research lab

NARUC Research Lab

Our Mission

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.

What's New / What's Next:


What does Petra Nova mean for carbon capture? 

The DOE/NARUC Carbon Capture Storage & Utilization Partnership invites interested state commissioners, state and federal staff, and other stakeholders to learn about the Petra Nova carbon capture project at W.A. Parish Generating Station in Thompsons, Texas. A joint venture between NRG and JX Nippon, Petra Nova enters the market as clean coal and carbon capture technology continue to factor into the national debate on energy and infrastructure. David Greeson, VP of Development at NRG, will discuss the conception, design, and construction of the project as well as its first few months of successful operation as a post-combustion carbon capture for enhanced oil recovery facility before taking questions from the audience.

When: Thursday, March 23 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. EDT

Please register at 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


NEW PAPER! 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.


Webcast Recording! Risk Management for Regulators

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!


NEW PAPER! Risk Management for Regulators

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!  


Past Events:

Applying Valuation to Baseload: An Expert Roundtable

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

View Agenda 

Presentation Package



State Technical Assistance Surge Brief: IT Spending

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!


State Technical Assistance Surge Brief: Enhanced Oil Recovery

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!


White Paper:  Transportation and Power Sector Interdependencies 

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!


State Technical Assistance Surge Brief: Smart Inverters

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!



Webinar | 811 Dig Safe & The Gold Shovel Standards


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.

View Presentation

View Webinar Recording


Webinar | Transmission Technologies: High Performance Conductors 

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.

View Presentation

View Webinar Recording


Webinar | U.S. Shale Resources - Maximizing Benefits

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.

View Presentation

View Webinar Recording


Webinar | IT and Operational Technology Convergence Webinar

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!

View Webinar Recording


Webinar | Smart Inverters: The Link between Smart Grid and Solar 

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.


Webinar | Energy Resilience and Risk Management


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. 

View Draft Agenda

Topics will include: 

  • Overview of the nation’s near term and long term energy outlook
  • Discussion of natural and man-made threats to the nation’s critical energy infrastructure
  • Cyber security and ways state policymakers, federal agencies and utilities respond to threats
  • Participation in NARUC’s Resilience Lab, a scenario-based role-playing exercise
  • Tour of Western Area Power Administration’s Electric Power Training Center
  • Discussion on state policies and actions to ensure CI maintains operations during disasters

Need more information?  Please contact Sharon Thomas at


"Blurred Lines": Changing Federal / State Jurisdiction

National Council on Electricity Policy Meeting

April 25-26 | Washington D.C.

View Draft Agenda

Topics will include:

  •          Eastern Interconnection States Planning Council (EISPC) activities
  •          Transmission projects like the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Line 
  •          Changes in federal leasing policy affecting coal mining on federal lands
  •          Demand response and the implications of EPSA v FERC
  •          The Clean Power Plan, post-stay
  •          Responding to national-level energy emergencies with mutual assistance

Need more information?  Please contact Jan Brinch at 


NARUC- MARC Educational Site Visit in North Dakota

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.

Research Lab Staff

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

Miles Keogh
Sharon Thomas
Kerry Worthington



We have a number of currently active projects.

  • Electricity Policy Innovation (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • State Electricity Regulators Technical Assistance (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • Carbon Management (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • Energy Assurance & Critical Infrastructure Protection (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization (Funded by the US Department of Energy)
  • Smart Grid (Funded by the US Department of Commerce)