Increasing renewable generation threatens reliability.
An increased reliance on renewable energy could threaten reliability of the nation’s electric transmission grids by reducing the rotational mass and rotational inertia of on-line turbine generators, thus, reducing the capability of generators to respond to drops in voltage frequency. In fact, data collected from 1994 to 2009 for the Eastern Interconnection already reveals a drop in the grid’s capability (as measured in megawatts) to stop a very rapid drop in frequency — such as a drop of a tenth of a cycle per second.
(August 2010) Exelon named Kathleen Barrón vice president of federal regulatory affairs and policy. American Electric Power (AEP) promoted A. Wade Smith to president and COO for AEP Texas. El Paso Electric promoted Mary E. Kipp to serve as senior v.p., general counsel and chief compliance officer. Chesapeake Utilities promoted Elaine B. Bittner to v.p. of strategic development, and she retains the position as v.p. of natural gas pipeline subsidiary, Eastern Shore Natural Gas. And others.
FERC owns more than one enforcement tool. Besides civil penalties, it can require compliance plans or disgorgement of unjust profits, or condition, suspend, or revoke market-based rate authority, NGA certificate authority, or NGA blanket certificate authority. And lacking criminal penalty authority itself, FERC can refer matters to the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Moreover, while defining an organization as any entity other than a natural person, FERC nevertheless will continue to determine civil penalties for natural person violators, looking to the guidelines for guidance in setting such penalties.
Synchronizing networks to bring green power to market.
In order to fully integrate wind and other dispersed sources of energy into the system, America’s patchwork transmission networks need to be more closely interconnected and synchronized. An advocate for the Tres Amigas merchant transmission project explains how the proposed facility will integrate the grid.
Setting the stage for conservation.
America’s electric utilities understand their central role in taking efficiency and conservation to the next level. Accordingly, the industry has nearly doubled its spending on efficiency measures in the past few years. But encouraging customers to save energy won’t be enough to keep pace with the electricity demands of a growing digital economy. The country’s efficiency efforts will be most effective as part of a clean energy portfolio strategy.
Bringing fairness to FERC enforcement.
FERC’s proposed penalty guidelines provide the opportunity for improved regulation. More practical and consistent characteristics for determining penalty fine ranges will increase penalty predictability for industry violations of federal regulations—and will make FERC’s enforcement more fair and transparent.
California defends its cogen feed-in tariff—complete with its own virtual carbon tax.
California’s new feed-in tariff (FIT) is creating a burgeoning market for green energy investments, but the policy has sparked a fierce battle over state authority to dictate wholesale power transactions. A federal case will determine whether the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act pre-empts states from requiring purchases that exceed utilities’ avoided cost.
Constitutional questions about state-mandated renewable tariffs.
Despite state efforts to follow the European model of state-mandated feed-in tariffs to promote renewable power, these actions won’t pass Constitutional muster. The Supremacy Clause makes a formidable legal barrier.
(June 2010) SueDeen Kelly joins Patton Boggs as partner; Chairman Pat Wood III elected to First Wind board; CMS names Mamatha Chamarthi as the company’s first CIO; Executive changes at Centerpoint, Constellation, Duke, FirstEnergy, TransCanada, Tres Amigas, UniSource; Black & Veatch, Navigant; EPRI, NARUC, New York ISO, and more.
Forecasting brings wind energy under control.
Advancements in forecasting have improved the reliability of day-ahead and hour-ahead estimates of wind generation. Wind never will behave like a base-load power plant. But as system operators integrate wind forecasts into their planning and market processes, they’re transforming intermittent wind energy into a variable but reliable resource.