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 Webinars


Upcoming CPI webinars

        August 15, 2019: NARUC Innovation Webinar: Grid Valuation Framework Guidelines 

        3:00-4:00pm ET / 12:00-1:00pm PT

        Across the electric power industry, a diverse stakeholder community applies a variety of methodologies to assess the value of different actions. These options range from investments in generation, transmission, or distribution assets to compensation mechanisms for distributed technologies to any other policies or projects in the electricity sector. The resulting value assessments often vary widely for the same or similar types of projects. In response to this phenomenon, the Valuation Framework Guidelines document offers a framework that provides guidance to those who seek or rely on valuation studies for:

        • Implementation of clear, transparent, and repeatable valuation processes; and
        • Practices that can generate results that are easier for decision makers and the broader stakeholder community to understand, interpret and compare.

        The Valuation Framework Guidelines document is an output of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium project, “Grid Services and Technologies Valuation Framework Development”. A team of national laboratory personnel have organized its development through a review of existing valuations and standards, experience with valuation exercises, and discussions with a stakeholder advisory group (SAG) comprised of industry, regulators, and other organizations. This webinar summarizes the guidelines surrounding the framework.

        Register here


        Previous CPI Webinars

        July 15, 2019: Briefing on Tax Credits for Carbon Capture & Storage: An Update on Treasury Guidance

        2:00-3:00pm ET / 11:00am-12:00pm PT

        In February 2018, the Bipartisan Budget Act expanded and extended tax credits for carbon capture and storage (CCS), providing up to $35 per ton of captured carbon used in enhanced oil recovery or up to $50 per ton of sequestered carbon. Carbon capture advocates cheered the bill as an important boost for CCS projects. However, the law left many decisions for the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service to address in future guidance. On May 2, the IRS issued a request for comments on issues related to the tax credits, the first step in developing regulatory guidance. On this webinar, experts from Van Ness Feldman LLP and Steptoe & Johnson LLP summarized the questions to be answered in guidance and highlighted issues of particular importance to state public utility commissions.

        Moderator: Hon. Jeremy Oden, Alabama


        • Michael Platner, Senior Tax Counsel, Van Ness Feldman LLP
        • Hunter Johnston, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
        • Lisa Zarlenga, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP


        July 9, 2019: The 411: Cybersecurity Fundamentals that Drive Infrastructure Resilience

        Cybersecurity threats to infrastructure are growing and consequences could be devastating. This webinar highlights key cybersecurity principles and how electric and gas utilities implement them to enhance resilience.


        June 27, 2019: NARUC-NASEO Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning webinar: Hawaii Advanced Visualization Energy Nexus (HAVEN) 

        3:00-4:00pm ET / 12:00-1:00pm PT / 9:00am-10:00am HT

        The analysis of outputs from energy planning models is often difficult to understand. This is especially true when explaining the impacts of complex, integrated data sets to stakeholders and policy makers who may not be well-versed in the data and models used in the analyses. It was under these circumstances that the Hawaii State Energy Office partnered with the University of Hawaii’s Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications, Hawaiian Electric Companies, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to initiate the Hawaii Advanced Visualization Energy Nexus (HAVEN) project. HAVEN is an open source data visualization tool that Hawaii is developing to analyze and communicate the tradeoffs and interdependencies of energy resource plans. It will be available for other states to use at no cost.


        June 13, 2019: Energy Efficiency and Emerging Technology: How State Programs Can Drive Innovation and Deliver Benefits

        Energy efficiency (EE) programs have reduced electricity consumption and saved ratepayers money for decades. With new technologies entering the market, how are states changing the way they look at EE programs? This moderated discussion provides an overview of state efforts to enhance EE programs to deliver environmental, economic, and social benefits by expanding the definition of energy efficiency, directing strategic utility investments, and improving cost-benefit analyses of a wide range of EE solutions. Panelists discussed recent legislation and regulatory developments in Massachusetts that can serve as learning opportunities for other states as well as a broader view of other efforts to grow the EE toolkit.

        Moderator: Commissioner Ann Rendahl, Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission


        • Maggie McCarey, Energy Efficiency Division Director, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
        • Todd Olinsky-Paul, Project Director, Clean Energy Group
        • Pat Stanton, Director of Policy, E4TheFuture

        View presentation

        Webinar recording on the NARUC YouTube page

        May 16, 2019: Stakeholder Involvement in Integrated Distribution Planning

        Stakeholders are a key party for all Commissions with stakeholder engagement techniques vary from state to state. On this webinar, we take a closer look at a recent, robust stakeholder process in the District of Columbia, called "Modernizing the Energy Delivery System for Increased Sustainability" (MEDSIS). 

        Moderator: Wally Nixon, Commission Legal Advisor, Arkansas Public Service Commission


        • Naza Shelley, Attorney Advisor, DC Public Service Commission
        • Susan Mora, Director of Utility Innovation, Exelon/Pepco
        • Sharon Allan, Chief Innovation Officer, Smart Electric Power Alliance

        View presentation 

        Webinar recording on the NARUC YouTube page

        April 11, 2019: Lessons Learned in Applying Performance Incentive Mechanisms

        This webinar explored what regulators can learn from past efforts to use performance incentive mechanisms to enhance utility regulation. Performance incentive mechanisms (PIMs) are one regulatory, outcome-based, revenue recovery augmentation tool that provides a financial incentive for the utility to meet performance goals. Traditionally, PIMs have been used to drive improvements in specific public policy goals such as energy efficiency, service quality, and, at times, demand response and customer service. Lately, states are looking to apply PIMs to broader public policy goals and increased utility performance overall.

        Moderator: Commissioner Marion Gold, Rhode Island Public Utility Commission


        • Commissioner Abigail Anthony, Rhode Island Public Utility Commission
        • Peter Cappers, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

        View presentation

        Webinar recording on the NARUC YouTube page

        March 14, 2019: Evolving Approaches to Electricity System Planning

        Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) shared updates on state approaches to distribution system planning, grid modernization, and integrated resource planning. Topicsincluded analyses of the accuracy of past IRP load forecasts and utility procurement.

        Moderator: Commissioner M. Beth Trombold, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio


        • Juan Pablo Carvallo, Sr. Scientic Engineering Associate, LBNL
        • Lisa Schwartz, Deputy Leader/Energy Efficiency Team Lead, LBNL
        • Natalie Mim's Frick, Energy Efficiency Program Manager, LBNL 

        View presentation

        Webinar recording on the NARUC YouTube page

        Water-Thermoelectric Energy Nexus Webinar Series Recording Available on YouTube

        Throughout fall 2019, NARUC’s CPI hosted four webcasts on the water-thermoelectric energy nexus in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories. Read more and find links to the recordings on NARUC's YouTube channel


        Papers, trainings, and more

        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


        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


        The Interface between Utility Regulation and Financial Markets

        The purpose of this paper is to review the interfaces between regulators and capital markets to explain the significance of financial market knowledge in public utility regulation. This topic is critical because IOUs finance their investments in utility infrastructure through debt and equity capital obtained from capital/financial markets. This report reviews the significance of financial markets to regulation, describes how key variables (such as cost of capital) are calculated, and describes opportunities for regulators to become educated about relevant financial market activity. 

        Download it here


        Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration: Technology and Policy Status and Opportunities

        This paper examines the present state of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS and the challenges to widespread deployment in the energy sector. It explores the policy and technology environment for coal-fired power generation and CCUS for energy and industrial uses. It offers an array of actions policymakers and regulators can use to encourage CCUS adoption to extend the life of existing coal-fired power plants while drastically cutting carbon dioxide emissions, illuminating how the coal plant of the future could look.

        Download it here


        Cybersecurity Strategy Development Guide

        NARUC developed this Cybersecurity Strategy Development Guide to support state public utility commission (PUC) regulators in developing cybersecurity strategies tailored for their own commissions. This document aims to guide commissions’ interactions with their utilities on issues related to cybersecurity, drawing from the experiences of federal, state, and private-sector stakeholders, including state PUCs themselves. Further, it provides guidance and practices for regulators to consider as they develop and implement their strategies. Commissions that have already developed a strategy can use this guide to review and enhance their current strategy. 

        Download it here


        NCEP Compendium of Resources for State Electricity Policy Officials: Evolving Transmission & Distribution Intersections 

        NCEP hosted a well-attended annual meeting and workshop in May 2018 to explore the evolution and effect of distributed energy resources (DERs) on the transmission and distribution systems in the context of planning, operations, and markets at the state level. State electricity decision makers discussed DERs such as energy efficiency, distributed generation [e.g., solar photovoltaic (PV) systems], energy storage, demand response, electric vehicles, and more. During the workshop, participants offered examples of projects and decisions from across the country that help illustrate how the interactions between transmission and distribution might evolve. Participants also provided helpful resources and references, and facilitators documented questions and research that still need to be addressed. These valuable insights can help guide state decision-makers and provide a research agenda for the broader energy community. 

        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
        Dominic Liberatore, Program Assistant



        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)