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: 

September 19, 2019: Nature vs. Infrastructure: Understanding Threats and Options for Energy Resilience.

Wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, and other natural disasters are growing more frequent and severe. These events have the potential to cause widespread, prolonged outages. On this webinar, speakers will share strategies on collaboration between the federal government, state public utility commissions, utilities, and other stakeholders to ensure that energy infrastructure, particularly the electricity distribution system, is resilient to these growing threats. 
This discussion will offer perspectives on the following questions: 
- How are utilities hardening distribution infrastructure to deal with extreme weather? 
- What does resilience mean to energy regulators, and how is it measured? 
- What tools are available to understand the costs and benefits of storm hardening and resilience investments? 
Time will be available for Q&A after the speakers. 

Moderator: Commissioner Tim Echols, Georgia Public Service Commission
Speakers: 
- Craig Zamuda, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Energy
- Pete Larsen, Deputy, Electricity Markets & Policy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
- Brian D'Agostino, Director of Fire Science & Climate Adaptation, and Katie Giannecchini, Meteorologist, San Diego Gas & Electric

Register here

 

October 10, 2019: The Volkswagen Settlement: An Electrifying Opportunity for EV Charging. Funds from the VW settlement present an excellent one-time opportunity for states to shore up their electric vehicle charging infrastructure---if they can navigate the required interagency coordination.

Register here

 

November 7, 2019: Using Energy Efficiency to Meet Peak Demand. Hear about new analysis showing that energy efficiency can be a cost-effective option for meeting peak power needs, along with early approaches to valuing time-sensitive savings from efficiency.

Register here

 

December 12, 2019: Dream Machine: The U.S. Energy Research & Development (R&D) Ecosystem. How do research institutions (National Labs, utilities, universities, entrepreneurs) connect with regulators? We will review the nexus between R&D and utility regulation and share some exciting technologies nearing deployment.

Register here

 

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Site Visit to Virginia and Tennessee

October 16 – 18, 2019

Commissioners are invited to join a site visit to the Bristol area in October 2019, under the DOE-NARUC Carbon Capture, Storage, and Utilization Partnership. This visit will highlight Appalachian coal production and two methods of using local coal to produce electricity and valuable products while lowering environmental impacts.

Tour highlights:

  • Eastman Chemical Company's Kingsport Integrated Coal Gasification Facility in Kingsport, TN: Opened in 1983, this facility uses Texaco's coal gasification technology to process Central Appalachian coal into syngas, ultimately producing acetyl chemicals. 
  • Dominion Energy's Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in St. Paul, VA: This 600-MW plant uses circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology to produce electricity from a mix of biomass and coal.
  • Coronado Coal's Buchanan Mine Complex in Raven, VA: This underground mine, operating since 1983, produced 4.9 megatons of low-volatile metallurgical coal in 2017. It is one of the largest and most cost-competitive metallurgical coal mines in the Central Appalachian Basin.

Travel reimbursement is available to commissioners thanks to NARUC's partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. Contact Kiera Zitelman at kzitelman@naruc.org to RSVP and request reimbursement information.

 

Papers, trainings, and more

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 two publications in the series are now available, with more on the way.

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)