Although 2021 is only halfway through, state utility regulators and regional grid operators have had their hands full considering issues at the cutting edge of the energy transition. How can utilities develop resource plans that align with state policy goals? How do all those mobile batteries in the growing fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) get integrated with the grid? How can customers be helped to make smarter energy decisions? These questions and more are on the docket in 2021, and Advanced Energy Economy has been tracking how regulators are tackling these complex issues. Even just halfway in, the regulatory trends from across the country suggest that 2021 will be another transformational year for advanced energy.
Since January, Advanced Energy Economy has been tracking hundreds of pieces of energy-related legislation filed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States Congress. With some sessions already over and some just beginning, a number of trends have begun to emerge. Of course, just getting filed does not mean a bill will become law, or even that it stands much of a chance at all. But the patterns that arise in our survey of filed bills, which is by no means exhaustive, say a lot about what’s on lawmakers’ minds. And of course, some bills are already on the move. In what follows, bills with an asterisk have passed one house of its legislature as of May 25; two asterisks means that the bill has passed both houses (click through to see if it has been signed into law). We’ll be back this fall to catch up on what legislation has made it all the way to gubernatorial desks. For now, here is a look at our top 10 energy issues generating legislative activity across the country.
After Grid Outages from Winter Storms, the Texas Legislature Faces a Blizzard of Bills. Here’s How to Track Them.
Texas’ February winter weather emergency dominated energy news nationwide. Now it’s dominating proposals in the Texas legislature. Following historic electricity outages, it’s no surprise grid reliability issues have come to the forefront of lawmakers’ priority list, with proposed legislation focusing on everything from distributed energy resources to various commission reforms. We turned to AEE’s PowerSuite to parse out which bills at play in the Lone Star State are generating the most buzz and share the measures we’re keeping our eyes on.
Navigating the arcane world of Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) is nearly impossible – yet critically important for companies that do business in wholesale markets, or hope to.
RTOs/ISOs largely develop the rules for participating in regional wholesale electricity markets (energy, capacity, and ancillary services). These rules have a massive impact by expanding, complicating or eliminating market barriers for advanced energy technology in seven regions that serve a total of over 200 million electricity customers.
Can’t find toilet paper or eggs at the grocery store? We can’t help you there. But we can help you find everything you need to know about what’s happening in state public utility commission dockets and legislation around the country related to energy and COVID-19. And since schools are closed and many of us are trying to figure out how to make learning fun, we’ll do this in the form of an interactive map, which we’ll keep regularly updated in PowerSuite, and a coronavirus acrostic:
Note: The original full length story can be found on blog.aee.net
A decision handed down by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on a seemingly obscure issue in one regional power market threatens to have far ranging impact on the cost of electricity, the future of state policy, and the ability for advanced energy to compete – and win, as it has been doing – in the marketplace. FERC’s policy change is purportedly intended to address the “price suppression” in competitive wholesale power markets allegedly caused by resources that are supported by state policies like renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and zero emission credit (ZEC) policies. But what FERC’s decision will actually do is limit the ability of advanced energy resources to participate in the nation’s largest electricity market, force customers from New Jersey to Ohio to pay twice for the generating capacity they need, steer funds to existing coal and natural gas power plants that are otherwise redundant, and undermine state policies that are explicitly intended to promote advanced energy deployment. How it will do so is complicated, but potentially devastating to the advanced energy economy that has been steadily growing in the United States.
Note the original more detailed story can be found on blog.aee.net
Top 10 regulation trends of 2019:
- 100% clean energy by…?
- Falling cost of renewables and storage driving resource plans
- Aligning utility performance with policy goals
- Utilities planning for electric transportation
- DER integration and investments in a modern grid
- Energy efficiency, load shifting, and building decarbonization
- Valuing DERs for their contributions to the grid
- Wildfire prevention and protection
- Customers making their own energy choices
- Non-wires alternative mechanisms
As AEE has previously discussed in detail that "Public Utility Commissions (PUCs) or their equivalent in each state serve as a replacement for the competitive market. In exchange for granting the exclusive right to sell electricity in a given service territory, PUCs determine how much the utility is allowed to invest and in what, how much it can charge, and what its profit margin can be. This is called the “regulatory compact,” and it was first laid out in the Binghamton Bridge Supreme Court case of 1865." This framework is mostly played out via recurring utility rate cases.
Not only do PUCs determine a utility’s total revenue requirement rate cases, the commissions oversee other major regulatory changes that impact over $100 billion in energy investments each year. Major policies like renewable energy portfolio standards (or now frequently called clean energy standards), energy efficiency resource standards, integrated resource plans, grid modernization, energy storage, electric vehicle, net metering and more have a massive impact on market opportunities and risks across the country.
In 2018 alone, our Trending feature helped our users identify over 50 major "Watch List" topics