California Lawmakers Rush $21 Billion Wildfire Liability Bill to Save Embattled Utilities

Lawmakers in California quickly approved legislation providing investor-owned utilities with $21 billion to help them pay for wildfire damages linked to their transmission equipment. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on July 12. The bill gives companies two options. One is a $10.5 billion state-backed line of credit to pay for wildfire damages that…

Minnesota Power Seeks Over $30 Million in Cost Recovery for Transmission Projects

Minnesota Power, a unit of ALLETE Inc., proposed a rate adjustment to recover the costs related to on-going transmission projects, which include the 500-kilovolt Great Northern Transmission Line that will deliver 383 megawatts of hydropower from Manitoba Hydro beginning in 2020, according to a July 9 filing with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The company…

Massachusetts Clears Contracts to Import Canadian Hydro Over $1 Billion Power Line

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities on June 25 approved 20-year contracts between Hydro-Québec and the state’s electric distribution companies Unitil Corp., National Grid plc, and Eversource Energy to acquire Canadian hydropower to help the state achieve its clean energy goals. The power will be delivered into New England over a $1 billion transmission line…

Invenergy Wins Missouri Approval to Buy 4-Gigawatt Wind Power Line

The Missouri Public Service Commission authorized Invenergy Investment Company LLC to acquire ownership of Clean Line Energy Partners LLC’s 780-mile Grain Belt Express transmission project, according to a June 5 press release. The $2.3 billion multi-state transmission line is designed to deliver 4 gigawatts of wind power from Western Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and…

California Wildfire Commission Recommends Liability Reform to Save Utilities, Protect Ratepayers

The Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery published a draft report on May 29 with recommendations on equitable distribution of costs among affected parties of the catastrophic California wildfires. According to the report, the trend of growing fire activity related to increasing global temperatures coupled with population incursions into high fire risk areas means that…

California Regulator Approves Utility Wildfire Plans, Proactive Power Shutoffs

The California Public Utilities Commission on May 30 approved wildfire mitigation plans for the state’s electric utilities in response to legislation enacted last year that directed electric corporations to file annual plans describing measures to prevent, combat, and respond to wildfires in their service areas. The commission also made enhancements to communication and notification guidelines…

PG&E Power Lines Caused Deadly Camp Fire According to California Investigator

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has determined that Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric, according to a May 15 press release. The Camp Fire started in Butte County on the morning of November 8,…

Maine Regulator Clears Avangrid’s $1 Billion Hydropower Transmission Line

The Maine Public Utilities Commission on April 11 voted unanimously to grant a permit allowing Central Maine Power Company to move forward with its New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project, which is designed to deliver up to 1,200-megawatts of Canadian hydropower into the Northeast. The proposed 145-mile high-voltage power line would cross western Maine…

New York Grid Operator Selects $1.2 Billion Worth of Transmission Projects to Ease Congestion, Accommodate Renewables

The New York Independent System Operator Inc.’s board of directors selected two transmission projects, which would add the largest amount of capacity to the state’s power grid in over 30 years, according to an April 8 press release. The grid operator said that the aging and congested transmission infrastructure is not capable of accommodating the…

Mid-Atlantic Operator Teams Up With DOE to Study Distributed Resource Integration

PJM Interconnection LLC is joining forces with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory to study the integration of distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar, into the operator’s grid, according to an April 2 press release. The Argonne laboratory will be supporting PJM’s Distributed Energy Resource Ride-Through Task Force in developing guidelines for so-called “ride through” and…

FERC Seeks Input to Enhance Transmission Incentive, Return on Equity Policies

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on March 21 issued notices of inquiry to gather information on possible improvements to rules governing electric transmission incentives and the agency’s approach to determining the return on equity, or ROE, for setting jurisdictional rates charged by public utilities. Transmission incentives are crucial to spur investment, which can provide benefits,…

Clean Line Energy Wins Missouri Approval for $2.3 Billion Wind Power Line

The Missouri Public Service Commission on March 20 unanimously approved Clean Line Energy Partners LLC’s 780-mile Grain Belt Express transmission system designed to deliver 4,000 megawatts of wind power from Western Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and the neighboring states. The move follows a July 2018 ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court, which found that…...