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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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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.

Electric power: Why you'll soon be collaborating with water utilities

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart water, electric and water utility collaboration
It may seem unusual to say electric and water utilities should work together. They provide entirely different services and aren’t managed or regulated the same, so what’s the point? But the two are interdependent as the historic California drought makes very clear and, as an Environmental Defense Fund post points out, collaboration is inevitable… even though there are initial challenges to be worked out.

Warning: California is rewriting the financial rules for utilities. Will your region be next?

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, policy and regulation, distributed energy, renewable energy, California Public Utilities Commission, electric utilities
The California Public Utilities Commission is rewriting requirements for how utilities value distributed energy resources. Guest author Tom Osterhus says the changes will bring new value opportunities, but will be dangerous for utilities that fail to adapt. Click to read his explanation of what those changes will look like and what their impact will likely be.

Australia and Europe have a power problem -- too MUCH power

smart grid, global smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, Australia, Europe, power surplus, electric utilities
Australia and Europe have far more energy than they need. In Australia, it’s a matter of economics and reduced demand. In Europe, renewable energy subsidies led to the oversupply. Click to learn what the fallout will be as both regions respond to their energy gluts.

Future of utilities: New England may opt for "outcomes-based" regulations

smart grid, modern grid, policy and regulation, grid optimization, U.S. Northeast, grid modernization
The northeast region of the country is undergoing major changes that include rapid adoption of distributed generation, electric vehicles, smart buildings and more. Plus demands from regulators and ratepayers for a more resilient and dependable grid. Read the story for a look at the New England Clean Energy Council’s vision of the electricity future.

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