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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: Utilities


NASEO Releases Working Paper on Least Cost, Energy Efficiency Approaches to Address EPA's Clean Power Plan

National Association of  State Energy Officials (NASEO), July 31, 2015.

"On July 31, 2015, NASEO released its working paper “Energy Efficiency Strategies for Clean Power Plan Compliance: Approaches and Selected Case Studies” to support state consideration of “no regrets” and often least-cost energy efficiency strategies for prospective Clean Power Plan (CPP) compliance.  While NASEO has not taken a position on the CPP, we are working to ensure states are given wide flexibility in addressing key reliability, affordability, and other state imperatives. Energy efficiency approaches offer among the most cost-effective means to meet both air quality and energy goals, while also supporting energy system reliability.

The NASEO paper discusses the case for energy efficiency and explores some high-level issues of state compliance strategy

Clean Power Plan Toolbox for States

Environmental Protection Agency, Aug. 4, 2015.

"Resources to help develop state plans: As co-regulators, states will develop plans to meet the guidelines in the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The federal resources below provide information on state plan development and can help states determine the most cost-effective approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. Please note that inclusion of a measure in the toolbox does not mean that a state plan must include that measure. In addition, inclusion of these measures does not necessarily imply the approvability of an approach or method for use in a state plan. States will need to demonstrate that any measure included in a state plan meets all relevant criteria and adequately addresses elements of the plan components."

EPA Releases Clean Power Plan

The National Law Review, Aug. 4, 2015., by Stephen L. Miller, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC.

"On August 3, 2015, President Obama and EPA Administrator McCarthy released the agency’s Clean Power Plan, regulations designed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from power plants, as well as promoting low-emitting power sources and energy efficiency. These sweeping new rules may revolutionize the nation’s power generation system, and will be challenged vigorously in federal court."

Includes links to the Plan, as well as other related fact sheets and key documents.

Opportunities for Action on Energy Management Information Systems for Industrial Customers: A Report for Program Administrators

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), July 29, 2015, by Chad Gilless.

"This report helps NEEA's funders and other program administrators determine how to move forward with energy management information systems (EMIS) with their industrial customers. It offers ideas for the future as well as immediate next steps for program administrators.

This publication builds on NEEA’s Inventory of Industrial Energy Management Information Systems (EMIS) for M&V Applications, and on two new guides - the
Guide to Selecting an EMIS and the Guide to Using an EMIS."

Landmark Northwest Study Reveals Smart Grid Pros and Cons

Public Power Daily, July 20, 2015, by Elisa Wood.

"A recently completed $178-million Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project led by Battelle demonstrated that smart grids are more efficient and resilient, according to a project report. The demonstration project was the largest of 16 smart grid demonstration projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The effort encompassed more than 60,000 metered customers, many of them served by public power utilities in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming."

Includes links to an Executive Summary and the full report.

Green Doesn’t Mean What it Used To in Today’s Utility Industry: How Utilities are Dealing with Legalized Marijuana

Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin, July 2015, by Lance Robertson. (Scroll of jump to page 26.)

"Utilities are looking at a number of issues, concerns, and opportunities, from the amount of electricity the cannabis industry uses to ensuring that the added power demand won’t reduce the reliability or safety of localized electric distribution systems. Many public utilities also are concerned that increased demand for electricity will force them to raise electric rates for all customers, while a handful of utilities see the emerging commercial cannabis industry as an opportunity to boost revenues lost due to the lingering effects of the Great Recession in the Pacific Northwest."

New Program Preps Northwest College Students for Careers in Energy

Northwest Public Power Association Bulleting, June 2015, by Joel Scruggs. [Scroll to page 12.]

"Attracting new talent is a key challenge facing the utility industry.... So the Bonneville Power Administration [BPA] has rolled out a new program designed to get more young people engaged. 'We’re giving students an opportunity to explore solutions to real-world technical challenges in the electric utility industry,' said BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer. The program, known as the Northwest Energy Experience (NW Energy XP), pairs teams of university students and faculty across various disciplines with BPA subject matter experts in special study projects."

Utilities and Customers are Embracing Community Solar -- Is Your Utility Next?

Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin, June 2015, by Joel Scruggs. [Scroll to page 26.]

"A quick survey of our utility members showed that while NWPPA utilities in every state they represent have customers and members with solar projects/net-metering projects on their own property, not many have community solar projects. However,  ...the word is out about them and many utilities are weighing the pros and cons of community solar — several members have even built one or are starting the process."

Going Solar: Options Abound for Co-ops Committed to Harnessing the Sun

Rural Electric Magazine, June 2015, by Cathy Cash.

"Co-op creativity is on display in trail-blazing integrations of  PV systems."

How to Make the Utility of the Future an Energy-Efficient One: New ACEEE Report Series

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), June 10, 2015, by Maggie Molina. "Utilities have traditionally earned profits by simply selling more energy and building more power plants and infrastructure, which put their financial motivations squarely at odds with the goal of greater energy efficiency. Luckily, that business model has started to change, which is good news for the nation’s economy, environment, and for consumers who want more options for saving energy in their homes and businesses. With the proper regulatory tools in place, utilities’ financial motivations can be aligned with energy efficiency outcomes. ACEEE has been researching this issue for years, and today we are releasing a series of three new reports on a range of topics related to utility business models and energy efficiency." 1) Policies Matter: Creating a Foundation for an Energy-Efficient Utility of the Future 2) Beyond Carrots for Utilities: A Nat ... Read the rest of entry »


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