […]

Shorts

30 Aug

Three House Democrats took Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to task for a growing lack of transparency at the federal agency in a letter they sent Aug. 30. The three, including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), expressed concerns about restrictions on employee movement within the agency’s headquarters and a ban on note taking during meetings […]

FERC No Longer Quorum-Less

3 Aug

The five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission now has three members following the U.S. Senate’s unanimous confirmation of nominees Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson late on Aug. 3. “After six months, we have finally restored a working quorum to FERC,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. She added she […]

U.S. Senate Hearing Focuses on Nukes & Carbon Capture

26 Jul

Advancing new nuclear energy plants and carbon capture and sequestration for coal-fired generation were highlighted during a July 25 Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing on clean energy technology. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), however, urged an expansion of the panel’s focus, noting the large increase in solar and […]

Shorts

18 Jul

The House Energy & Commerce Committee began delving into how the nation’s electricity markets are functioning July 18. During the first of two hearings, the general assessment by a panel of utility and generator representatives was that the nation’s power industry is in the midst of rapid change, which is driving down the wholesale price […]

Shorts

11 Jul

The Energy Information Administration has added forecasts for small-scale solar system power capacity to its periodic Short-Term Energy Outlook reports. In its first such forecast, EIA projected that small-scale solar nationwide will grow from 14.3 GW to 21.9 GW by the end of 2018. Annual small-scale solar generation is expected to grow from 19,467 GWh […]

“Baseload Power” Concept Called Antiquated

26 Jun

In advance of a Department of Energy report expected to highlight an ongoing need for baseload power from nuclear and coal plants, an environmental group June 26 released a study claiming the very notion of baseload power has become “outdated. “The reality is that baseload power is not a technical term and is not needed […]

Shorts

21 Jun

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia June 20 upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of PJM’s revised electricity rules for the capacity market. The rules, approved by FERC in June of 2015, add higher penalties for non-performance and an increased cost cap. “Procurements in solar, wind, and demand response fell […]

LADWP Commits to Beating Paris Climate Goal

20 Jun

The nation’s largest municipal utility gave a thumb’s up to the 2015 Paris climate accord, joining the ranks of other cities, states, and organizations around the country pushing back against the Trump Administration. “We have such a lack of leadership nationally,” Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Commissioner Aura Vasquez said June 20. That’s […]

Undercurrents: FERC Nominees Advance

7 Jun

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should soon have a quorum following the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee’s vote favoring confirmation of two Republican nominees by the full Senate. At a June 6 committee hearing, FERC nominee Neil Chatterjee, energy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), was backed by the committee members […]

Undercurrents: Nuclear Waste Gains Focus

1 Jun

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reactivated the Yucca Mountain radioactive dump licensing process May 31, angering many. “Restarting the licensing process for Yucca Mountain would reach new heights of scientific irresponsibility,” said U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). He pointed to the two fault lines at the Nevada site, noting hundreds of nearby earthquakes over the last […]