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.

Visual Primer: Natural Gas Planning Being Reshaped by Policies Centered on Climate-Focused Energy Future

Ongoing state initiatives to transition to a low-carbon future and new actions from the federal level are impacting natural gas utilities’ long-term planning strategies. The challenge for utilities is to adapt to the changing policy landscape, evolving in ways that contribute to decarbonization.

Policy Primer: U.S. Offshore Wind Industry April 2021 Update

The prospects of the U.S. offshore wind industry are brightening as East Coast states and the Biden administration step up efforts to harness the potential of carbon-free electricity. The administration has established a goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2030. To facilitate the achievement of the goal publicized on March 29, the administration announced several investment and funding opportunities. These include access to $3 billion in funding for offshore wind projects through the Department of Energy’s Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program and $230 million in funding opportunity for port authorities and other applicants for infrastructure-related projects through the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.

Visual Primer: Decarbonization Timelines Drive Interest in Advanced Nuclear Reactors

Recent progress towards commercializing small modular reactors (SMRs) has sparked interest in the role of advanced nuclear technologies to accomplish decarbonization goals. Twenty states and jurisdictions across the U.S. now have 100 percent clean energy mandates or goals, implying the need for a portfolio of every available carbon-free technology that can be deployed on a timeline compatible with their targets.

Policy Primer: Carbon Pricing

As the Biden administration takes action to address climate change through federal policies including rejoining the Paris Agreement and increasing the social cost of carbon, states continue to strengthen existing carbon pricing programs and advance new initiatives. State-level activity on emission-trading programs and carbon pricing is expected to remain on the rise as more jurisdictions embrace policy goals to transition to a lower-carbon power system and economy.

Visual Primer: Fallout From Winter Storm Uri Elicits Regulatory Actions Across U.S. States

The fallout from severe arctic weather during February has prompted regulators from Texas to Montana to examine utility infrastructure, preparedness and response, and impacts to customers. Texas, which experienced the worst power outages resulting from Winter Storm Uri, has issued multiple orders and initiated investigations to address the impacts of the grid event. Following announcements of an inquiry into the grid event and the possibility of market violations, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is now set to examine the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on electric system reliability. Regulators across several U.S. states are investigating the after-effects of the storm to mitigate bill impacts to customers while exploring cost-recovery for utilities which faced extraordinary expenses as natural gas prices soared to unprecedented levels.

Policy Primer: Transportation Electrification

Transportation electrification is gaining momentum across the U.S. as states and utilities continue to implement measures to boost electric vehicle (EV) adoption and expand charging infrastructure. Recent actions range from California’s vehicle-grid integration strategy to Pennsylvania’s rulemaking proposal for a light-duty EV requirement, and a utility-coalition plan for a seamless charging network.

Visual Primer: Texas Power Outages Draw Scrutiny into Grid Operator’s Market Design and Reliability

The widespread power outages across Texas during the extreme winter weather conditions brought about by a polar vortex in mid-February has raised questions about the reliability of the power grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. (ERCOT). The grid operator, which manages about 90 percent of the state’s electric load, reported that 48.6 percent of generation was forced out at the highest point due to the winter storm.

EnerKnol Special Report Part II: ERCOT Forecast Risks

EnerKnol is committed to providing real-time transparency of the fragmented and highly technical landscape of energy regulation. With this as our guiding principle we are examining our database of over 35,000,000 regulatory records for insights into last week's Texas outages.

Visual Primer: State Decarbonization Goals Spur Innovative Resource Planning Measures

Innovations in energy planning continue to emerge as state regulators devise programs and explore solutions that effectively meet customer needs and support policy goals. Recent state initiatives range from New York’s efforts to align gas planning with climate goals, to Maine’s investigation into the future design of the grid to accommodate growing renewables, and California’s transmission planning guidance to achieve ambitious decarbonization goals.

Enerknol Special Report: Texas Outages Raise Questions About ERCOT’s Reliability

EnerKnol is committed to providing real-time transparency of the fragmented and highly technical landscape of energy regulation. With this as our guiding principle we are examining our database of over 35,000,000 regulatory records for insights into last week's Texas outages.

Policy Primer: Net Metering Reforms

Net metering policies continue to evolve as state regulators seek to make rate structures more equitable to address cross-subsidy issues arising from the growing penetration of distributed solar generation. Net energy metering (NEM), which credits customer generators for grid-exported power, has been a key component of the policy framework to spur investment in customer-sited renewable energy facilities, including solar and energy storage systems. Successors to original tariffs are considering a range of factors including avoided utility costs, value to the grid, cost-shifting, and energy demand.