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  • FERC Hears Support for Proactive Transmission Planning, With Caveats

    Policy Integrity claimed that existing ties between neighboring systems operated by MISO and the Southwest Power Pool demonstrated the value of interregional transmission during a deadly mid-February cold weather event. Those ties allowed customers in the MISO and SPP footprints to avoid widespread blackouts, while the siloed grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas Inc. flirted with complete collapse.

  • What’s a Reasonable Investor to Expect: MOPR Instability and State Policy Certainty

    So what's a reasonable investor to think about the MOPR and state climate and clean energy policies? If nothing else, it should be clear that one is more certain than the other. A reasonable investor knows the MOPR has not been a durable construct, while state policies have long been moving in one direction. There is certainty there. Regardless of what happens to the MOPR, states are not giving up on their climate ambitions. They will continue to support clean energy technologies that are cheaper for consumers and safer for their citizens.

  • Court Orders New NEPA Review for Texas LNG Plants

    Yesterday’s D.C. Circuit ruling is the latest decision to rebuke FERC for inadequate climate analysis. Judicial rebukes are likely to continue until FERC fully considers the social cost of greenhouse gases in its analyses, said Richard Revesz.

  • Ending the Snipe Hunt for Buyer-Side Power in PJM and Other Capacity Markets

    Conflating economic problems has led FERC to implement inappropriately broad rules without grounding its decisions in rigorous economic analysis. The Expanded MOPR was based on a faulty premise and unsupported by economic theory. Ending the snipe hunt for state exercises of market power in capacity markets is a critical first step toward empowering stakeholders to craft durable economic solutions that allow markets to work.

  • How Private Equity Squeezes Cash from the Dying U.S. Coal Industry

    Private equity firms are spending billions of dollars buying coal-fired plants on the cheap - and getting paid even when they are not providing power. So-called capacity payments are given out in most U.S. power markets, and regulators tend to favor coal-fired generators that store heaps of coal on site when other power sources might be disrupted. "The capacity power market is a certain source of revenue for coal plants that might otherwise be uneconomical," said Sylvia Bialek, an economist at New York University's Institute for Policy Integrity.

  • Groups Seek Rigorous Grid Reviews, Undercutting Biden’s Climate Goals

    Some environmental groups are vowing to seek rigorous National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental reviews of planned transmission lines, even when they are built to facilitate low- or zero-carbon power, a strategy that may frustrate the Biden administration’s effort to accelerate reviews for such projects. “Unlike the Trump administration, which sought to prioritize environmentally undesirable projects and run roughshod on NEPA requirements in the process, the Biden administration is seeking to prioritize environmentally desirable projects but respect NEPA safeguards,” argues Ricky Revesz, director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University.

  • Can Biden Transmission Order Avoid State Backlash?

    "The question is, do the folks in charge at the Energy Department and does FERC really want to push this and risk the backlash?" said Alexandra Klass, a law professor at the University of Minnesota. "Maybe the answer is yes." A December paper from the New York University School of Law's Institute for Policy Integrity and Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy concluded that needed long-distance transmission can be developed by applying existing federal legal authorities.

  • Canada Plans Hydropower Push as Biden Looks to Clean Up U.S. Grid

    When more renewable energy comes online, power storage facilities that Canada’s reservoirs provide to the U.S. grid should become even more valuable. “There’s this version of Canadian hydro not only being firm (capacity) but being something like a battery. That’s the big picture informing the vision of some policymakers,” said Justin Gundlach, senior attorney at the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity.

  • Study: No Silver Bullet for Fossil-Climate Legal Tension

    Customers were at the center of a panel discussion last week, hosted by the Institute for Policy Integrity and the Environmental Defense Fund, that highlighted what can happen when new state climate laws conflict with those currently governing fossil fuels. The discussion stemmed from research by Justin Gundlach and Elizabeth Stein, which casts light on policies under New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) that are inconsistent with other state polices that support residential customer access to natural gas.

  • Transmission Trouble: Pipeline Woes Presage Challenges for Clean Energy Buildout

    The recent history of developing long-haul pipelines in the U.S. demonstrates what can happen when certain bottlenecks go unaddressed, according to Justin Gundlach, a senior attorney with New York University School of Law's Institute for Policy Integrity. "You would absolutely see people who don't like transmission lines use NEPA to say that the agency responsible for siting this transmission line has failed to take the requisite hard look at the impacts, etc., etc. — no question," he said. Gundlach co-authored a recent study that outlined steps FERC could take to facilitate more long-distance, high-voltage direct-current electric transmission lines without waiting on additional legislation.