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Changes in electric power regulation can unleash billion-dollar markets overnight. Or stall progress for years. Explore this section for links to guidelines, resources and case studies.

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Why California's new building code is good for Google (but dangerous for utilities)

smart grid, modern grid, energy efficiency, building energy efficiency standards, California energy efficiency standards, policy and regulation, electric utilities
It appears that California’s new building energy efficiency standards will have primarily good implications for utilities. They are expected to eventually have a better way to reap the benefits of automated demand response, for example. But there are dangers, too. Click to get the details.

More scary news about grid vulnerabilities (and how utilities are getting the blame)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, cybersecurity, cyber attacks, electric utilities
Amid all the news stories focused on grid vulnerabilities comes this gem: the owner of a small technology firm found that breaching the grid is easy, surprisingly easy. His warning? If he can do it, a country or someone with more resources certainly could.

More evidence utilities need to push energy efficiency

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Two new reports will likely ratchet up efforts to require utilities to make more energy efficiency gains than their existing programs now provide. Click to get familiar with the reports and why it is important for utilities to talk with regulators about how to get recognition for the energy efficiency improvements they have made.

Damned if you do department: Senators chasing those who reveal grid vulnerabilities

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, cybersecurity, FERC
Utilities have been pushed to share more about their grid vulnerabilities over the years to stay ahead of threats. But now two U.S. Senators are calling for an investigation into a leak involving sensitive FERC information on possible grid weaknesses. They’re alarmed at the possible consequences if that information should fall into the wrong hands and do not want it shared.

What Homeland Security wants utilities to know and do

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid security, physical security, cybersecurity, policy and regulation, Homeland Security, electric utilities
Physical and cybersecurity are attracting a lot of scrutiny from inside and outside the energy industry… from agencies like NERC, members of Congress and now, the Department of Homeland Security. Click to read a Q&A with a Homeland Security official on the agency’s revised National Infrastructure Protection Plan and its recommendations.

Ouch! Minnesota's net metering formula may distress utilities

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, renewable energy, solar power, rooftop solar, net metering, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Minnesota’s effort to develop a fair way to determine the value of solar energy with a new net metering formula may not sit all that well with utilities, particularly if they were expecting it to increase the worth of their grid services. Click for details on the state’s new formula and what the outcome could be.

Will the Feds take over grid security?

smart grid, modern grid, security, grid security, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Electric utilities have taken a lot of flak for not doing enough to protect the grid. Now, two U.S. congressmen have introduced legislation to give the federal government a larger role in policing the electric power industry. Unless the industry moves quickly and effectively to confront security issues, regulations eventually will come from outside.

Why California's demand response programs are failing (and how to fix them)

smart grid, modern grid, demand response, California demand response, DR, policy and regulation, electric utilities
California’s demand response programs haven’t been a success story. And utilities had underperformed in their efforts to meet peak demand reduction goals, according to a state energy commission report, possibly opening the door to third-party aggregators. While there are changes that could be made to boost utility performance, it’s unfortunate they aren’t likely to come soon.

Coming to your territory soon? More jurisdictions require energy storage

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, energy storage mandates, policy and regulation, electric utilities
It all started when California required utilities to store much of the electricity they produce. Now jurisdictions in other parts of the world are pushing storage too. Click to read how and where the trend continues. Is it time for utilities to start talking with regulators about future energy storage plans?

Massachusetts pushes to stay #1 in energy efficiency (and what it means for your state)

smart grid, modern grid, energy efficiency, energy efficiency mandates, Massachusetts, electric utilities
Massachusetts has been named the country’s most energy-efficient state for the past three years and continues to press for even greater levels of efficiency. Utilities in other areas would be wise to keep an eye on Massachusetts because they could soon see the same or similar efficiency requirements in their
own jurisdictions.

Psssst! Pass these substation security ideas along to NERC. (Right now.)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid security, physical security, FERC, NERC, substations, electric utilities
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently told the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to develop a new physical security standard, and NERC has less than 90 days to do it. Doug Houseman of EnerNex has obviously put some serious thought into the issue and shares some very good ideas on substation security. Click to read what he has to say.

Utility dinosaurs: Here are five plans for your survival

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid strategy, policy and regulation, electric utility business model
If utility executives want to transform today’s outdated utility business model into one they can live with they had better get busy. If not, someone else is likely to do it for them. Several organizations already have made proposals in an effort to sway regulators. Click to see examples of what they’re recommending.

Even RMI agrees that grid defection doesn't make sense

smart grid, modern grid, renewables, solar power, rooftop solar, grid parity, Rocky Mountain Institute, utility business model, electric utilities
Grid defection, the concept that electric utility customers will take it upon themselves to provide their own power and abandon the electric grid, has been a hot topic within both the solar and utility industries. While the Rocky Mountain Institute, a renewables and efficiency advocacy organization, released a report recently saying utilities are on their last legs, it has now come out with a blog post suggesting that grid defection is a bad idea. Click to learn more.

Smart grid security: WSJ reveals we're 10 bullets away from an 18-month blackout

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid security, cybersecurity, physical security, power blackouts, policy and regulation, FERC, electric utilities
Members of Congress recently have been drawn to electric grid and grid security issues. Whether they’re grandstanding or not, the attention is welcome if it will help get serious grid security planning and standards moving faster. Click to learn why Senator Dianne Feinstein is pushing FERC to do more for physical protection of the grid.

David Crane: No, you fool, utilities are not “shockingly stupid”

smart grid, modern grid, policy and regulation, Smart Grid 101, utiity management, electric utilities
Utility CEOs as a group are generally considered conservative or slow to react by many people, and they may have a point. But some critics refer to them as stupid, while failing to consider the regulatory environment they have to work with. Click to read our take on why the critics with the “utilities are stupid” point of view are so very far off base.

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