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week of Mar. 23, 2020

The EnerKnol Week Ahead is back to give you the key energy policy events happening next week, all powered by the EnerKnol Platform. Coming up, the U.S. Interior Department reviews what is set to be the nation's largest solar plus storage project; Maine examines alternatives to capital investments in the transmission and distribution system; Michigan discusses interconnection standards as part of a multi-year initiative aimed to maximize the benefits of the transition to clean energy.

Featured Entities




Maine PUC

Michigan PSC

New York PSC

Washington UTC

Federal Agencies

March 26
EIA Monthly Energy Report

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will issue its Monthly Energy Review, providing data on energy production, consumption, prices and trade. U.S. biofuel production is projected to grow by 18 percent in 2050, relative to 2019 levels, under the Annual Energy Outlook’s reference case, which reflects current laws and regulations. The growth is driven largely by economic and policy factors, according to the agency. Last year, biofuels accounted for 7.3 percent of total motor gasoline, distillate, and jet fuel consumption.

March 26
BLM Gemini Solar Project Decision Deadline

The Bureau of Land Management is due to issue a record of decision on the 690-megawatt Gemini solar project. The $1 billion project, which includes 380 megawatts of battery storage, would be the largest solar farm in the U.S. In December, the agency issued a favorable environmental review for the project, which would be developed by Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners in collaboration with Arevia Power. Nevada regulators recently approved NV Energy’s 25-year power purchase agreement with Quinbrook for the solar plus battery project.

March 27
FERC Grand Chenier XPress Environmental Review

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is due to issue an environmental assessment for ANR Pipeline Company’s Grand Chenier Xpress Project, which is designed to increase the natural gas transportation capacity on its Louisiana pipeline system by up to 400,000 dekatherms per day. The project would provide feed gas for Venture Global Calcasieu Pass LLC’s liquefied natural gas export facility being built in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The TC Energy Corp. subsidiary has executed a 20-year agreement with Venture Global for 100 percent of the project capacity. The total cost of the project, which involves the construction and operation of facilities in Acadia, Jefferson Davis, and Cameron Parishes is about $173 million.

Eastern Region

March 23
NY PSC Customer Service Reporting Metrics Pilot Program

The New York Public Service Commission will hold a meeting with utilities, staff, and other interested entities to evaluate the results of a pilot survey launched last year to enhance utilities’ customer service reporting metrics. The commission adopted a consensus proposal to implement a uniform statewide customer satisfaction survey administered on a pilot basis after an independent analysis concluded that lack of uniformity made it difficult to compare the utilities’ metrics with each other. Stakeholders will discuss whether the pilot should be made permanent, modified, or discontinued. Participation will be by WebEx. 15-M-0566

March 23
ME PUC Nonwires Alternatives Investigation

The Maine Public Utilities Commission is due to receive comments on proposed rules regarding the criteria to temporarily exclude from investigation by the nonwires alternative coordinator small transmission and distribution projects that utilities need to complete during this construction season because of an immediate need. Last June, the state enacted legislation establishing the position of the coordinator to investigate and identify alternatives to proposed transmission projects, and evaluate the costs and benefits of nonwire alternatives compared to utility capital investments. Read More

Western Region

March 23
MI PSC Consumers Energy Rate Case Prehearing

The Michigan Public Service Commission will consider Consumers Energy Company’s application for adjustment of rates and charges applicable to electric service. The company asked for an annual revenue increase of $244 million and return on equity of 10.50 percent. Consumers Energy said that the increase is primarily driven by continued infrastructure investments associated with system reliability, environmental compliance, and enhanced technology. The meeting will be conducted via teleconference. U-20697

March 24
MI PSC Interconnection Rules Stakeholder Session

The Michigan Public Service Commission will hold a stakeholder meeting on the MI Power Grid’s work areas related to interconnection, distributed generation, and legally enforceable obligations. The multi-year initiative, unveiled in October, aims to maximize the benefits of the shift to clean and distributed energy resources. The measure seeks to engage utility customers and other stakeholders to help integrate new clean energy technologies and optimize grid investments for reliable, affordable electricity service. The meeting will be conducted via teleconference.

March 27
WA UTC Puget Energy Rate Case Reply Briefs

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is due to receive reply briefs on Puget Sound Energy’s request for an increase of about $140 million, or 6.9 percent, in its annual electric revenue and $65 million, or 7.9 percent, in its gas revenue. After reviewing the company’s power supply costs and infrastructure investments, the commission staff recommended smaller increases of about $50 million to electric rates and $38.4 million to gas rates. The staff proposal also considers the remaining costs associated with Puget’s partial ownership of the Colstrip coal-fired plant in Montana, which by law, must not serve Washington customers after 2025. UE-190529

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