Power Grid/Smart Grid

FERC turns down industry proposal to boost grid security

The Wall Street Journal

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a proposal submitted by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. to boost grid security, saying its guidelines for utilities to protect their power stations need strengthening, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Researchers urge U.S. to act on grid security

The Wall Street Journal

The Congressional Research Service and the nonprofit Battelle Memorial Institute urged the U.S. government to take swift action to improve physical security at the electric grid, arguing efforts by utilities may fall short of the most effective security system, The Wall Street Journal reports.

California mandates flexible capacity framework


It’s a first step toward handling increasing renewable energy generation: California’s Public Utilities Commission Thursday decided that electricity operators need to acquire flexible capacity, Platts reports.

2 universities in DC make deal to buy solar power

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two universities in the nation's capital have agreed to a major energy deal to buy more than half their power from three new solar power farms that will be built in North Carolina, the schools announced Monday night.

George Washington University, American University and the George Washington University Hospital announced the 20-year agreement with Duke Energy Renewables to reduce their carbon footprints by directly tapping solar energy.

The Capital Partners Solar Project will break ground this summer near Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Once fully operational in 2015 with 243,000 solar panels, the three solar farms are expected to generate 123 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Planners said that translates to eliminating about 60,000 metric tons of carbon emissions per year or taking 12,500 cars off the road.

Energy Guardian

Obama will keep LaFleur as FERC chief for 9 months

The White House on Wednesday confirmed that it has agreed to keep Cheryl LaFleur as the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for an additional nine months after the Senate confirms her to a second term, rather than install nominee Norman Bay to the post immediately upon his confirmation.

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the White House signed off on a deal brokered by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., to have LaFleur, the acting chair at FERC, remain in the post while Bay gets experience on the commission.

That deal paved the way for Bay, FERC's enforcement chief, to win endorsement earlier in the day from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on a vote that was nearly along party lines. Landrieu is chair of the panel.

Energy Guardian Photo

Landrieu nears deal to advance FERC nominee Bay

Sen. Mary Landrieu on Tuesday moved closer toward a deal that would advance through her committee President Barack Obama's nominee to become the nation's top energy regulator, though final details were still being negotiated in advance of a vote planned for Wednesday.

Landrieu, D-La., Senate Energy and Natural Resources chair, said the full terms of the appointment of Norman Bay to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission were not yet agreed on.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Landrieu set to bring Bay, LaFleur to committee vote

President Barack Obama's nominee to become the nation's top energy regulator, Norman Bay, will get a vote next week in committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu said Wednesday, as Democrats sounded increasingly confident they can overcome Republican concerns.

"We have not finalized anything, talks are still going on," said Landrieu, D-La., who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "But there will absolutely be a markup next week."

Bay will become FERC chair, Reid vows

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he expects Norman Bay to be confirmed by the Senate and made chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Talks are underway among senators to secure a commitment to keep the acting chair of FERC, Cheryl LaFleur, in that post for some time after she is confirmed to a new five-year term, in return for confirmation of Bay as a member of the commission.

The proposal would seek to address concerns by Republicans and a key Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee about Bay's lack of experience as an energy markets regulator.

But Reid, D-Nev., who has publicly backed Bay to become chair over LaFleur, was unequivocal that he sees him taking the top job. "He's been nominated as chairman, so we're working through that, I think we'll be fine," Reid said. "Norman Bay will wind up being chair of FERC."

Senate Democrats

Analysis: Reid's shadow over FERC

For the second time in a year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has turned what should be a noncontroversial appointment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into yet another headache.

First, it was former Colorado electricity regulator Ron Binz last fall, bowing out of his nomination to chair FERC in the face of opposition by Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va. over his views on natural gas and coal.

Now Reid is faced with finding a way to confirm President Barack Obama's followup nominee for chairman, Norman Bay.

FERC photo

FERC nominee Bay says grid can handle Obama carbon rule

President Barack Obama's nominee to become the nation's top electricity regulator isn't buying assertions coming from critics of power plant carbon regulations, who contend reliability could be undermined by the 30 percent emissions cut proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Norman Bay, nominated to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said in written answers to questions raised by members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that planning by industry, regulators and grid operators "can help anticipate and address any potential implications for resource adequacy and reliability."


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