MA DPU Approves Significant Investments and Upgrades to State’s Grid Modernization Technologies

On May 10, 2018, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an Order approving significant grid-facing investments and upgrades to the state’s electric grid. Specifically, the DPU’s Order authorizes Massachusetts’ utility companies to make $220 million in grid-facing investments in grid modernization technologies over the next three years to upgrade their distribution systems to improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid. In the Order, the DPU noted that the Order establishes the platform and the method for the electric distribution companies to make initial investments in grid modernization technologies to upgrade their current infrastructure and to increase the use of renewable energy,… More

IRS Issues PLR Approving Battery Storage for 25D Tax Credit When Integrated with Solar

The Internal Revenue Service has released a redacted copy of its private letter ruling 201809003 in which it concluded that a battery energy storage system charged 100% from an onsite solar system is eligible for the individual tax credit under Section 25D.

In the Letter Ruling, the Service reasoned that the “Battery meets the definition of a “qualified solar electric property expenditure” under § 25D(d)(2) of the Code” based on the taxpayer’s representation that “all energy that is used to charge the Battery can be effectively assured to come from the Solar Energy System” to which it would be interconnected.… More

FERC Issues Final Rule on Electric Storage Participation in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators

Energy StorageThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Final Rule (the Final Rule) on February 15, 2018 (Docket Nos. RM16-23-000; AD16-20-000; Order No. 841) pursuant to which FERC amended its regulations under the Federal Power Act to remove barriers to the participation of electric storage resources in the capacity, energy, and ancillary service markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO) and Independent System Operators (ISO) (RTO/ISO markets).… More

Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change Releases Far-Reaching Draft Legislation

Yesterday, February 12, 2018, the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change released a Proposed Draft of legislation staking out an ambitious and far-reaching set of policies across a wide range of sectors.

There is a lot in the proposal and we are still reviewing the details, including the differences among mandates, targets, goals and discretionary authority.

For now,… More

TUE Committee to Hold Hearing on DPU’s Approval of MMRC Demand Charge

Massachusetts Legislators are taking a look at the Department of Public Utilities’ (DPU) recent approval of an Eversource Energy proposal to apply different rate structures to customers who participate in net metering, such as customers who install solar energy systems at their homes or businesses.  The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) will hold an oversight hearing on the DPU’s recent decision in the Eversource Energy rate case to approve Eversource’s proposal to include a demand charge as a part of a monthly minimum reliability contribution (MMRC) applicable to net metering customers.  … More

DOER Releases Results of SMART Procurement

This afternoon, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) released the much-anticipated results of the competitive procurement that will set the base compensation rates for the SMART program.  The base compensation rates range from $0.17 in the NSTAR and Nantucket Electric territories to about $0.14 in WMECO.  In Massachusetts Electric territory, the non-Nantucket territory served under the National Grid umbrella, the base compensation rate is about $0.16.  A DOER summary table of the procurement is below. … More

FERC Rejects Grid Reliability and Resilience Pricing — For Now!

Yesterday, FERC terminated the docket it opened in response to DOE Secretary Perry’s September proposal to compensate generators who maintain a 90-day fuel supply on-site.  The intent of the proposal was to compensate generators who provide reliability and resilience attributes to the grid.

The decision was unanimous, though there were several concurrences.  The commissioners were not persuaded that there is a reliability problem that requires immediate,… More

Texas Now Has More Wind Than Coal Capacity. So Far, Trump Has Not Saved Coal.

The Houston Chronicle reported that electric generation capacity from wind now exceeds that of coal in Texas.  That’s not even counting Vistra’s recent announcement that it intends to close three coal-fired plants.

To those who might point out that wind is intermittent and it thus has lower capacity factors, the same Chronicle story reports at least one expert prediction that wind generation will exceed that of coal by 2019.… More

Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Investigates Issues Relating to Net Metering, Energy Storage, and Forward Capacity Market Participation

On October 3, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”) opened a new docket (D.P.U. 17-146) to investigate two issues: whether energy storage systems paired with net metering facilities are eligible for net metering and what should be done to clarify the rights of net metering facilities to participate in the Forward Capacity Market (“FCM”).

These issues have been percolating for years.  In fact, D.P.U.… More

DOE NOPR Faces Criticism But Remains on Fast-Track, with Initial Comments Due October 23

On September 28, 2017, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry sent a letter to FERC enclosing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), which Secretary Perry asserts “requires the Commission-approved organized markets to develop and implement market rules that accurately price generation resources necessary to maintain the reliability and resiliency of our Nation’s electric grid.” Both the timing and substance of the proposal have been criticized by energy industry representatives,… More