Power Grid/Smart Grid

Judges side with FERC, greens on transmission reforms

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's 2011 reform of regional electricity transmission planning and cost allocation rules, which environmental groups hailed as a victory in their campaign to get more renewable generation onto the grid.

Utilities and trade groups, however, criticized the rejection of legal challenges to the commission's Order 1000 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. They opposed the order on grounds that consumers could be forced to pay for transmission lines they don't use, and that state and local control over the grid will be weakened.

Grid issues provide massive windfall for traders

Source: 
The New York Times

Traders like DC Energy reap in profits from congestion contracts, designed to help power companies offset higher costs in periods of high demand on the grid, but targeted by investment companies primed to cash in on the opportunities, The New York Times reports.

Battle sharpening in Texas over Houston Import Project

Source: 
E&E

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is defending its plans for a $600 million transmission line to Houston in the face of opposition from several major utilities, E&E reports, noting the state’s Public Utility Commission will hold hearings on the matter later this year.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Photo

LaFleur named chair of FERC, Bay to take over in April

The White House on Friday made good on its deal with Senate Democrats to name Cheryl LaFleur to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the next nine months.

In a brief announcement, FERC said the White House named LaFleur chairman for a term that will end April 15 of next year, when incoming commissioner Norman Bay will be named chairman. She took the post effective on Wednesday.

FERC turns down industry proposal to boost grid security

Source: 
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

Source: 
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

Source: 
Platts

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.

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