Minnesota Regulator Explores Role of Gas Utilities in Achieving Emission Goals

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission launched a proceeding on July 23 to examine regulatory and policy structures governing natural gas utilities, in a bid to evaluate potential changes required for accomplishing the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. The move stems from the Natural Gas Innovation Act enacted in June establishing a regulatory framework for gas…...

Policy Primer: Carbon Pricing July 2021 Update

Emission trading is coming to prominence as a key market-based tool in state efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, including decarbonization of the electricity sector. Among recent actions Washington has enacted legislation to implement an economy-wide cap-and-invest system, becoming the second state to have a comprehensive carbon-pricing program, and Pennsylvania has adopted rulemaking for a carbon trading program covering the power sector.

Oregon Law Requires 100 Percent Carbon-Free Electricity by 2040

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, signed legislation on July 19 requiring electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80 percent below a 2010-2012 baseline of average emissions by 2030, 90 percent by 2035, and 100 percent by 2040. The law requires each electric company to develop…...

U.S. Energy Department Launches Tool to Expedite Residential Solar Permitting

The U.S. Energy Department on July 15 launched a free web-based platform that gives local governments the ability to fast-track review and approval of residential solar installation permits. The Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus, or SolarAPP+, aims to reduce barriers to solar deployment, spur economic development, and support renewables energy goals. The tool, developed by…...

Visual Primer: Growth of Intermittent Generation Expands Role of Demand Response in Grid Planning

Demand response (DR) portfolios of electric utilities across the U.S. continue to expand as they refine their programs and explore new options to support grid reliability in response to the changing resource mix. The role of DR in planning and operations is expected to increase as the resource mix continues to evolve with increasing generation from natural gas, wind, solar, battery storage, and other emerging distributed energy technologies.

Visual Primer: EV Infrastructure Proliferates as States Electrify Transportation to Meet Decarbonization Goals

Measures to expand electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure are moving expeditiously driven by state zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) goals and decarbonization mandates. Among recent actions, Washington has adopted legislation requiring a mapping tool to plan charging infrastructure investments, while New Jersey is exploring an EV charging ecosystem for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. A handful of states have adopted measures to exempt charging station operators from regulatory oversight.

President Biden Supports Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan Including $73 Billion in Power Grid Investment

U.S President Joe Biden on June 26 announced an agreement with a bipartisan group of senators on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure framework including $73 billion for power infrastructure. Among the key initiatives, the plan would create a new Grid Development Authority at the Department of Energy, deploy long distance, high voltage transmission, integrate the highest…...

Florida Commission Reports 52 Percent Increase in Consumer-Owned Renewables Installations

Customer-owned renewable generation installations across Florida increased by about 52 percent from 2019 to 2020, reaching 90,552 interconnections, according to electric utility reports filed with the Florida Public Service Commission. Electric generation capacity from customer-sited systems rose by 62 percent over the same period to reach 837,160 kilowatts, showing that solar continues to be the…...

Policy Primer: Energy Storage July 2021 Update

States are exploring ways to utilize the multiple benefits that energy storage provides to the grid, from enabling the increased penetration of renewable resources and reducing dependence on emitting generation, to bolstering reliability.

California Commission Updates Guidelines for Execution of Utility Power Shutoffs

The California Public Utilities Commission on June 24 set new guidelines and rules adding to existing directives to improve preparation and access to resources during utilities’ Public Power Shutoff, or PSPS, events ahead of the wildfire season. The commission requires electric investor-owned utilities to take a results-based approach to PSPS events, which involves proactive de-energization…...

Visual Primer: States Oblige Utilities to Join Regional Transmission Organizations to Accommodate More Renewables

Clean energy mandates and goals adopted by U.S. states and utilities are driving efforts to plan and build out the transmission infrastructure needed to accommodate the exponential growth of wind and solar to facilitate power sector decarbonization.

FERC, NARUC Announce Joint Task Force to Address Electric Transmission Issues

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) have formed a joint-federal state task force to explore transmission-related issues. The first-of-its-kind task force will identify barriers inhibiting planning and development of transmission infrastructure, which is key to facilitating the transition towards clean energy resources, and potential solutions to…...