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RTO Insider: Regulators Propose New Independent Western RTO

Posted by Hudson Sangree & Robert Mullin on Jul 14, 2023

RTO Insider examines the possibility of a Western RTO, citing Advanced Energy United's support for this region's hopes to develop a west-wide wholesale market.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The competition for organized markets in the West grew Friday as the Bonneville Power Administration launched a process to choose between day-ahead markets proposed by CAISO and SPP and regulators from five Western states urged the establishment of a new, independent RTO covering the entire West.

“This group proposes the creation of an entity that could serve as a means for delivering a market that includes all states in the Western Interconnection, including California, with independent governance,” regulators from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington wrote to the chairs of the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) and the Committee on Regional Electric Power Cooperation (CREPC).

The entity “could provide a full range of regional transmission operator services, utilizing a contract for services” with CAISO including eventual “assumption” of CAISO’s proposed Extended Day Ahead Market (EDAM) and its real-time Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM).

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Topics: United In The News, New Mexico, Western RTO, California, Arizona

Spectrum News 13: Texas, California, Missouri among states receiving $207M to modernize power grid

Posted by Reena Diamante on Jul 13, 2023

Spectrum News 13 reports on a hefty federal grant that will be dispersed across nine states and three tribal nations to improve grid resiliency, quoting Matthew Boms' hopes that this be a catalyst for more forward-thinking plans toward advanced clean energy technologies in Texas.

The triple-digit heat baking Texas is pushing demand for electricity to record levels, and to keep the power flowing during extreme weather, the Biden administration is providing tens of millions of dollars to the state — part of a $207 million total grant across nine states and three tribal nations — to improve the resiliency of the state’s beleaguered electric grid.

Operators of the Texas power grid say there is enough capacity to meet the expected demand for electricity during the brutal heat wave that's currently sweeping across the southern half of the United States. But the devastating power outages that struck during the 2021 winter storm, which caused a state-reported 246 deaths, continue to raise questions about the grid’s ability to withstand extreme weather.

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Topics: United In The News, Texas, Matthew Boms

Solar Industry Magazine: Michigan Budget Invests Big in Clean Energy Transition

Posted by Valerie Swiantek on Jul 3, 2023

Solar Industry Magazine reviews Michigan's fiscal year 2024 budget with significant allocations toward advanced energy technologies and greenhouse gas reductions, quoting Samarth Medakkar on how this will help boost the already-growing clean economy in the state.

The Michigan legislature passed a fiscal year 2024 budget which received bipartisan support and will go into effect immediately after approval from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The state budget makes key investments in infrastructure including advanced energy, which will add jobs to the state’s strong clean energy industry while improving grid resiliency, lowering energy bills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This budget represents a historic investment in Michigan’s infrastructure and doubles down on the jobs that are part of the fastest growing industry sectors in the nation,” says Samarth Medakkar, Michigan state lead for Advanced Energy United, the national association of businesses working to achieve 100% clean energy and electrified transportation.

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Topics: United In The News, Michigan, Samarth Medakkar

Miami Herald: ‘A baffling decision’: DeSantis vetoes bipartisan bill to buy Florida more electric cars

Posted by Alex Harris on Jun 30, 2023

Miami Herald sheds light on Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis' decision to veto a bill that would have saved the Sunshine State's taxpayers millions of dollars, quoting Michael Weiss about the negative impacts of this unanticipated ruling.

A bill modernizing how Florida buys state vehicles, a change that would have saved a ton of money and likely led to more electric cars and trucks, came with rare bipartisan backing from the Florida Legislature.

It was sponsored by a Republican and passed with a nearly unanimous vote in the majority Republican legislature. It was endorsed by two groups often at odds, the Sierra Club and the Florida Natural Gas Association. Estimates suggest it could have saved hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars and cut down on the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

But late Wednesday night, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed it in a surprise decision that also seemed to go against his past history of support for electric cars.

“This veto is a baffling decision that will cost Florida taxpayers millions of dollars,” Michael Weiss, Florida state lead at Advanced Energy United, a trade group promoting clean transportation that supported the bill, said in a statement. “The Florida Legislature saw the clear economic and taxpayer benefits of a modern and efficient state fleet, but Gov. DeSantis somehow didn’t get the memo.”

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Topics: United In The News, Michael Weiss, Florida

Utility Dive: Grassroots buy-in will be vital to transmission buildout, say clean energy experts

Posted by Diana DiGangi on Jun 22, 2023

Utility Dive examines the role grassroots can play in leading the nation through its transmission obstacles, quoting Verna Mandez on the need for states to take more initiative.

As clean energy production ramps up, transmission reform is becoming a major priority for the renewables industry. Tens of thousands of megawatts of wind and solar capacity are in the interconnection queue, waiting to be able to connect to the grid.

The debt ceiling agreement reached by Congress and the White House earlier this month contained reforms to permitting, but not transmission. It instead requires the North American Electric Reliability Corp., or NERC, to study interregional transmission capacity needs between regions over 18 months.

“That will take time, it will take at least two years for that study to be completed,” Kasotia said in an interview. “So, personally, I do believe it’s going to delay meaningful action on transmission reform. I felt it was not a genuine request to address the transmission understanding or transmission knowledge that congressional members don’t have.”

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Topics: United In The News, Transmission, Verna Mandez

Utility Dive: Nevada revamps IRP process, opens path for NV Energy to own more renewables and storage

Posted by Robert Walton on Jun 21, 2023

Utility Dive reports on the passing of a bill that may undermine Nevada's transition to more affordable and accessible clean energies, quoting Sarah Steinberg on how the legislation could jeopardize the state’s regional clean energy leadership.

Clean energy advocates and conservation groups say AB 524 makes significant improvements to the state’s IRP process — and if NV Energy can build new resources at the lowest cost, then so be it.

“If that makes sense for Nevadans, sure. But it needs to go through the IRP process,” said Christi Cabrera-Georgeson, deputy director of the Nevada Conservation League.

NV Energy last year proposed a 400 MW gas peaker plant through an IRP amendment. It was approved in March, but opponents say the process did not allow for sufficient public input or review. 

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Topics: United In The News, Sarah Steinberg, Nevada

Indianapolis Business Journal: Trish Demeter and Ed Burgess: A fateful choice looms for Indiana’s electricity grid

Posted by Ed Burgess on Jun 9, 2023

Indianapolis Business Journal publishes an article on the future of Indiana's electricity grid written by United's Trish Demeter and Ed Burgess from Strategen.

Much has changed since Indiana’s electric utilities last issued their plans to power Hoosier homes and businesses—fossil fuel prices, supply chains, federal policies, geopolitics and technologies, to name just a few.

These changes have opened new opportunities to offer customers lower energy prices and cleaner air. But if Indiana utilities move ahead with their current proposals that ignore these rapidly evolving market conditions, they will waste their customers’ money on 20th century strategies and technologies. Don’t Hoosiers deserve better options for an affordable, reliable and modern grid?

Four of the state’s largest electric utilities—CenterPoint, Duke Energy Indiana, Indiana Michigan Power and Northern Indiana Public Service Co.—have proposed replacing coal-fi red powerplants with natural-gas-fueled plants. It’s like upgrading from a1995 Toyota Corolla to a 2005 Toyota Corolla when, for the same price or less, you could have a Ford Mustang Mach-e. It would be irresponsible for these utilities to not reconsider their plans before breaking ground on new projects when changing market conditions make potentially cost-saving and innovative solutions available.

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Topics: United In The News, Indiana, Trish Demeter

Canary Media: Clean energy dodges a bullet in the Texas legislature

Posted by Jeff St. John on May 31, 2023

Canary Media reports on the outcome of the recently concluded Texas legislative session, quoting Matthew Boms on how the legislature avoided passing bills that would have derailed the state's clean energy industry's efforts.

The best thing that Doug Lewin, president of Texas-based energy consultancy Stoic Energy, can say about the just-concluded Texas legislative session is that it could have been much, much worse. 

Lawmakers failed to pass bills that would have helped stabilize and clean up the Texas grid, but at least they also, at the last minute, avoided passing bills that would have crushed the state’s clean energy industry.

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Topics: United In The News, Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance, Texas, Matthew Boms

PV Magazine: Clearway, Enel executives propose three ways to fix utility-scale interconnection

Posted by William Driscoll on May 30, 2023

PV Magazine highlights major takeaways from United's May 2023 webinar on interconnection processes and potential solutions, quoting Caitlin Marquis on the need for significant reform to make the interconnection transition more efficient.

The “efficient process solution” to interconnecting large-scale renewables and storage “is a combination of the ‘connect and manage’ interconnection approach with comprehensive regional transmission planning,” said Hannah Muller, head of markets and policy at Clearway Energy Group, on a webinar hosted by Advanced Energy United.

Greg Geller, vice president and head of regulatory affairs for Enel North America, said on the webinar that he also favors both approaches, and explained their advantages.

Advanced Energy United presented the webinar as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is completing work on a rule aiming to increase the speed and reduce the costs of interconnecting utility-scale renewable and storage projects. Muller and Geller focused their recommendations on further improvements that could be instituted after FERC issues its rule.

Explaining the “connect and manage” approach, Geller said “assume you have a 200 MW project.” Some transmission system operators, he said, study projects based on how they will be dispatched “in real time. And if in real time that project would cause a constraint” if 200 MW were dispatched, a “connect and manage” approach would instead dispatch 100 MW for the time period needed.

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Topics: United In The News, Caitlin Marquis, FERC

Bloomberg Law: Clean Grid Developers See Teeth in Federal Permitting Deadlines

Posted by Daniel Moore on May 24, 2023

Bloomberg Law examines the Department of Energy's recent establishment of a 2-year regulatory review process, quoting Brian Turner's perspective on the importance of the federal government's involvement in the nation's transition to a 100% clean energy economy.

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Topics: Regulatory, United In The News, Brian Turner