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: 

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 and the National Council on Electricity Policy 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

 

Papers, trainings, and more

New paper!

Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Replacement and Modernization: A Review of State Programs

Natural gas is an essential fuel for the U.S. economy, providing fuel for heating, electricity, and other services to customers. However, natural gas delivery infrastructure is aging, and technologies that were novel at the time of installation may no longer hold that position. Thus, thoughtful communication among state regulators on what states are doing to promote and facilitate such replacement is appropriate. State public utility commissioners oversee the safety, reliability, and affordability of gas infrastructure, working closely with local gas distribution companies (LDCs) and gas utilities to ensure that customer revenues are disbursed to further the public interest. Commissions and state legislatures have instituted a number of policies and regulations setting forth objectives and methods to remove and replace aging infrastructure. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Energy-NARUC Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership, chaired by Commissioner Diane X. Burman of the New York State Public Service Commission, decided to produce this informational handbook summarizing state programs currently in use. The handbook was authored by Andreas Thanos of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, Chair of NARUC's Staff Subcommittee on Gas, and Kiera Zitelman of NARUC's Center for Partnerships & Innovation. 

Download it here

 

New paper!

A Comprehensive Survey of Coal Ash Law and Commercialization: Its Environmental Risks, Disposal Regulation, and Beneficial Use Markets

This white paper summarizes a major regulation, Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities; Final Rule issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 17, 2015, on coal ash disposal and remediation of disposal sites, which has significant implications to states. It subjects state environmental agencies and public utility commissions to regulatory responsibilities to implement federal regulations under the Final Rule and oversee the cost implications on electric customers. Members of the NARUC Subcommittee on Clean Coal and Carbon Management, along with DOE and NARUC staff and other state public utility commissioners, helped to conceptualize and guide this resource as a tool to assist state public utility commissions in understanding markets, regulations, and policy relevant to coal ash, including recent EPA rulemakings. This paper was authored by Maria Seidler and Ken Malloy and was produced under the U.S. Department of Energy-NARUC Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Partnership. 

Download it here

 

New paper!

Recent Changes to U.S. Coal Plant Operations and Current Compensation Practices

A new white paper commissioned by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners examines the impacts of changes in the electricity generation mix on operating coal-fired power plants. Recent Changes to U.S. Coal Plant Operations and Current Compensation Practices explores the ongoing shift from coal generation towards natural gas and renewables. The report offers an overview of strategies for coal plant owners and operators to manage costs while providing flexible electricity. The report, developed under the Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization Partnership between NARUC and the U.S. Department of Energy, was authored by Phillip Graeter and Seth Schwartz, of Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. 

Download it here

 

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)