NARUC's Research Lab helps State Commissions serve the public interest by delivering research and results to the Committees on Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, Water, and Critical Infrastructure. We are funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and other federal agencies.
The Research Lab staff creates and runs projects that use research, papers, trainings, games, webcasts, and facilitated dialogues that provide answers to questions Commissioners face in their decision-making. These projects currently address policy questions surrounding electric transmission, natural gas supply, liquefied natural gas, energy efficiency, wind, solar, and coal-fired generation, and infrastructure and cybersecurity issues for the energy, water, and telecommunications sectors.
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.
On December 22, 2016 NARUC Lab team members Miles Keogh & Sharon Thomas ran a webcast about a new primer that the NARUC Lab issued in winter 2016 that introduces risk management tools and concepts for regulators who may not be specialists in that area. Watch it here!
Do you ever feel like you're advised to make risk-based decisions, but aren't an expert risk management? This is a paper about risk management for people who are new to it: what it is, how regulators can use it, and how they can ask questions to explore its use by the regulated utilities and other stakeholders they interact with. Risk management is a complex discipline that leverages statistics and other quantitative methods, as well as psychology and other qualitative methods, and this paper lays out an introduction to what risk management is and gives a few starting points for regulators interested in augmenting their processes with it. In particular, it focuses on ways that regulators can employ risk-informed thinking to make choices around the areas of critical infrastructure protection. Read it!
Date: January 5, 2017
Location: Marriott Waterfront Hotel, Baltimore, MD
Purpose: Participants will explore how baseload power gets incorporated into what consumers pay, impacts of the changing generation fleet on valuation pricing, and how state officials can address this change.
Objective: Identify tools and techniques that attribute value to baseload. Develop recommendations and “asks” to research institutions, national laboratories and academia.
State officials: If you requesting a Reimbursement Authorization for Travel (RAFT), please do not make travel arrangements until you have been approved with an offer letter from NARUC. If you are unsure if you are eligable for a RAFT, please contact Kerry Worthington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On September 9th, 2016 the NARUC Research Lab convened state public utility commission staffers on a "surge" technical assistance call to learn from one another about how much utilities should be spending on information technology (IT) investments. Read it!
On September 23, 2016, State staff came together for a technical assistance "surge" to explore enhanced oil recovery (EOR), and the implications for state regulators. We summarized the information-sharing that happened in this summary, and it's well-worth a read if you want a starting point for understanding how state agencies understand and address this policy topic. Read it!
State commissions may not realize that they regulate areas of the transportation sector, or how interdependent transportation and power are. This paper lays out what state authorities exist in transportation, and explores the ways power and transport are converging. This paper is written to help state regulators enhance their understanding of these connections. Read it!
NARUC’s Lab hosted a call on Monday, June 27 2016 as part of our new “surge” effort to help link state staffers to learn from each other. The first call focused on smart inverters, and was for state PUC staffers to share experiences and grow their understanding of power sector technologies, markets, and the associated regulatory policies. This document summarizes the discussion. Read it!
August 4, 2016 | 12:00 p.m. EDT
New York State Public Service Commission commissioner Hon. Diane X. Burman, and Andy Wells, PG&E’s Manager of Gas First Responder Programs with the Public Safety Emergency Preparedness Group, discuss the importance of the Gold Shovel Dig Safe program, and provide options for promoting them at the State level.
July 14, 2016 | 2:00 p.m. EDT
This NARUC Research Lab webinar covers transmission technologies that let you increase power flows and lower line losses without needing to site any new right of way or even install new towers. This award winning technology has been around a while and was developed to improve high temperature performance, and was used to replace an American Electric Power (AEP) line in Texas without de-energizing the line.
July 11, 2016 | 1:00 p.m. EDT
With the rapid growth in production of natural gas and associated liquids across the country, this webinar will explore the economic development opportunities and challenges associated with this abundant resource and the infrastructure needed to safely transport it. Come gain understanding of the Natural Gas Liquids being produced, and the issues surrounding the development of this valuable commodity beyond just electric power generation.
You are invited to join New York Commissioner Diane X. Burman, Chair of the Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership as she moderates a conversation between Pennsylvania Commissioner Rob Powelson and Dr. James Bradbury, Senior Policy Advisory for Climate, Environment & Efficiency, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, US Department of Energy.
This webinar is the first of a series of webinars under the Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership (NGIMP) with NARUC and DOE.
July 8, 2016 | 2:00 p.m. EDT
In the past, Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) systems were kept fairly separate. IT was traditionally associated with back-office systems including accounting, billing, HR records, and customer data. OT was traditionally associated with field devices and the systems to monitor and control them such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and distribution management systems (DMS). These technologies were developed in silos because they were managed by separate departments that had different objectives. However, with technological advancements over the years, convergence of IT and OT has been taking place and there are quantifiable benefits to utility companies as well as customers. We will joined by John McDonald of General Electric and Daniel Ohlendorf of Pacific Gas and Electric in a panel-style discussion moderated by Andrew Bochman of Idaho National Laboratory. The panelists will provide insight into how utilities can leverage this convergence for smarter, more cost-effective, and more reliable operation.
You will learn what convergence of the IT and OT means, what advancements have been made as a result of utilities addressing internal IT/OT issues, what some of the security implications of greater convergence are, and more!
June 27, 2016 | 1:00 p.m. EDT
The pace of smart inverter implementation is making waves in many states and now is the time to be informed on what you, the regulatory staff, should know! Smart inverters piqued states interest after Germany experienced blackouts due to voltage controls for distributed energy resources. Now, the technology is experiencing rapid development and standardization.
Here to help understand one states’ point of view, California staffers will share their experience during the collaboration to develop Rule 21, the current status of implementation, and what the future may hold for this tariff as a policy tool and smart inverters as a deployable technology. They will also address some of the “hindsight is 20/20” questions that they wish they knew a few years ago.
Participation is encouraged (and potentially mandatory for anyone that knows Miles!). The phones will be open for participants to ask questions, contribute their experiences, and gain a situational awareness of your fellow states.
NCSL and NARUC
May 25-26, 2016 | Denver, Colorado
This two day workshop will explore risk-based tools that we can use to deal with threats to the grid that we haven't had to deal with before.
Topics will include:
Need more information? Please contact Sharon Thomas at email@example.com.
National Council on Electricity Policy Meeting
April 25-26 | Washington D.C.
Topics will include:
Need more information? Please contact Jan Brinch at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 14, 2016 | Bismarck, North Dakota
NARUC’s Clean Coal and Carbon Management Subcommittee hosted a site visit in conjunction with the Mid-America Regulatory Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Attendees toured Basin Electric’s Dakota Gasification Company, where lignite coal (the youngest coal, geologically) is gasified and turned into synthetic natural gas, syngas. Dakota Gasfication is America’s largest carbon sequestration project and pipes CO2 north to Canada, where it is used for enhanced oil recovery. Forty MARC attendees learned all the products that can be created from lignite, and about the mining process and mine remediation at the nearby lignite mine.
Have a question? We’re friendly and here to help!
We have a number of currently active projects.