If you are new to the industry or simply want to brush up on the basics, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) consider the recently released Reliability Primer a gift. The comprehensive manual not only provides an overview of the FERC’s role in overseeing the reliable operation of the power grid, it provides a great overview of the electric power system. It should be required reading for electric utility employees, especially new hires and those with legal or regulatory responsibilities. This manual helps newcomers develop foundational knowledge in an industry riddled with acronyms and jargon. Its title, Reliability Primer, could very well have been Electricity 101 and 102.

Starting on page 10, the Primer begins with the basics, providing a detailed discussion about the three main functions of the electric system; generation, transmission and distribution. In the discussion regarding generation, the Primer explains the various types of power plants, ranging from thermal to renewables such as wind and solar. Data on energy sources is also provided. With the fracking boom, it is not surprising that natural gas is the leader with coal and nuclear rounding out the top three fuel sources.

If you want to understand the FERC’s authority under the Federal Power Act (FPA), section III of the Primer provides a detailed discussion. It explains the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the FERC’s implementation of Section 215 of the FPA. The reader will gain an understanding of the FERC’s authority and oversight in the development and enforcement of mandatory reliability standards for the nation’s bulk power grid. The FERC states the Primer is written to be used as a traditional text or reference manual and I agree. 

DOE, EPA and the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) are co-sponsoring the 2011 Green Power Leadership Awards. The awards serve to recognize the leading actions of organizations, programs and individuals that significantly advance the development of green power sources. Nominations are due June 21, 2011. Self-nominations or nominations on behalf of another party are accepted. There is no limit to the number of nominations that can be submitted per party or under any award category. With eleven different award categories, surely there is a green leader you know.

Award Categories


EPA Award Categories

  • Green Power Partner of the Year: Recognizes Partners who distinguish themselves through their purchase, leadership, overall strategy, and impact on the green power market.
  • Green Power Community of the Year: EPA Green Power Communities that distinguish themselves through their green power usage, leadership, citizen engagement, renewable energy strategy, and impact on the green power market.
  • On-site Generation: Recognizes Partners who distinguish themselves using on-site renewable energy applications including, but not limited to, solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy projects.
  • Green Power Purchase: Recognizes Partners who distinguish themselves through purchases of green power from a utility green-pricing program, a competitive green marketer, or a renewable energy certificate (REC) supplier.

DOE Award Categories

  •  Utility Green Power Program of the Year: Recognizes utilities that are leaders in designing and implementing a voluntary renewable energy offering. This category is open to all utilities (municipal, rural electric cooperative, or investor-owned utility) offering voluntary renewable energy programs to their customers.
  • Non-Utility Green Power Supplier of the Year: Recognizes non-utility providers (e.g., marketer or other entity) that supply renewable energy to residential or nonresidential consumers who make voluntary purchases of renewable energy.
  • Innovative Green Power Program of the Year: Recognizes organizations that are advancing green power markets through innovative approaches to delivering green power to the marketplace. This category is open to all utilities offering voluntary renewable energy programs to their customers or non-utility providers.

CRS Award Categories

  • Best Marketing Campaign by a Green Power Supplier: To recognize an innovative marketing campaign by green power suppliers. Marketing materials and themes that are inventive and original will be recognized. Materials used across all media (print, radio, TV, Web, and collateral materials) are eligible for entry.
  • Best Green Power Education Outreach Program: To recognize effective and unique outreach programs focusing on education related to green power. This award will honor work that spreads the word about the environmental benefits of green power and efforts to boost public interest in renewable energy.
  • Best Marketing Campaign by a Green Power Purchaser: To recognize an outstanding promotional campaign by a purchaser of green power. This award will honor a company or organization that has purchased or generated green power and has actively promoted their use of green power internally or externally in an innovative or compelling way.
  • Green Power Pioneer: To recognize cutting-edge outreach efforts by an individual for helping to create the green power industry. The pioneer award will acknowledge continuous achievement, vision, and dedications to green power.