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week of Jul. 26, 2021

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. Energy Department discusses its recently launched SolarAPP+, a web-based platform that enables local governments to expedite the review and approval of residential solar permits; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission examines revisions to its transmission incentives policy; Michigan regulators consider competitive procurement guidelines for rate-regulated electric utilities.

Featured Entities




Illinois CC

Maryland PSC

Michigan PSC

Missouri PSC

New Hampshire PUC

Washington UTC

Federal Agencies

July 26
FERC Transmission Incentives Policy

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is due to receive reply comments on proposed revisions to its transmission incentives policy and corresponding regulations. The commission proposed the revisions in light of changes to transmission and planning over the past few years. Specifically, the proposal would modify the incentive for transmitting and electric utilities that join transmission organizations. The agency proposes to require each utility that received an incentive for joining and remaining in such organizations for three or more years to remove the incentive from its transmission tariff.

July 26
BOEM Vineyard Wind Offshore Project Review

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a virtual public meeting to inform the preparation of an environmental impact statement for the Vineyard Wind South Project, a proposed wind project offshore Massachusetts. The project is designed to develop commercial-scale facilities in two phases with up to a total of 130 wind turbine positions. The first phase, called Park City Wind, would contribute to Connecticut’s mandate of 2 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, through Vineyard Wind’s 804–megawatt power purchase agreement with the state’s utilities. The project developer is actively competing for power purchase contracts for the second phase, which would provide 1.2 to 1.5 gigawatts of energy to the northeastern states. The two phases would generate a total of about 2 to 2.3 gigawatts.

July 28
DOE Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus Webinar

The U.S. Energy Department will discuss the Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus, or SolarAPP+, a free web-based platform that gives local governments the ability to expedite review and approval of residential solar permits. The tool, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, provides solar contractors with a standardized, automated permitting process for residential installations. Although the cost of solar power has declined 90 percent over the past decade, the soft costs of installations remain a significant barrier. The initiative is expected to drastically reduce barriers to solar deployment, spur community economic development, and advance the Biden administration’s clean energy goals.

Eastern Region

July 27
NH PUC Unitil Energy Rate Case Session

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission will consider Unitil Energy Systems Inc’s application for adjustments of retail rates and charges applicable to its electric service. The Unitil Corporation subsidiary asked for an annual revenue increase of $12 million, which would result in a monthly bill increase of 4.4 percent for the average customer, proposed to take effect on May 2, 2021. The company also requested a temporary rate hike of approximately $5.8 million which represents an increase of $3.01 for residential customers consuming an average of 600 kilowatts per hour, to be effective June 1, 2021. DE 21-030

July 29
MD PSC EmPOWER Program Transition

The Maryland Public Service Commission will discuss climate equity and low- to moderate-income goals and programs as part of EmPOWER Maryland, the state’s energy efficiency program. The current goal structure for EmPOWER is mandated by legislation through the end of the 2021-2023 program cycle and the commission is required to provide the General Assembly with recommendations on future goals and cost-effectiveness tests by July 1, 2022. An order issued in December 2020 authorized the transition to the next three-year program cycle and approved various proposals by the program administrators to continue operating the core energy efficiency programs in 2021-2023.

July 30
IL CC Extreme Weather Preparedness Investigation

The Illinois Commerce Commission is due to receive reply comments regarding utilities’ preparedness to tackle weather-related crises with minimal impact on customers. The commission opened a notice of inquiry in response to the mid-February winter storm event that affected the south-central U.S., forcing natural gas processing plants and compressor stations to shut down. The reduction in supply, coupled with an increase in demand for home heating, caused prices to soar from about $3.50 to nearly $24 per MMBtu between Feb. 10 and Feb. 17, reaching as high as $255 for gas delivered to Illinois by pipelines. The commission is examining a range of topics including current wholesale and retail policies relevant to pricing during an extreme event, cost recovery mechanisms to mitigate the final impacts on utilities and ratepayers, and coordination between water, electric and gas utilities to strengthen resilience and reliability of utility distribution systems.

Western Region

July 26
MO PSC Spire Missouri Rate Case Hearing

The Missouri Public Service Commission will consider Spire Missouri Inc’s. application for adjustments of retail rates and charges applicable to its natural gas service. The Spire Inc. subsidiary asked for an annual revenue increase of $65 million, which would result in a monthly bill increase of $3.28 for the average customer. The company also requested a rebasing of approximately $47 million of the Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge, which is already being recovered in rates. GR-2021-0108

July 30
MI PSC Competitive Procurement Guidelines

The Michigan Public Service Commission is due to receive comments on a report that provides draft competitive procurement guidelines for rate-regulated electric utilities. The report is the result of an August 2020 order that directed the commission staff to convene a workgroup to develop recommended competitive bidding rules or guidance, in order to ensure a technology-neutral market response and value for ratepayers through transparency, equitable access, and certainty in bidding processes. The commission called for guidance that aligns with the planning processes being developed through the collaborative under MI Power Grid, a multi-year stakeholder initiative aimed to maximize the benefits of the shift to clean and distributed energy resources. The agency seeks substantive comments on specific topics including whether it should adopt the guidelines and initiate a rulemaking proceeding for competitive procurement. U-20852

July 30
WA UTC Puget Sound’s Transportation Electrification Plan

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is due to receive comments on Puget Sound Energy’s transportation electrification plan for the 2021-2026 period. The plan details a five-year strategic framework for activities and expenditures that will advance electrified transportation in the state. The company intends to spend approximately $75 million during the period for various transportation electrification products and services. Within the total budget, 25 percent is dedicated to support disadvantaged communities and income eligible customers. The spending projection may be adjusted due to changes in market forecasts and future rate proceedings. READ MORE