center for partnerships & innovation

NARUC Center for Partnerships & Innovation

Our Mission

NARUC’s Center for Partnerships & Innovation (CPI) identifies emerging challenges and connects state commissions with expertise and strategies to navigate complex decision-making. We accomplish this by building relationships, developing resources, and delivering training that provides answers to state commissioners’ questions. CPI is funded by cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and charitable sources.

CPI works across four key areas on a wide range of projects: energy infrastructure modernization; electricity system transformation; critical infrastructure, cybersecurity, resilience; and emerging issues. Projects currently address regulatory questions surrounding electricity transmission and distribution, natural gas leak detection, smart grid interoperability, energy efficiency, solar photovoltaics, coal-fired generation, cybersecurity, electric vehicles, and more. Our team works most closely with NARUC’s Committees on Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, and Critical Infrastructure.


What's New / What's Next:

Upcoming CPI Events

CPI Innovation Webinar Series: 

January 16, 2020: Renewable Energy Options for Large Utility Customers

How can utilities help large customers achieve their own renewable energy goals as they approach very high penetrations of renewables? Panelists will provide multiple perspectives that highlight differing views on the future of electric utility regulation in this context as states seek to achieve a reliable, affordable, and flexible power system.

Moderator:

  • Julie Baldwin, Manager, Renewable Energy Section, Michigan Public Service Commission

Speakers:

  • Jeff Lyng, Director of Market Development & Regulatory Affairs, Xcel Energy
  • Daniel King, Team Lead - Product Strategy & Development, Xcel Energy 
  • Stephen Chriss, Director, Energy and Strategy Analysis, Walmart Stores, Inc.
  • Lori Bird, U.S. Energy Program Director, World Resources Institute
  • Lisa Schwartz, Deputy Leader, Electricity Markets and Policy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Register here

 

February 20, 2020: Who You Gonna Call? How Commissions Coordinate with their Partners During Energy Emergencies

Last year, NARUC’s Center for Partnerships and Innovation released a Mini-Guide on State Agency Coordination During Energy-Related Emergencies. This webinar will serve as an overview of that document and highlight key takeaways. Webinar participants should expect to learn more about the following:

  • How do state energy offices, public utility commissions, and state emergency management agencies coordinate prior to and during energy emergencies? What works well? What doesn’t?
  • What traits do states with good energy emergency coordination possess?

Panelists will discuss their experiences coordinating with their state partners during energy emergencies and relay the methods they use for improving state preparedness. Tune in on February 20 for an insightful, exciting, and informative discussion!

Moderator: Commissioner Jay Balasbas, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Speakers:

  • Megan Levy, Local Energy Programs Manager & Energy Assurance Coordinator at the Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation
  • Lisa Gorsuch, Emergency Preparedness Manager, Oregon Public Utility Commission
  • Patrick Cox, Deputy Director, Operations Division at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Register here

 

Other webinars:

January 23, 2020: NCEP National Association Coordination

The National Council on Electricity Policy (NCEP) supports collaboration and coordination between state agencies focused on electricity issues and their respective associations. At state and local levels, members collaborate and coordinate with other state and local agencies in order to meet overarching public interest objectives. Similarly, NCEP has longstanding relationships with other national associations to coordinate work products and events to serve members.

On this webinar, national association staff leaders will provide an update on their work products and events so that all NCEP members may benefit from these efforts. Speakers will highlight work products available and forthcoming that are relevant to multiple agencies, particularly those that touch on inter-agency coordination and NCEP's current theme, transmission and distribution system coordination. Related issues likely to be discussed include electric vehicles, carbon capture utilization and storage, cybersecurity, emergency management, and grid modernization.

Associations who will speak during the webinar include: the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Governors Association (NGA), the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, and the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA).

Register here

 

January 27, 2020: Recent Changes to U.S. Coal Plant Operations and Current Compensation Practices

Over the last decade, the U.S. electric power sector has gone through one of the most dramatic changes in its existence. The combination of low natural gas prices and significant reduction in construction and operating costs for renewable resources has resulted in a significant shift away from coal-fired generation, and instead towards natural gas and renewable generation. This shift has impacted existing coal-fired electric generating units in a number of ways, pressuring them to operate as load-following or cycling resources rather than traditional baseload resources. On this webinar, the author of "Recent Changes to U.S. Coal Plant Operations and Current Compensation Practices," a December 2019 publication from NARUC through the U.S. Department of Energy/NARUC Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Partnership, will present an overview of this new resource for state commissions. The discussion will cover the causes, magnitude, and possible solutions to this emerging issue for coal-fired generation.

Moderator: Commissioner Kara Fornstrom, Wyoming

Speaker: Phillip Graeter, Energy Ventures Analysis

There will be time for questions after the presentation. This webinar is free and open to the public.

Register here

 

January 30, 2020: Coal Ash Law and Commercialization: Questions and Opportunities for State Regulators

For decades, utilities and state agencies have pursued multiple pathways to managing coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal to generate electricity. Estimates for the total cost of complying with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2015 final rule for the disposal of coal combustion residuals run well into the billions for some larger utilities. As utilities develop plans for managing their coal ash, state public utility commissions are dealing with difficult questions around controlling and allocating the costs of compliance and cleanup. On this webinar, two experts in coal ash law and regulation will present an overview of "A Comprehensive Survey of Coal Ash Law and Commercialization: Its Environmental Risks, Disposal Regulation, and Beneficial Use Markets," a December 2019 publication from NARUC through the U.S. Department of Energy/NARUC Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Partnership. The speakers will also discuss recent developments with Duke Energy in North Carolina, which provides a useful case study for state regulators.

Moderator: Commissioner Jeremy Oden, Alabama

Speakers:

  • Maria Seidler, Principal, Seidler Consulting LLC
  • Ken Malloy, Executive Director, CRISIS & Energy Markets

There will be time for questions after the presentation. This webinar is free and open to the public.

Register here

 

Papers, trainings, and more

New paper!

Electric Vehicles: Key Trends, Issues, and Considerations for State Regulators

NARUC has released a new issue brief on electric vehicles and the important role of public utility commissions. Electric Vehicles: Key Trends, Issues, and Considerations for State Regulators examines trends in EV adoption, provides a synopsis of the types of decisions commissions are facing and offers examples of recent state regulatory approaches to EV questions. The issue brief outlines the key issues and perspectives that commissions will likely hear related to who owns charging infrastructure and how best to encourage charging during off-peak hours through rate design options and managed charging.

Download it here

 

New paper!

Cybersecurity Glossary

The Glossary contains cybersecurity terms used throughout the Cybersecurity Manual, as well as “terms of art” that utilities may use during discussions with PUCs.

Download it here

 

New paper!

Cybersecurity Preparedness Evaluation Tool

The CPET provides a structured approach for PUCs to use in assessing the maturity of a utility’s cybersecurity risk management program and gauging capability improvements over time. The CPET is designed to be used with the Questions for Utilities on an iterative basis to help PUCs identify cybersecurity gaps, spur utilities’ adoption of additional mitigation strategies, and inform cybersecurity investment decisions. 

Download it here

 

New paper!

Understanding Cybersecurity Preparedness: Questions for Utilities

The Questions for Utilities provides a set of comprehensive, context-sensitive questions that PUCs can ask of a utility to gain a detailed understanding of its current cybersecurity risk management program and practices. The questions build upon and add to those included in prior NARUC publications.

Download it here

 

New paper!

Sampling of Methane Emissions Detection Technologies and Practices for Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure: An Educational Handbook for State Regulators

Committee on Gas Chair Diane X. Burman is pleased to present a new publication from the U.S. Department of Energy-NARUC Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership on methane emissions detection technologies. Sampling of Methane Emissions Detection Technologies and Practices for Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure: An Educational Handbook for State Regulators summarizes why methane leaks occur in the context of the natural gas distribution network. The handbook then identifies existing and emerging leak detection technologies and practices, outlines partnerships to further the development of novel tools, and helps facilitate the exchange of information on these new and emerging technologies. Regulators can use the handbook to stay up to date on innovations associated with methane emissions detection technologies and best practices for natural gas distribution infrastructure.

Download it here

 

New mini guides!

 

Mini Guides from the National Council on Electricity Policy

The NCEP mini guide series promotes inter-agency dialogue by highlighting examples of successful engagement across NCEP members. Each mini guide features collaborative approaches, lessons learned, and interviews with leading state and local decision makers. The first three publications in the series are now available.

Download the mini guide for state legislatures here

Download the mini guide for local goverments here

Download the mini guide for state agency coordination during energy-related emergencies here

 

The Value of Resilience for Distributed Energy Resources: An Overview of Current Analytical Practices

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, along with Converge Strategies LLC, has released new research that reviews methodologies to quantify the value of energy resilience, particularly as it relates to investments in distributed energy resources. This report examines both regulatory decision-making and non-regulatory cost-benefit analyses to determine if, and how, a value of resilience was calculated and applied. 

Four specific criteria were used to evaluate the methodologies, which include the method’s ease of use, scope of outputs, geographic scalability and power interruption duration analysis capability. Recent cases were examined where requests to recover the costs of microgrid investments from ratepayers were considered by state public utility commissions—two in Maryland and one in Illinois. The Value of Resilience also presents several trends in regulatory approaches to resilience, centering on the lack of a standardized approach to determining value. 

Download it here

 


Games with CPI

CPI has developed game-style trainings for regulators, commission staff, legislators, energy officials, and anyone who wants to be better informed about energy policy. These trainings consist of a presentation by Lab staff followed by an interactive gameplay session. We can adapt these trainings to benefit energy experts and novices alike.

We currently offer trainings on: 

  • distribution system planning; 
  • utility risk management; and
  • utility business models and performance-based regulation. 

Check out our brief video demo of the MegaModel utility business model game (duration: 7 minutes). The game explores performance-based and cost-of-service regulation for vertically integrated and restructured utilities. 

We have offered these trainings for the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, the National Association of State Energy Officials and National Conference of State Legislatures, Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the Legislative Energy Horizons Institute, and other energy sector decision-makers. 

 

 

Cybersecurity Primer for State Regulators, 3.0

This third edition of NARUC’s cyber primer for regulators explores issues including cost recovery, information protection, supply chain issues, management of insider threats, and links to risk management processes. It also offers guidance for how state commissions can engage proactively and strategically by building on best practices of leading state in the field. It also provides twice the number of sample questions as version 2.0 of the primer that  help explore how utilities are making prudent investments in cyber-preparedness. The report can be found here.


Center for Partnerships & Innovation Staff

Have a question? We’re friendly and here to help!

Danielle Byrnett, Director
Lynn Costantini, Deputy Director
Kerry Worthington, Senior Manager
Kiera Zitelman, Senior Manager
Matthew Acho, Program Officer
Charles Harper, Program Officer
Dominic Liberatore, Logistics and Finance Officer

 

Projects

We have a number of currently active projects.

  • Electricity Policy Innovation (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • State Electricity Regulators Technical Assistance (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Partnership (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Energy Assurance & Critical Infrastructure Protection (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership (Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Smart Grid (Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce)
  • Resilient Distributed Energy Resources (Funded by the National Renewable Energy Lab)