U.S. Energy storage surpasses 1,000 MWh deployed, no longer “nascent”

After reaching a significant milestone in 2017, with more than 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) now deployed, the U.S. energy storage market is poised for a breakout in 2018, nawindpower.com reports. The U.S. Energy Storage Monitor 2017 Year-in-Review, released by the Energy Storage Association (ESA) and GTM Research, forecasts the deployment of an additional 1,000 MWh this year. Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said, “[w]e’re going to have to strike the word ‘nascent’ from our vocabularies when describing the U.S. energy storage market.” Manghani cited falling costs and favorable policies as “core drivers of the market’s breakout in 2018.” A recent ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) intended to remove barriers to market entry that new technologies such as energy storage faced under previous market rules (see our March 8, 2018 blog post). For more, read the full article

Miscellaneous

PUCO Nominating Council recommends candidates for commissioner seat

The 12-member Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Nominating Council recently recommended four individuals as candidates to fill the position of commissioner for a five-year term beginning April 11, 2018, The Sunbury News reports. The council recommended Ronald Russo, Stephen R. Serraino, M. Beth Trombold, and David W. Wade to Governor John R. Kasich for consideration. The PUCO is “the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service,” whose role is “to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices,” the article reports. For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous

New submetering bill doesn’t do enough to protect consumers, opponents say

A new bill that would limit how much submetering companies could charge consumers “was described as an improvement . . . but still a bad deal” in testimony before the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee in a recent hearing, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Senate Bill 157’s main sponsor, Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) “wants to find a middle ground” that allows submeter companies to continue to exist, while reducing price markups and increasing disclosure to consumers. Jeff Jacobson, speaking on behalf of the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, said the measure “remains inadequate for protecting Ohioans”; he “pointed out what he considers flaws” in the bill, “including a customer-complaint process” that is too cumbersome. American Electric Power vice president of external affairs Tom Froehle said submetering companies “are not subject to the detailed rules imposed on utility companies” regarding delivery of service and other requirements. For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous, Transmission

PUCO chairman wants to “change the dialogue” on energy policy in Ohio

Asim Haque wants to “change the dialogue” about energy policy in Ohio; the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) wants the commission to focus on electricity distribution, not generation, Columbus Business First reports. The PUCO “kickstarted” the effort to making that change “with a days-long conference called PowerForward (see our March 13, 2017 blog post),” according to the article. PowerForward “is a review of new tech and regulatory innovations with an eye toward how the changes will affect the power grid. . . . the wonkish embodiment of what Haque wants the PUCO to become — to focus on how power is delivered and used by customers.” Haque “said he has made a point of reaching out to lawmakers about energy issues.” He “sees his job as not trying to influence lawmakers,” but rather “to act as an adviser who helps them see both sides of issues and peel away the layers of lobbyist speak.” For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous

Bricker wins ILTA “Innovative Project of the Year” for pipeline project involvement

Bricker & Eckler shone at the 2017 International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) national conference, winning the top prize in one category of the Distinguished Peer Awards, “Innovative Project of the Year – External/Client-Facing Category,” for the firm’s development of a unique technology solution on behalf of an energy client. Read more >>

Miscellaneous, Shale

New Ohio House bill would deregulate power market

Could Ohio’s power market soon become deregulated? House Bill 247 (HB 247), introduced by Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R), “would overturn the state’s current electric power regime and replace it with a fuller version of deregulation,” UtilityDive reports. Since 2008, the state’s power market has been regulated by the Energy Security Plan (ESP), “Ohio’s version of integrated resource plans,” but HB 247 “would eliminate the ESP and force utilities to base customer rates on wholesale power market prices,” according to the article. American Electric Power and FirstEnergy have been pushing for years “to secure financial support for a group of ailing baseload generators, including coal and nuclear plants.” HB 247 “would look to end” the debates over those subsidies “by forcing regulated utilities to divest their generation assets.” For more, read the full article

Miscellaneous

Ohio utility wholesale auctions clear above $50/MWh

State regulators in Ohio recently accepted results of wholesale power auctions from utilities with prices clearing above $50/MWh, UtilityDive reports. Dayton Power & Light Co.’s auction had “competitive supplier bids on one-, two- and three-year supply contracts clearing at prices from $48.65/MWh to $51.45/MWh.”  Duke Energy submitted auction results “for a one-year supply contract at a clearing price of $50.71/MWh,” according to the article. The results “will be blended with future auctions to establish a price for utility customers to compare with competitive options, which they can choose to take.” Clearing prices have “remained relatively steady” in Ohio over the past few years, even as the state has seen retiring baseload generation as aging coal-fired plants have closed (see our April 9, 2015 blog post). For more, read the full article

Miscellaneous

AEP supports FirstEnergy’s request for zero-emission tax credits

FirstEnergy is requesting approval from Ohio legislatures for zero-emission tax credits to keep two nuclear power plants—the Davis-Besse plant and the Perry plant—afloat, UtilityDive reports. Fellow Ohio utility American Electric Power (AEP) has expressed support for those subsidies, so long as AEP customers do not pay for them. FirstEnergy’s proposal would keep those plants “generating carbon-free energy through their expected lifespan,” but “the extra costs would be borne by consumers and could affect market revenues for gas generators.” 

FirstEnergy and AEP “both won support for struggling coal and nuclear generation from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio” last year, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “subsequently blocked the deals, leading to talk of plant sales and re-regulation as many aging baseload plants struggle to compete with low-cost natural gas and renewable energy.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Miscellaneous

Ohio voters oppose utility re-regulation, want to keep energy choice

While Ohio’s “traditional monopoly power companies” lobby state lawmakers to “return to a fully regulated system,” a recent poll shows a majority of voters are opposed to changing from a competitive market to one with less choice, Cleveland.com reports. Fallon Research and Communications polled “more than 800 Ohio voters” in January 2017, and found that “[m]ore than 91 percent would oppose any law change allowing FirstEnergy or Columbus-based AEP to build new power plants and raise monthly rates to pay for them,” according to the article. In addition, “[n]early 79 percent would oppose any legislation that did away with a customer’s choice to shop for power suppliers.” American Electric Power (AEP), FirstEnergy and Dayton Power & Light “have already been talking about ‘re-structuring’” as state legislators “consider changing Ohio’s 16-year embrace of competition.” For more, read the full article

Miscellaneous

Will Ohio lawmakers re-regulate state’s power market in 2017?

Re-regulation of Ohio’s power market “will get a long, hard look at the Statehouse this year,” as American Electric Power Company Inc. (AEP) pushes a proposal arguing that “deregulation is harming [AEP] so much that its remaining power pants in the state are too expensive to operate and has made it too costly to build new ones,” Columbus Business First reports. However, “developers building natural gas-fueled power stations in the state,” which are privately funded, “warn that a return to a regulated marketplace would force them out and make it more expensive for Ohio electricity consumers.” Companies with high power consumption also “want to keep the ability to shop for the lowest rates through retailer energy sellers,” according to the article. AEP has said it will continue to allow customers to shop for power. For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3