research lab

Past Meetings

At the Lab, we're always up to something.  Here are some past meetings:

 

State Commission Staff "Surge" Call: The Future of PURPA

Tuesday, July 11 | 3:00 - 4:00 pm Eastern

Passed in the aftermath of the 1973 energy crisis, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) has now been in effect for nearly four decades. Despite a few PURPA amendments and multiple, broad changes in electricity markets, most states have not significantly updated their PURPA rules and buy-back rates since fairly soon after the law was passed. As a result, large and small qualifying facilities (QFs, in PURPA-speak), including renewable-powered generators and particularly distributed generation, could still have difficulty gaining the market foothold PURPA was initially designed to enable. Several states are reexamining PURPA implementation in light of current conditions. Join state public utility commission staff from Michigan, Oregon, Montana, and Massachusetts to discuss each state's approach to updating PURPA rules and where these efforts might lead the electricity sector. 

A summary of this call will be posted shortly. 

 

Webinar | Blockchain 101

Friday, June 23 | 2:30 - 3:30 pm EST

This webinar will serve as an introduction to what Blockchain is, and how it’s been used in financial markets as well as the potential for use in energy markets.  Use cases such as the LO3 project will be discussed. We will also learn about the Illinois government’s perspective, the current stage of the market, and the Illinois Blockchain Initiative. We’ll hear from experts Lawrence Orsini from the LO3 Project as well as Jennifer O’Rourke at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The discussion will be led by Commissioner Nick Wagner from the Iowa Utilities Board. 

Click here to access the slide deck. Click here to access the webinar recording.

 

Lab on the Road! MegaModel Interactive Experience

The Lab ran MegaModel: A Utility Business Model Interactive for attendees at three conferences in June. This game puts players in control of an investor-owned utility under one of four different business models. Players then invest in a broad menu of transmission, distribution, and generation resource options and choose policies to meet upcoming demand while chasing performance goals for customer bills, environmental performance, shareholder returns, and reliability. Retiring generation, heat waves, environmental policies, and natural gas price spikes make the game even more challenging. 

National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates Mid-Year Meeting | June 4 - 7 | Denver, Colorado

National Conference of State Legislatures & National Association of State Energy Officials Solar Workshop and Lab | June 9 - 10 | San Antonio, Texas

Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Annual Education Conference | June 25 - 28 | Hershey, Pennsylvania

Additionally, Lab staff offered an electricity siting training to New England commissioners at the New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners Symposium, June 4 - 7 in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. 

Interested in bringing MegaModel or a siting training to your state? Contact Lab director Miles Keogh

 

Webinar | A Comparative View of Cybersecurity Approaches in the Natural Gas and Electric Sectors

Tuesday, May 30 | 2:00 pm EDT

Cybersecurity has become increasingly important to energy regulators due to the potential for adverse reliability impacts from a cyber breach.  Over the past several years, the energy sector has been a prime target of cybersecurity incidents, and to combat this, public-private partnerships are engaged in efforts to increase preparedness, response, and recovery.   The intent of this webinar is to create foundational knowledge about cybersecurity approaches used in the natural gas sector, and how these approaches compare with the electric sector.  We will be joined by Kimberly Denbow from the American Gas Association (AGA), who will share her insight on questions including:

  • What do the threat landscapes look like? What are some of the current trends?
  • What are some of the key differences in the components and systems that we are trying to protect? 
  • What types of vulnerabilities could be exploited in each sector? What strategies or measures are being used to reduce these vulnerabilities?

View Presentation

View Webinar Recording

 

Webinar | Infrastructure for Carbon Capture - Technology, Policy, and Economics 

Monday, May 15 | 1:00 pm EDT

The NARUC/DOE Carbon Capture, Storage & Utilization Partnership and the Great Plains Institute’s State Carbon Dioxide for Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) Deployment Work Group offered a webinar on infrastructure policy related to carbon capture projects. Putting CO2 to work in enhanced oil recovery can be a win-win scenario for fossil fuel-fired electricity generators, oil producers, and environmentalists alike. However, a strong network of CO2 pipelines is critical to the future of CO2-EOR projects in an era of low oil prices and uncertain federal climate policy. While CO2-EOR is not a new prospect, the recent success of CO2-EOR projects like NRG’s Petra Nova facility combined with Washington, DC’s focus on domestic energy production and infrastructure has brought renewed attention to CO2-EOR infrastructure needs, particularly how federal and state policy can address weaknesses.

On this webinar, state officials discussed how CO2-EOR projects operate, the state of the nation’s existing CO2 infrastructure, current federal and state policies relevant to CO2-EOR, and recommendations for strengthening CO2 infrastructure. Matt Mead, policy advisor in the Office of the Wyoming Governor; Dan Lloyd, business development specialist in the Office of the Montana Governor; and Shawn Shurden, commission counsel for the Mississippi Public Service Commission joined the webinar as panelists with Brad Crabtree of the Great Plains Institute as moderator. 

Summary will be available shortly. 

View Presentation

View Webinar Recording

 

Webinar | Space Weather: How Resilient Are We?

April 25, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. EDT

The electric grid is exposed to many threats that have the potential to affect reliability. Space weather events is one threat that can cause significant long-term effects on critical infrastructure systems and technologies. Extreme space weather has the potential to shut down large sections of the grid, resulting in cascading failures in many other critical infrastructure sectors that we depend on for health and safety. During this webinar we will discuss what space weather is and how it can affect the power grid. The discussion will be led by experts John Ostrich from DOE and Mark Olson from NERC. Our speakers will share their insights on the following questions:

  • How are space weather events detected and analyzed?
  • What adverse impacts can space weather have on the grid?
  • What parts of the grid (bulk power system versus distribution) are at risk?
  • Which types of equipment or components do we need to focus on protecting?
  • Are there ways to prevent, mitigate, and recover from the negative impacts?
  • To what extent is our grid currently protected against space weather threats and how much will additional resilience cost?
  • What tools, technologies, standards and other resources are available to utilities to help manage the threat?

View Presentation

View Webinar Recording

 

Webinar | Aliso Canyon and Underground Natural Gas Storage Issues 

March 28, 2017 | 3:00 p.m. EDT

The NARUC/DOE Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership is extending an invite to NARUC membership and interested stakeholders to participate in a webinar on underground natural gas storage. The webinar will focus on the DOE/PHMSA Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety’s final report on the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak and resulting actions. Participants from both agencies will cover a brief introduction to natural gas storage regulation; specifics of the Aliso Canyon leak and response; implications for electric system reliability and the gas/electric market; recommendations to advance well integrity, health and environmental protection, and gas/electric reliability; and the status of PHMSA’s December 2016 interim final rule revising federal pipeline safety regulations. 

This webinar is part of a series of webinars under the Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership (NGIMP) with NARUC and DOE.

View Summary

View Presentation

View Webinar Recording

 

Webinar | What Does Petra Nova Mean for Carbon Capture? 

March 23, 2017 | 3:00 p.m. EDT

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.

View Summary

Webinar presentation and recording are available to NARUC members. Please contact Kiera Zitelman to request. 

 

State Surge | Wherefore Art Thou, Carbon Trading? 

February 6, 2017

NARUC's Lab hosted a call on February 6, 2017, as part of our "surge" effort to link state staffers to learn from each other. This call focused on carbon trading programs in the northeast and California: the conception and structure of these programs and their future potential for continued operation or expansion. This document summarizes presentations from Maryland and California staffers and discussion among other state staffers. 

View Summary

 

Expert Roundtable | Applying Valuation to Baseload

January 5, 2017 | Baltimore, Maryland

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. Participants will identify tools and techniques that attribute value to baseload and develop recommendations and “asks” to research institutions, national laboratories and academia.

View Agenda 

Presentation Package

Thinksheet

 

Conference Call | MIT Utility of the Future Presentation

December 15, 2016 | 3:30 p.m. EDT

MIT presented their Utility of the Future study report for Commissioners and Staff. The study presents "a framework for proactive regulatory, policy & market reforms." The presenation describes five key recommendations and steps to take to meet those objectives. The study acknowledges that a "future" described the report is looking out about ten years from now and focuses on the US and Europe.  

MIT Utility of the Future Presentation - 12/15/2016 (download PDF)

 

State Surge | IT Spending

September 9, 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. 

View Summary

 

State Surge | Enhanced Oil Recovery

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.  

View Summary

 

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

Monday, 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

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

 

NIST/NARUC Training: NIST Cybersecurity Framework Workshop for Regulators

July 6, 2016 | Washington, D.C.

Is your utility company using the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) to help manage its cyber risks? If so, come to the NIST/NARUC workshop on the NIST CSF in Washington, DC on July 6th and 7th. This training aims to help utility regulators understand how the NIST CSF supports the regulatory ecosystem.  

Workshop Objectives Include:

  • An introduction to the NIST CSF
  • Explanation of the steps involved to implement the NIST CSF
  • How to evaluate implementation of the Framework
  • Sharing of participant experiences in home states on using the Framework
  • Guidance to help regulators develop a foundation for having discussions with their utilities about their cybersecurity practices.

View Agenda

View Presentations

 

State Surge Smart Inverters: A Link Between Smart Grid and Distributed Renewables? 

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.

View Summary

 

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.

 

Energy Resilience and Risk Management

Joint NARUC Lab Workshop with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

May 25 - 26, 2016 | Denver, Colorado

Cyberattacks on the power grid on your mind?  Worried about miscreants messing with the transmission system?  The possibility of earthquakes got you losing sleep?  We're working with our friends at NCSL to explore what the right risk-based tools will be to deal with threats to the grid that we've never had to deal with before.  A two day workshop for Legislature and Commission personnel (especially staff) will give you what you need to make informed decisions.  It will also feature one of our world-famous "game" style interactives.

The Magnolia Hotel, Denver Colorado, 8 am Mountain on May 25 until 1 pm on May 26.

Need more information?  Please contact Sharon Thomas at sthomas@naruc.org.

View Agenda

 

"Blurred Lines": Changing Federal / State Jurisdiction

National Council on Electricity Policy Meeting

April 25 - 26, 2016 | Washington D.C. 

View Draft Agenda

View April 25 Webinar Recording

View April 25 Presentations

View April 26 Webinar Recording

View April 26 Presentations

Topics included:

  • 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

Essential EISPC work was conducted and we mapped out what technical assistance support from labs, academia, and others will help us deal with changes in jurisdiction.  

Dupont Circle Hotel, Washington DC, 12 pm Eastern on April 25 until 3 pm Eastern on April 26th.  

Need more information?  Please contact Jan Brinch at jbrinch@naruc.org.