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…...

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.

California Commission Orders Unprecedented 11.5-Gigawatt Procurement to Meet Clean Energy Goals

The California Public Utilities Commission on June 24 directed utilities to procure 11,500 megawatts of new generation from clean energy sources. This is the largest clean energy procurement ordered to date and is a step towards California’s goal of transitioning to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. The resources, required to come online between 2023…...

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…...

Connecticut Law Establishes Energy Storage Target of 1 Gigawatt by 2030

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, signed legislation on June 16, establishing a goal of deploying 1,000 megawatts of energy storage by Dec. 31, 2030. Connecticut is the eighth state to establish a storage deployment target, which will increase reliability and aid in the state’s pursuit of a zero carbon electric sector by 2040, a…...

Hawaii Regulator Approves Performance Mechanisms to Accelerate Clean Energy Goals

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved performance incentive mechanisms, scorecards, and metrics as part of its  performance-based regulatory framework for the Hawaiian Electric Companies. The framework was created on Dec. 23, 2020, aiming at becoming a system that rewards “utility for exemplary performance,” while reducing utility costs for customers, and moving towards more renewable energy…....

President Biden Commits U.S. to Achieve 50 Percent Emissions Reductions in 2030

U.S. President Joe Biden on April 22 announced a new target for the U.S. to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent in 2030 relative to 2005 levels. In January, Biden took action to recommit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement, as part of a series of executive actions reflecting his energy agenda…...

Policy Primer: Utility Resource Planning

Utility resource planning continues to evolve as state regulators take a holistic approach to evaluate the energy delivery process and strive to provide more transparency in the planning process. Carbon reduction is becoming a key component of integrated resource plans (IRPs) amid the influx of distributed energy resources and new renewable generation under various state programs. IRPs provide an evaluation of utilities’ future electricity needs and potential means to meet the requirements.

California Commission Proposes Measures to Support Grid Reliability During Summer

The California Public Utilities Commission on March 5 released a proposal detailing utility programs to manage energy supply during peak hours so as to ensure reliability in the event of extreme heat in the summers of 2021 and 2022. The proposal is the latest in a series of actions under a proceeding that was opened…...

New England Capacity Auction Prices Rebound from Record Lows

ISO New England Inc.’s fifteenth annual forward capacity auction concluded with preliminary clearing prices ranging from $2.48 to $3.98 per kilowatt-month across different pricing zones, up from last year’s record low, according to the results released on Feb. 11. Clearing prices declined since peaking at $9.55 per kilowatt-month in 2015 and hit an all-time low…...

Oregon Regulator Examines Resource Adequacy Amid Coal Plant Retirements

The Oregon Public Utility Commission opened an investigation into resource adequacy in the state to address the growing concerns over the level of capacity in the region, according to a Jan. 7 notice. Reports and studies from various organizations including Northwest Power and Conservation Council, Energy+Environmental Economics(E3), Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee, and the California…...

Visual Primer: State Regulators Scrutinize Gas Utility Planning to Align With Climate Goals

A growing number of states are investigating long-term planning of natural gas utilities to explore cost-effective alternatives that better align with climate policies. Investigation into the future of the gas industry is becoming important to develop strategies that facilitate progress toward a net-zero emissions energy future while safeguarding ratepayer interests and ensuring reliable service.