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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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Utilities: Want to know how much solar will hurt you? Here are the numbers

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, rooftop solar, rooftop solar impacts, policy and regulation, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, electric utilities
Considering the accelerating rate of rooftop solar adoption, understanding its potential impacts on utility rates and profitability is a task well worth taking on. Researchers at a DOE national lab have produced a detailed report that should help clear up some of the widely debated questions surrounding those possible impacts.

DOE standards for smart grid data privacy open for comment, but time’s running out

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, policy and regulation, smart grid standards, data privacy, electric utilities
The Energy Department’s draft Voluntary Code of Conduct for data privacy related to smart grid technologies is open for public comment, but the deadline is coming up soon. The commend period for the code of conduct, which applies to utilities and third parties, closes on October 14.

No more renewable mandates for New York? (Or energy efficiency either?)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid strategy, smart grid investments, New York energy plan, energy efficiency, renewables
New York isn’t giving up on its commitment to renewables and energy efficiency. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority just wants to change the state’s approach. The agency is proposing a switch from mandates to a program of investments in market development and technology innovation, and incentives for renewables.

Texas is forcing utilities to give home energy monitors to the poor

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy monitors, policy and regulation, home energy management, electric utilities
Texas regulators want utilities to provide low-income customers with ways to reduce their energy bills. Most observers take that to mean smart thermostats or home energy monitors. But home energy monitors have never gone over well with the public. Isn’t there a better use of the money allocated to help the state’s low income customers? Click for more details on the issue.

The march to renewables: Congress may extend and expand tax credits

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, renewable energy, production tax credits, policy and regulation, electric utilities
A bill recently introduced in Congress would extend the production tax credit for wind power and provide the solar industry with the same access to credits at the beginning of project construction. Electric utilities will want to keep an eye on this one because it could affect their plans for future grid upgrades. Click for details on the legislation.

Up or down? The impact of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on electric rates

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, EPA Clean Power Plan, electric rates, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Smart Grid News recently shared comments from an analyst who said there is plenty of evidence that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan could lower electric bills. So it seems only fair to share an interesting perspective that comes to a different conclusion: that retail power prices in coal-dependent states could rise.

The utility that wants to build microgrids for customers (should you do the same?)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, microgrids, policy and regulation, smart grid strategy, electric utilities
Some utilities think of microgrids as a threat, although they very well could be a new business opportunity and one of the ways electric service providers help ensure themselves of a sustainable future. Read the story to learn about the approach Central Hudson Gas & Electric is proposing and why.

Cap and trade -- coming soon to a state near you

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, policy and regulation, cap and trade, EPA, electric utilities
Cap and trade may at first glance seem to have nothing to do with the smart grid, but it would have a profound impact on renewables integration, energy efficiency and more if enacted. While no action is expected from Congress, states could take up cap and trade to help them deal with the new EPA rules on power plant emissions reductions.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan = cheaper electric bills?

Smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, EPA, EPA Clean Power Plan, carbon pollution limits, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Opponents of EPA’s Clean Power Plan have argued that the restrictions on carbon pollution emissions will mean higher power bills for consumers. In an Environmental Defense Fund blog, a climate and air policy specialist counters that the opposite is true, and that there is plenty of evidence that electric rates could be lower with the new standards in place.

Surprise! Federal agencies ARE doing a lot to push energy efficiency, says ACEEE

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, energy efficiency policy, federal agencies
The federal government and Congress generally get low marks for doing much about energy efficiency policy. However, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says if we look instead at the federal agencies there’s plenty of action on efficiency policies that could save Americans a substantial amount of money.

What's the future of utilities? Hawaii has one answer

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, renewable energy, energy efficiency, Hawaii, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Hawaii’s electricity landscape is changing dramatically. In response to demands from regulators, the state’s utilities have provided plans for how they will reduce power bills and meet a target of providing two-thirds of the state’s electricity with renewables by 2030. Hawaii’s experiences will be worth watching because they could provide a glimpse of the not too distant future for other parts of the country.

Could a new tax save the smart grid? This expert thinks so

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, policy and regulation, electricity tariffs, FERC, electric utilities
Law professor Joel Eisen wants the Federal Energy Regulation Commission to consider a tariff on electricity distribution to create an open access grid that would spur innovation and new technology deployment. Read the story to learn more about his proposal and why he believes it will encourage grid transformation.

How California's net metering law is making Elon Musk even richer (and the poor even poorer)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, net metering, policy and regulation, California net metering law, rooftop solar, electric utilities
California’s net metering policy intended that subsidies be paid to electricity customers who produce onsite energy with rooftop solar installations. The problem is that most of those subsidies go to solar leasing companies while customers receive very little. Click for details on a study by the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation that lays out the issues and shortcomings.

How Duke is selling regulators on a $1.9 billion grid upgrade plan for Indiana

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, utility business case, policy and regulation, smart grid strategy, Duke Energy, electric utilities
For a better shot at getting their rate increase plans approved, utilities should focus on what will get regulators’ attention. Click to read about Duke Energy’s proposal for an ambitious grid modernization plan that takes a nuts and bolts and dollars and cents approach and, for the most part, steers clear of potential problem areas.

Net Energy Metering: Subsidy Issues and Regulatory Solutions

As distributed generation (DG) resources grow and comprise a larger share of the energy resources on the nation’s power grid, and as the costs of DG decline, it is critical that these resources are priced appropriately and that subsidies that support them, and the recipients of the subsidies, are transparent to all parties – customers, regulators, legislators, solar providers, and DG advocates. This issue brief illustrates the subsidy created by current state net energy metering (NEM) practices and reveals the need to modify these practices.

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