Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

* Remote issues: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) Energy Task Force sent its regional energy transition report to Gov. Whitmer last week. This has been a big effort in Michigan covering a range of energy and environmental challenges. The report contained 16 recommendations “that would improve affordability, enhance reliability and promote energy security for residents of the Upper Peninsula.” This is all well-meaning stuff, of course, but in a very remote, very cold part of the state (not to mention the country) it’s hard to just transfer ideas that work in more densely populated areas, with far less extreme conditions, and with far more extensive infrastructure. Some of the ideas are just, well, you know, just nice: promote energy waste reduction and broadband expansion, develop renewable energy, energy storage and EV charging.

* The industrial Atlantic: FERC Chairman Richard Glick responded last week to a letter from Paul Kjellander, president of NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.) Kjellander’s concern: FERC needs to develop an offshore wind energy grid that maximizes transmission efficiency and reliability; that means thoughtful planning, not just an ad hoc approach. NARUC’s concern: an outcome that achieves an “optimal balance of low-cost offshore wind development and avoidance of environmental and fishery impacts.” The focus here is transmission development, not activities related to siting, construction and operations from the wind turbines and submerged cable networks. In his letter, Glick just notes NARUC’s concerns; he doesn’t address them other than to say they will be considered in FERC’s upcoming “post-technical conference” on offshore wind integration.

* As if Gov. Cuomo doesn’t have enough problems, right?: Now comes George Berka, citizen, from Connecticut, who filed a formal complaint with FERC about the upcoming, and imminent, closure of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. Mr. Berka asserts his standing in Indian Point’s closure by noting that he very likely is an end user of some of the plant’s power, because of the New York-CT shared electrical grid. And he’s concerned about environmental/greenhouse gas issues noting that Indian Point reliably provides carbon free electric power. He hits da govnah pretty hard: asking if Hizonner really has any qualifications to judge the safety of a nuclear reactor? Or whether he has any relevant knowledge, training or experience in nuclear physics, radiation health physics or nuclear engineering? Berka asks FERC, “to permit the continued operation of Units 2 and 3 of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant until at least the year 2035, as was originally envisioned.” Stay tuned on this one…

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