Finding that the cutting-edge technology proposed to be used by a wind power developer in constructing an offshore wind energy facility could improve both the state’s economy and its demographics, the Maine Public Utilities Commission authorized the developer, Statoil North America, to proceed with its plans for the pilot project. The commission reported that the most intriguing aspect of the developer’s plan was its reliance on a novel “spar buoy” design that would make the Hywind Maine project the country’s first offshore floating wind farm.
Legal and regulatory changes are transforming the industry.
This year has marked a sea change in energy policy, from environmental compliance to transmission pricing. Fortnightly interviews top lawyers to better understand how regulatory developments are affecting the power and gas industries.
Bringing flexibility and efficiency to energy RFPs.
With the introduction of retail competition in the electricity industry, regulatory authorities in many jurisdictions are now overseeing the purchase of electricity at wholesale by electric utilities for customers that do not otherwise obtain supply from independent retailers. There are two primary ways in which, under the supervision of regulatory authorities, electric utilities purchase electricity for these non-shopping customers: through simultaneous descending clock auctions or through fairly common sealed-bid auctions, commonly known as Requests for Proposals.
A billion-dollar ‘gold rush’ could send grid rates through the roof.
Money may be difficult to come by for Wall Street financiers in these dark days, but apparently not for electric transmission construction—at least so far. A rash of recent orders from FERC shows that generous financial incentives remain available to companies seeking to expand the nation’s grid capacity.
New England is leading the way toward a future that is both cleaner and provides greater electric reliability at reduced cost. New England Independent System Operator (ISO-NE) has created an innovative mechanism that addresses concerns about ensuring adequate energy capacity by allowing the cleanest and lowest-cost resources to be used to meet the nation’s power needs.
PJM loses luster in a squabble over market monitoring.
The bottom fell out in the hearing room at FERC on April 5 when witness Joseph Bowring let it slip that, yes, he might well prefer more independence from his employer in his role as chief of the market monitoring unit at the PJM Interconnection.
FERC mulls rival plans at the last minute, while on the West Coast, California gets into the game.
FERC, the ISO, and many other parties had seen no reason for further debate over the need for a location-specific capacity market. By limiting debate, FERC had foreclosed a raft of competing ideas. When the moment finally arrived for the oral argument at FERC, attorneys and witnesses attempted valiantly in the precious few minutes allotted each speaker to flesh out new ideas, and the commissioners struggled as well to keep up. This highly unusual situation made for a helter-skelter hearing, with new topics seeming to come out of the woodwork.
Should transmission owners get paid extra for distance and voltage?
FERC faces a growing chorus of rebellion on earnings incentives.
"If I may say, today, we the states are the chosen ones." That was Virginia utility commissioner Hullihen ("Hulli") W. Moore, speaking on the phone in January with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Pat Wood and other federal and state regulators, trying to untangle the business of transmission reform.