Staff Subcommittee on Energy Resources and the Environment

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Staff Subcommittee on Energy Resources and the Environment

Meeting Room 5 (1:30-2:30), Mount Vernon A (2:30-5:00)
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Reimagining State Interconnection Rules for Distributed Generation Plug-and-Play Procedures

Interconnection rules have been adopted by at least 32 States and the District of Columbia. Those rules describe the procedures that applicants and utilities use to ensure that distributed generation (DG) interconnection requests are processed expeditiously and will cause no harm to the utility system or any other utility customers’ equipment. This presentation reviews the many changes that are presently being developed in IEEE and UL standards working groups. These include updated standards for advanced inverter capabilities and advanced grid communications protocols. In addition, there has been rapid progress in the modeling software used for evaluating the effects from proposed DG on utility distribution systems and identifying mitigation techniques for many of the most common obstacles. Together, such changes offer the combined promises of: (a) decreased application processing timelines and costs; (b) more, better, and less expensive mitigation tools for ensuring the reliable and safe operations of interconnected DG; and, (c) higher levels of distribution system grid hosting capacity for DG. The presenters review emerging best practices that are already working in some jurisdictions and could be adopted by other States and utilities in the future.

Moderator:
Jon Kucskar, Senior Commission Advisor, Maryland Public Service Commission

Panelists:
Sarah Baldwin Auck, Director, Regulatory Program, Interstate Renewable Energy Council
Michael Coddington, Principal Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Tom Stanton, Principal Researcher, National Regulatory Research Institute

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Natural Gas Fracking and Water Quality – Fact vs. Fiction

(Joint session with Gas and Water Staff Subcommittees)

In recent years, the use, storage, and disposal of produced water, the byproduct of natural gas fracturing, has been presenting challenges to communities, producers, and government officials. A variety of studies and anecdotal evidence have contributed to some level of confusion in regards to health, safety and environmental impacts. The panelists will address some of the studies and their impact on the public and the industry.

Moderators:
Andreas Thanos, Gas Policy Specialist, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities
Donald Lomoljo, Utilities Hearing Officer, Nevada Public Utilities Commission
Karen Olesky, Economist, Nevada Public Utilities Commission

Panelists:
John A. Connor, President, GSI Environmental
Nancy Johnson, Senior Advisor, Environmental Science and Policy Analysis, U.S. DoE
David McBride, VP, Global Health Safety and Environment, Anadarko
Scott Anderson, Senior Policy Director, U.S. Climate and Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund (Invited)
Carol Montoya, Executive and Board Member, Marcellus Shale Coalition (Invited)

3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Unknown Fugitive — Why We Care About Unexpected Methane Emissions and the Efforts to Capture Them

(Joint Session with Gas Staff Subcommittee)

The debate over top-down or bottom-up methane emissions measuring has slowly been eclipsed by the question of how to quantify methane emissions from unexpected leaks, malfunctions and other unpredictable problems associated with the production, delivery, and consumption of natural gas. This panel will look at the level at which methane emissions have been over/under-estimated, the research that is being done to obtain more accurate leak identification and emission measurement, and what exactly the utility industry and regulators are doing to curb these emissions.

Moderators:
Andreas Thanos, Gas Policy Specialist, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities
Karen Olesky, Economist, Nevada Public Utilities Commission

Panelists:
James Bradbury, Senior Advisor, Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, DoE
Talmadge Center, VP of Safety and Gas System Integrity, CenterPoint Energy
N. Jonathan Peress, Director, Energy Market Policy, Environmental Defense Fund