Virginia Clean Economy Act Faces Critical Test in Dominion RPS Filing

Posted by Harry Godfrey on Feb 18, 2021 11:30:00 AM

VA Dominion Renewable Procurement

A little less than a year ago, Virginia made history by passing the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) and becoming the first Southern state to establish a 100% clean energy standard. Today, the VCEA faces one of its first critical tests, as the State Corporation Commission (SCC) considers Dominion’s 2020 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) filing – the utility’s first under the law’s new binding standard. Will the Commission find in favor of the utility, ruling only on the basis of the projects Dominion proposes to build and contract for? Or will the Commission consider the utility’s proposal within the broader context of the law, which pushes utilities to meet their RPS requirements through a variety of means to ensure lowest cost, as AEE and a number of other intervenors propose? It is our hope that the Commission will look at the forest, not just the trees – and set Dominion on the right clean-energy course for Virginia’s families and businesses.

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Topics: State Policy, PUCs, Virginia

In Arizona, an All-Out Assault on the ACC’s Clean Energy Rules

Posted by Shelby Stults on Feb 8, 2021 6:00:00 PM

ACC under assault over 100% clean rules

This post was updated Feb. 17, 2021 at 6:31 PM to reflect updated action on another bill, HB2737, that intends to add duplicative ACC oversight. See last section.

Arizona Legislators have the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in the crosshairs this legislative session with a series of bills aimed directly at stripping commission  authority. HB2248 and SB1175 revoke the authority of the ACC to adopt or enforce policy related to electrical generation resources made after June 30, 2020. The bills purport to clarify the constitutional authority of the commission to regulate utilities, in the process stripping the commission of its  authority to create and enforce energy policy. Indeed the real purpose of these bills seems to be squashing the 100% clean energy rules the ACC gave initial approval to last fall and are now in the process of finalizing.

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Topics: State Policy, PUCs, Arizona

Time to Stop Sticking Hoosiers with the Bill for Running Coal Plants at a Loss

Posted by Sarah Steinberg on Jan 13, 2021 11:23:50 AM

IN Self-Scheduling proposed order-745

Over the past several months, our Indiana team has been intervening in a proceeding before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to examine Duke Energy Indiana’s coal self-commitment practices. Self-commitment refers to a process by which a utility instructs the regional market within which it operates – in this case, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) – to dispatch the utility’s own resource unit regardless of whether or not it is the cheapest available at the time. Many vertically integrated utilities have been using this mechanism to run their expensive coal plants more frequently than economics would otherwise dictate. They do this because it is not their shareholders who suffer financial losses, but rather their captive ratepayers: When the cost to operate these units exceeds the market clearing price, utilities pass along the difference to customers, in part through fuel adjustment clause proceedings. AEE is working to curb this self-serving utility practice.

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Topics: PUCs, Regulatory, Wholesale Markets

Top 10 Utility Regulation Trends of 2020

Posted by Noah Garcia on Dec 21, 2020 1:59:58 PM

Top 10 Utility Regulation Trends 2020-745

In August, we published our list of the top 10 utility regulation trends of 2020, so far. With a tumultuous 2020 largely in the rearview mirror, we now look back on the 10 trends that defined the utility regulatory arena this year. It is difficult to overstate the influence COVID has had on virtually every facet of the energy sector – and utilities were no exception. Nor is it possible to ignore the impact that extreme weather events have had on utility planning and operations. On top of that, the outcome of the presidential election promises to shape the federal energy regulatory landscape for years to come. Because of – or  perhaps in spite of – these transformational shifts, advanced energy is well-positioned for continued growth in 2021.

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Topics: PUCs, 21st Century Electricity System, Year in Review, Utility, Regulatory

In Indiana, Fighting the Secret Bailout for Coal Plants: ‘Self-Scheduling’

Posted by Sarah Steinberg and Robert Stoddard on Sep 22, 2020 2:00:00 PM

Indiana Coal Self-Schedule border-745

The decline of coal has been well documented over the last decade, as it has gone from the majority electricity resource in the United States to less than a third of current power generation. At the same time, there have been many policy attempts to stop the retirement of uneconomic coal. For the first two years of the Trump Administration, several attempts were made – including use of the now-famous Defense Production Act – to bail out coal plants across the country. And some state legislatures – most notably in Indiana – have tried to keep utilities from transitioning from coal to advanced energy solutions. Now, the practice of “self-scheduling” coal plants – i.e., running them even when they are not the cheapest resource available for customers – is emerging as a coal-protection mechanism, especially in the MISO and SPP markets. In the first half of 2020, several state commissions, including the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, have begun to more closely review whether utilities under their jurisdiction engage in this practice. In July, Advanced Energy Economy intervened in an Indiana proceeding to argue against Duke Energy Indiana’s self-scheduling practice and teamed up with Berkeley Research Group to show how advanced energy resources can replace these coal plants and save Indiana ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  

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Topics: PUCs, Regulatory, Wholesale Markets