CPES Policy Committee Update: June 21, 2016

This update features policy, regulatory, legislative, and regional developments in Connecticut and New England. The policy updates are compiled by a team recently formed with support from CPES, known as the New Energy Professionals. If you are interested in learning more about the New Energy Professionals, the Policy Committee, or if you have ideas for future policy updates, we would welcome your input and feedback. Please send comments to Paul Brady, CPES Executive Director, via email: pbrady@ctpower.org.

This week’s features:

  • ISO New England Prepares for Summer
  • FERC’s Clark comments on hybrid markets
  • Comments on the 2016 Comprehensive Energy Strategy


Connecticut Policy/Regulatory Update: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Scoping comments for the 2016 Comprehensive Energy Strategy were due to be filed with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on June 14, 2016. The comments filed by various stakeholders are now available for review at the following link.


Regional and Industry Developments

Beating the Heat: How ISO New England Prepares for Summer Peak Demand

As the region enters the summer season, ISO New England prepares for conditions unique to the hot, humid summer months. Peak demand brought on by warmer weather and an increased reliance on energy-intensive technologies, such as air conditioning, can create complex challenges for the grid operator. According to the ISO’s summer outlook, New England is expected to have adequate electricity supplies to meet consumer demand this summer under normal weather and power system conditions. However, work on Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) natural gas pipeline expansion project may limit delivery of natural gas to some power plants in the region.

To maintain a reliable supply of electricity to New England’s residents and businesses, the ISO’s System Operations team must rely on carefully planned procedures to increase power generation and curb consumption during periods when demand for electricity threatens to exceed available capacity and reserves. High consumer demand or unplanned resource outages—when a transmission line or generator suddenly goes offline—are typically the reasons for these procedures to be enacted.

For more information on how ISO New England prepares for summer peak demand, see the ISO Newswire.


FERC’s Clark sees ‘really unsustainable future’ in hybrid markets

BISMARCK, N.D. — Disputes playing out in deregulated states like Illinois and Ohio over proposed subsidies for aging power plants highlight a key challenge facing the electricity industry at a critical juncture in its evolution, said Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Tony Clark.  “This issue is one that is going to be a huge issue between FERC and the states in those regions of the country that not only have real-time markets, but that have also chosen to restructure their electricity industry,” said Clark, whose term ends at the end of the month.  The former North Dakota utility regulator was back in his home state this week for the Mid-America Regulatory Conference, an association of regulatory commissioners and staff from 14 central states. He was the featured speaker at yesterday morning’s wrap-up session.  Clark said the tension between states and FERC doesn’t affect most central states, where vertically integrated utilities have retail electric rates set by state commissions. But the issue looms large in restructured states where FERC-regulated wholesale markets are relied upon to signal when to invest in or close old power plants or build new ones.

There is an ongoing debate in states including Illinois and Ohio over keeping certain unprofitable coal and nuclear plants running to preserve jobs and taxes and other policy reasons.  Clark said those out-of-market solutions pose a problem: specifically that those states have previously chosen to let the market dictate investment decisions.  “If you have lots and lots of out-of-market constructs that basically negate the price formation that’s happening in the market, you end up with a really, really unsustainable future,” he said.  http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060038896