Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will hold a Technical Conference to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System from 10 a.m. –  4 p.m. The Commission will also accept written comments regarding the matters discussed at the technical conference. The Commission states that written comments regarding the matters discussed at the conference should be submitted in Docket No. AD15-7-000 on or before July 9, 2015. There will be three informative panels:

Panel I:  2015 State of Reliability Report

This panel will address the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) recently released 2015 State of Reliability report. Here are a few of the questions panelists will address:

  • What does the 2015 report show about the effectiveness of NERC’s reliability activities and related industry efforts? 
  • What progress has been made with respect to the recommendations in the 2014 report and what are the obstacles to continued progress? 
  • What priorities have been identified in the 2015 State of Reliability report and how are these different from the 2014 report? 
  • Does the 2015 report indicate that more resources should be directed to particular reliability risks or areas?  
  • Are there other significant issues that require analysis or changes in the planning and operation of the bulk power system during the next 1-5 years?

Panel II: Emerging Issues

This panel will tackle emerging issues such as changes to our nation’s fuel sources and power supply portfolio, federal and state policies on renewable and other resources, and new environmental regulations. Here is a sampling of the questions panel II will address:

  • What emerging issues are going to challenge NERC and industry? How are these issues being considered in long-term, seasonal and operational planning studies?  
  • What progress has been made by NERC’s Essential Reliability Services Task Force in developing new approaches to the “reliability building blocks” (voltage support, ramping capability, and frequency support) needed for reliability and for ensuring their provision as the resource mix changes? 
  • Are any changes in reliability standards or other regulatory requirements needed or appropriate?  
  • Are additional efforts needed to maintain reliability as the growth of natural gas-fired generation continues? What specific additional improvements still need to be made? 

Panel III: ERO Performance and Initiatives 

NERC identifies various evolving issues that face the bulk power system and develops initiatives to address those issues. Some of the issues Panel III will address include: 

  • Explain the feedback loop from event analysis and compliance monitoring and enforcement to standards development. 
  • What are some examples of how Standards were modified or developed as a result of bulk-power system events?
  • What are the initial results of the risk-based Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program? 
  • What specific improvements to reliability performance, reduction to reliability risks, and increased compliance efficiencies are NERC and the industry experiencing as a result of this initiative?

The conference will be held at:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Commission Meeting Room
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426 

If you can’t get to D.C. today, a free webcast of this event is also available through www.ferc.gov.  A link is posted on the Technical Conference Event page. There you can also find panelists statements and the full agenda.   

On January 30, 2014, via a White House press release, President Obama indicated his nomination of Norman C. Bay, of New Mexico, to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the term expiring June 30, 2018.

Mr. Bay is currently the Director of the Office of Enforcement at the FERC. He has been the Director since July 2009. Before joining the Commission, he was a Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he taught Criminal Law, Evidence, and Constitutional Law. Mr. Bay served in the Department of Justice from 1989 to 2001. From 1989 to 2000, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia and New Mexico. From 2000 to 2001, he was the U.S. Attorney in the District of New Mexico, having been nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate. Prior to his Justice Department service, Mr. Bay was an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of Legal Adviser at the State Department. He also clerked for the Hon. Otto R. Skopil of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Portland, Oregon.

Mr. Bay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.

 

    

The EBA Demand-Side Resources and Smart Grid Committee present:
The FCC and State Regulators Discuss Radio Frequency and Smart Meters.

November 7, 2013
12:30 noon – 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP
2300 N St., N.W., Suite 700
Washington, DC 20037
 

Radio frequency (“RF”) is one of the main reasons customers request to opt-out of smart meters. Often, the number of people protesting smart meters is small compared to a utility’s total customer base. Despite these statistics, the vocal minority has successfully reversed policy in several states – imposing substantial costs on utilities. Are the RF emissions from smart meters really problematic? Are there policy reasons to allow opt-out? What are the FCC rules on RF emissions and should they be considered by PUCs and utilities? This meeting will feature Julius Knapp, the Chief of the FCC’s Office and Engineering and Technology, in a dialog with state regulators regarding smart meters and RF limits. The smart grid community will gather practical information to discuss smart meter health concerns with customers, regulators and other stakeholders.

The speaker panel includes: Julius Knapp, Chief Engineer, Federal Communications Commission; Wayne Gardner, Commissioner Emeritus, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission; Chris Irwin, Smart Grid Standards and Interoperability Coordinator, Department of Energy; and Karen Lefkowitz, Vice President, Business Transformation, Pepco Holdings, Inc.

The panel will be moderated by Linda R. Evers, Shareholder, Stevens & Lee, and Scott Blake Harris, Managing Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, and former General Counsel of the Department of Energy.

A networking lunch sponsored by Stevens & Lee and Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP will run from 12:30 noon – 1:00 p.m. The panel discussion and telephone participation will begin at 1:00 p.m. (EST).

CLE will not be provided.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION
Seating is limited, so please register now to secure your seat. Pre-registration is required by no later than November 1, 2013. If you have questions, please contact Marlo Brown-Carpenter at marlo@eba-net.org. Cancellations must be received in writing by November 1, 2013.

REGISTRATION FEES: On-Site or Teleconference (per person)
EBA Members: $25
Non-Members: $60
Full-Time EBA Student Members: FREE

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to Linda Evers.

The Department of Energy recently announced that NuMat Technologies from Northwestern University won the first-ever DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. As the winning team, Northwestern University was awarded $180,000, which includes seed money for its business plan and additional prizes from sponsors, including technical, design and legal assistance. NuMat Technologies presented a plan to commercialize a nanomaterial that stores gases at lower pressure, reducing infrastructure costs and increasing design flexibility. One potential application for this innovation is in designing tanks to store natural gas more efficiently in motor vehicles. NuMat Technologies won based on its commercialization idea, go-to market strategy, team plan, environmental benefits and potential impact on America’s clean energy economy.

Inspiring some of the country’s best and brightest students to become the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs is crucial to supporting an economy that is built to last,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The winning team from Northwestern University worked to build out a promising new materials technology, develop an effective business plan and sell the idea to potential investors, laying the groundwork for future economic opportunities that will ensure America remains competitive in the global clean energy race.

In the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, students from the top U.S. universities were tasked with forming a complete business plan to commercialize a technology developed at their school or one of the National Labs. Each company pitches to panels of expert judges at the regional levels before they advanced to the final pitch and a chance at the grand prize. Out of 300 student teams nationwide, only six regional finalists made it to the final pitch. The five runners up were:

  •             Mesdi Systems from University of Central Florida
  •             Navillum Nanotechnologies from University of Utah
  •             SolidEnergy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  •             Stanford Nitrogen Group from Stanford University
  •             Radiator Labs from Columbia University

NuMat Technologies beat some tough competition to become the grand prize winner of the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. As a proud alum, I dedicate today’s blog post to Northwestern University. Congratulations Wildcats!

Kavaliro, a national staffing agency, recently launched a free mobile job search app for the iPhone and iPad. The app is designed to interface seamlessly with Kavaliro’s job portal. Being the techie that I am, I couldn’t resist. I downloaded the app to give it a whirl. The app has all kinds of jobs, many unrelated to smart grid. So the first thing I did was type “smart grid” in its search engine. At least eight jobs came up. (Not that I’m looking, but none of the jobs listed were for regulatory attorneys.) The app allows users to browse, filter, and search jobs in the database from their mobile devices. Users can then contact Kavaliro about job openings directly through the app’s builft-in contact form. The app empowers job seekers to quickly and easily search and apply for jobs. Since its launch last week, the app has already been a huge hit with job seekers. Hundreds have downloaded the app and Kavaliro reports the app has been used to apply for 100 jobs.

The Department of Energy recently announced that it has issued a new rule standardizing how private parties applying for DOE assistance should submit trade secrets and other confidential business information. The new rule will give applicants greater assurance that their confidential business information will not be inadvertently disclosed, while enabling the Department to respond more quickly to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The new rule will:

  • Require applicants for DOE assistance to include a notice on the application cover sheet that the document may contain trade secrets or other confidential business information, identifying the pages on which such information is located.
  • Require similar marking for each page containing such information, as well as marking of the specific information the applicant believes to be exempt from disclosure under FOIA.
  • Allow a modified method of identifying such information in application documents submitted through online systems, such as grants.gov.
  • Standardize these requirements across DOE’s financial assistance regulations
    (10 C.F.R. Part 600), as well as its regulations governing technology investment agreements (Part 603), loan guarantees (Part 609), and the ATVM program (Part 611).