Lawyers say what they really think about changing policies.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
Lawyers get a bad rap in this country, and in some cases it’s well earned. However, during the month of October I enjoyed the distinct privilege of interviewing nearly a dozen of the industry’s most insightful, informed and hard-working people—all of them law-firm lawyers serving energy companies, regulatory agencies and customer groups.
Service quality suffers under PBR framework.
Francis J. Cronin and Stephen Motluk
Building upon last month’s installment, more is revealed on how, after 10 years of incentive regulation, reliability has declined in Ontario.
Intelligent infrastructure requires an intelligent policy framework.
A new grid efficiency framework will bring a new understanding between regulators and utilities that allows the industry to advance in cutting carbon emissions and improving system efficiencies, while maintaining reliability.
How much efficiency do ratepayers need—and utilities want?
When the applause dies down, the smart grid may turn out to be its own worst enemy. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) explained this irony in comments it filed in May, after the FERC asked the industry for policy ideas on the smart grid.
Reliability declines after 10 years of incentive regulation.
Francis J. Cronin and Stephen Motluk
After 10 years of incentive regulation, reliability has declined in Ontario. Regulators failed to enforce service-quality standards, and consumers are suffering as a result.
Who will oversee the industry’s cyber standards?
Darren Reece Highfill and Vishant Shah
Who will oversee the industry’s cyber standards? Effective security calls for a single organization to set standards that will protect the smart grid. The industry is struggling to reach consensus over authority, scope and funding for its new security apparatus.
The intelligent grid cannot be achieved without energy storage.
Rick Nicholson and Nadav Enbar
While much has been written about the intelligent grid of late, little attention has been focused on the role of energy storage in achieving its expected benefits. Energy storage is an essential component of the intelligent grid. Energy storage provides greater grid integration of variable renewable energy resource output (e.g., wind, solar); improved system reliability via the provision of grid regulation services; and peak demand reductions and, in turn, deferred capital spending on new and upgraded transmission and distribution assets.
Utilities hurry up and wait to apply for grant money.
The American Recovery and Restructuring Act (ARRA, or the Recovery Act), signed into law in February, provides $4.5 billion in stimulus funding for programs aimed at “electricity delivery and energy reliability activities to modernize the electric grid.” This funding commitment, and swirl of industry and lawmaker activities since, has helped lift the smart-grid agenda out of the shadows of utility engineering departments and into the public’s broader view.
ITC and AEP jockey for the lead in building the grid of tomorrow.
On February 9, a group of the nation’s major grid system operators released a study estimating the nation’s electric industry sector needs to spend some $80 billion—more than 10 times the size of that portion of the Obama stimulus package directed specifically at transmission construction—in order to achieve a 20 percent retail penetration for renewable wind energy in just the Eastern Interconnection.
Intelligent networks support better decision making.
Sophocles once said, “Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.” Apparently Sophocles did not work in the utility industry. Utilities must make quick decisions every day to maintain a safe and reliable grid. As they have learned, the key to a quick and safe decision is making a well-informed decision. Yet utilities face challenges in providing enough information for their employees and automated systems to make these types of decisions.