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NCEP Update

May 8, 2008

New Series of Policy Forum Calls to be Announced in May
The National Council conducts regular Policy Forums to assist policy officials discuss, debate and better understand relevant electricity policy issues. Most Policy Forum calls are open to all state and federal officials. Forum topics over the last 6 months have ranged from exploring GHG reduction credits to examining the financial implications of carbon constraints on infrastructure financing. Our last call focused on the use of energy benchmarking tools to measure energy efficiency performance. In May, the National Council will announce the topics and dates for the next series of Policy Forum calls.

The National Council is Sponsoring Comprehensive Demand Response Discussions
The National Town Meeting on Demand Response will be held in Washington, DC on June 2 & 3 at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. This event is noted for devoting a full day to its actively-moderated open “roundtable” format, where invited speakers—including national policymakers and government officials—interactively address the audience as part of a larger conversation. This year, the event also will feature an additional full day of industry experts presenting the latest developments in the world of demand response and smart grid through two concurrent tracks of traditional seminar sessions.
For more information, click here

The National Council Conducts 2008 Annual Planning Meeting
On April 14-15, state and federal electricity officials from around the country gathered in Washington DC for the National Council’s Annual Planning Meeting. The meeting provided an open dialogue on policies and programs needed to enable a more affordable, reliable and less carbon intensive electricity grid. Monday April 14th presentations provided a framework of emerging electricity and climate policy issues. Day one culminated in a roundtable discussion examining the challenges and opportunities facing the electricity industry over the next 20 years. Roundtable participants represented policy, government and academic experts including FERC Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff and DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary Mark Whitenton. The morning of Tuesday April 15th focused on state, federal and regional electricity program coordination with presentations by DOE, EPA, FERC, NARUC, NASEO, NCSL and NGA. At the close of day two, National Council members discussed broad priorities for 2009 including: regional electricity planning, electricity and climate program coordination, alternatives to electric transmission, and integrating clean energy technologies onto the grid. Based on these initial priorities, the National Council will develop a guidance document outlining priority issues and potential activities for 2009.

National Council Chair Tapped to Serve on DOE’s Newly-established Electricity Advisory Committee
On April 17, The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the Commissioner Jeanne Fox, President of the NJ Board of Public Utilities and the chair of the National Council on Electricity Policy, will join some of the nation's top public and private sector leaders in electricity policy, planning and operations as an inaugural member of the DOE Electricity Advisory Committee. The Committee was established to provide counsel to DOE on long-range planning and priorities for the modernization of the Nation's electricity delivery infrastructure. The Committee–chartered by DOE Secretary Bodman –will provide senior-level counsel to DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability in carrying out its mission and meeting requirements of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In addition, the Committee will advise the Office on deployment of smart grid technologies, research and development of energy storage technologies, renewable energy resource system integration, and new transmission infrastructure to ensure the efficient delivery of electricity.
For more information, click here

Commissioner Phil Giudice to Serve as Vice-Chair of the National Council on Electricity Policy
Commissioner Phil Giudice, Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources (DOER), was appointed to serve as vice chair for the National Council. Commissioner Giudice serves as board member, board executive committee member and treasurer of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as well as a board member of the Commonwealth’s Energy Facilities Siting Board. Commissioner Giudice also chairs the board of directors for the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Prior to joining DOER, Commissioner Giudice served as board member and Senior Vice President at EnerNOC, a company providing electricity demand-management services to businesses, institutions, utilities, and grid operators to obtain savings for businesses and institutions and relieve stress on the electric system. Giudice earned a B.S. from University of New Hampshire, an M.S. in Economic Geology from the University of Arizona, and an M.B.A. from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Commissioner Giudice will leverage his more than 30 years of energy sector experience to provide the National Council with additional leadership and vision.

Federal News
DOE to Offer $10 Billion in Renewable, Efficiency Loan Guarantees
DOE announced on April 11 that it will issue a solicitation in June, offering up to $10 billion in loan guarantees for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric transmission projects. The $10 billion will be part of a larger $38.5 billion loan guarantee package that will support a variety of energy technologies. Selection criteria for the clean energy projects will focus on the avoidance of emissions of greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants; the speed at which technologies can be commercialized; the cost-saving potential for consumers; the prospect of loan repayment; and the potential for long-lasting success of these technologies in the marketplace. To support the launch of the solicitations in June, DOE has also published an implementation plan for its Loan Guarantee program.
For more information, click here

DOE Selects Projects for up to $50 Million of Federal Funding to Modernize the Nation’s Electricity Grid
On April 21, 2008 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Kevin Kolevar today announced the Department’s plans to invest up to $50 million over five years (Fiscal Years 2008 - 2012), subject to appropriations from Congress, in nine demonstration projects competitively selected to increase efficiency in the nation’s electricity grid.
For more information, click here

President Bush Sets Goals for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
President Bush announced a new goal last week to stop the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. To reach that goal, the President also called for electric utilities to slow the growth in their greenhouse gas emissions so that they peak within 10 to 15 years and decline thereafter. As noted by the President, all responsible approaches to achieving such greenhouse gas reductions depend on accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies. Specifically, President Bush called for new policies that spur investment in the new technologies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The President also called for long-term incentives to make lower-emission power sources more competitive with higher-emission power sources.
For more information, click here

FERC and Oregon to Coordinate Reviews of Wave Energy Projects
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the State of Oregon signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last week to coordinate their reviews of wave energy projects along the state's coastline. The MOU establishes Oregon's support of FERC's procedures for a short-term license for experimental pilot projects. FERC and Oregon agree to notify each other of proposed wave energy projects and will work together to identify potential issues and to set a schedule to process permit applications. Oregon also intends to prepare a comprehensive siting plan for wave energy projects in state waters, and FERC agrees to consider whether proposed projects are consistent with the plan. Oregon intends to be a leader in promoting the development of wave energy projects.
See the FERC press release, click here.

EPA Launches "Save the World, Start with Energy Star"
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked Earth Day by launching a new campaign, called "Save the World, Start with Energy Star." The new campaign builds on the success of the Energy Star Change a Light campaign by providing a set of steps people can take to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to replacing at least one light in the home with an Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent lamp, the new Energy Star pledge also encourages consumers to make their home heating and cooling systems work more efficiently; make sure their homes are well sealed and insulated; enable the power management features on their home computers and monitors; and choose the Energy Star when replacing or purchasing new appliances. Energy Star is a joint program of DOE and the EPA. For more information see:
For more information, click here

EPA Finds US GHG Emissions Decreased Slightly in 2006
On April 15, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, entitled "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2006," finding that overall emissions during 2006 decreased by 1.1 percent from the previous year. The report finds that overall GHG emissions have grown by 14.7 percent from 1990 to 2006, while the US economy has grown by 59 percent over the same period. The decrease in emissions in 2006 was due primarily to warmer winter conditions; reduced fuel consumption caused by rising fuel prices; and increased use of natural gas and renewables in the electric power sector.
For more information, click here

House Members Release Principles for Global Warming Legislation
On April 22, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) and Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) released a set of “Principles for Global Warming Legislation” designed to provide a framework for Congress as it produces legislation to establish an economy-wide mandatory program to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The principles lay out four key goals for global warming legislation: reduce emissions to avoid dangerous global warming; transition America to a clean energy economy; recognize and minimize any economic impacts from global warming legislation; and aid communities and ecosystems vulnerable to harm from global warming.
For more information, click here

New Publications
Solar Energy Technology and Policy Reference Guide
This reference guide is a collection of solar energy resources compiled for State regulators and policymakers. The websites, publications, maps, and tables below represent information provided by the federal government, trade associations, and academic institutions. These resources address a wide range of topics pertaining to solar technologies and policies including solar energy potential, interconnections and net-metering standards, renewable portfolio standards, and financial incentive structures.
For more information, click here

New Report Calls for Fast Corporate Action to Curb Escalating Power Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Resulting from Computing
The rapidly increasing demand for digital processing for everything from online banking to e-Bay auctions, Amazon orders, Google searches, and iTunes and YouTube downloads has become part of the global warming story. A new study released today suggests that large-scale computing facilities, or data centers, are a fast-growing contributor to global warming and a drain on corporate profitability. The result of a year-long collaborative study undertaken by global management consultancy McKinsey & Company and data center computing research and corporate advisory firm Uptime Institute, the report, entitled “Revolutionizing Data Center Energy Efficiency—Key Analyses,” calls for an immediate overhaul of corporate management practices and a doubling of the energy efficiency of large-scale corporate computing facilities by 2012.
For more information, click here

Primer For State Regulators: Coal Generation Technologies For New Power Plants
This primer focuses on generating technologies that use coal and that may be proposed for approval by Public Utility Commissions in the coming decade. It provides an introduction to the technology options and discusses the range of costs proposed by researchers for different tehnologies, including the influence of a price on carbon dioxide emissions. Should carbon constraints drive technology choices, this primer may help Regulators understand the broad basis for those choices.
For more information, click here

Carbon Capture And Storage: Technological and Regulatory Considerations
This primer focuses on the technology and policy issues surrounding carbon capture technologies and carbon storage. It provides an introduction to the status of research and technology options and discusses the range of issues that may face State Commissions should regulatory regimes addressing climate change motivate wider deployment of carbon capture and storage.
For more information, click here

Adapting to Climate Change: A Business Approach
This report outlines a sensible business approach to analyzing and adapting to the physical risks of climate change. It focuses on a critical first step in assessing these climate impacts: understanding the potential risks to business and the importance of taking action to mitigate those risks. Not all businesses need to take action now; this paper develops a qualitative screening process to assess whether a business is likely to be vulnerable to the physical risks associated with climate change, and whether a more detailed risk assessment is warranted.
For more information, click here

State News
New Jersey Releases Draft Energy Master Plan
New Jersey released the state’s draft Energy Master Plan on April 17, 2008. The Draft Plan will provide a framework for a long-term energy strategy for the state and its energy needs through 2020. The proposal is a collaborative effort of more than 500 stakeholders and will now enter the public forum for further discussion.
For more information, click here

Maryland Approves Wide-Ranging Clean Energy Bills
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a package of energy bills last week that will set new renewable energy requirements for the state, institute utility energy efficiency programs, and offer new funding and incentives for clean energy. House Bill (HB) 375 more than doubles the state's requirements for renewable power, requiring 20% of the state's electricity to be produced from renewable energy by 2022. Compared to previous legislation, the new law slows the growth in the so-called renewable portfolio standard (RPS) over the next several years, then accelerates it starting in 2011. It still maintains a requirement for 2% of the state's power to come from solar energy by 2011.
For more information, click here

NASA Scientist Challenges Nevada over Coal Burning
Jim Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist, said in an April 14 letter to Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons that Gibbons should withdraw support from proposals to build coal-fired power plants in Ely, Mesquite and White Pine because they would expose ratepayers and Nevada to grave financial risk. Hansen said, "Steeply rising construction costs and coal prices are themselves ratcheting up the cost of coal-fired electricity, and sure-to-appear federal legislation that demands elimination of CO2 emissions will drive costs much higher."
For more information, click here

Large-Scale Solar Thermal Power Projects Planned for California
The push to develop large concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in California gained momentum last week, as FPL Energy filed an application to build a 250-megawatt CSP plant in the Mojave Desert and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) agreed to buy the power from up to 900 megawatts of CSP projects proposed by BrightSource Energy, Inc. The FPL Energy project, called the Beacon Solar Energy Project, will employ trough-shaped parabolic mirrors to concentrate the sun's heat, capture the heat in a fluid such as oil, and then transfer that heat to a boiler. The boiler generates steam that drives a turbine to produce electricity. FPL Energy plans to build, own, and operate the facility, which will be located on 2,000 acres of land in eastern Kern County. Construction is slated to begin late next year, and it will take about two years to build the project, which will consist of more than 500,000 parabolic mirrors.
For more information, click here

Iowa Leads the Nation with 5.5% Wind Power, Says AWEA
Wind power provides 5.5% of the electricity generated in Iowa, making it the leading state for wind power generation on a percentage basis, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). AWEA's annual ranking of wind power leadership, released last week, continues to show Texas leading the states in terms of both total installed wind power capacity and the amount of new wind power capacity that was installed last year. In fact, the Sweetwater, Texas, wind plant more than doubled in capacity to 585 megawatts, pushing it from fifth to second place in the size rankings, while the state's Buffalo Gap wind facility expanded to 353 megawatts, placing it in fifth place for size. The recently completed 364-megawatt Capricorn Ridge wind facility, also in Texas, landed in fourth place, while last year's 401-megawatt Peetz Table Wind Energy Center in Colorado is the only non-Texas wind plant in the top five.
For more information, click here

Colorado Governor Ritter Announces 22 Partners in Solar Residential Program
The Governor's Energy Office (GEO) has committed $550,000 of Clean Energy Funds and created a total program budget of $1,076,000 to advance solar investment in the state. The 22 partners represent 12 utilities, three cities, one county, and five non-profits.
For more information, click here

Governors Gathered at Yale Pledge to Take Climate Action
On April 18, the governors of Connecticut, California, Kansas, Illinois and New Jersey, along with two Canadian premiers, were at Yale University to review state programs and develop a strategy to combat global climate change. At the conference, 18 states pledged to take action on climate change. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) predicted that an international deadlock over how to deal with global warming will end once President Bush leaves office. He noted a dispute over whether the United States should commit to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions before China and India do the same. Dr. R. K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned that without action to curb global warming, agricultural yields would fall and flooding and heat waves would become more intense. He said measures to curb warming are not expensive and “[t]he myth that there will be a loss of jobs and economic output needs to be exploded.”
For more information, click here

Analysis of State of the State Addresses Reveals Governors View Clean Energy Among Top Priorities
Finding new and using existing ways to promote clean energy topped the list of priorities outlined by the nation's governors in their 2008 State of the State addresses, according to a report released today by the National Governors Association (NGA).
For more information, click here

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