Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

Energy/Tech: NIST – the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the Department of Commerce, announced last week the latest iteration of NIST’s “Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 4.0.”  NIST seeks public review and comment.  In fact, it wants specific, focused comments, linked to page and line numbers within the Draft. This critical work started in 2010 with Release 1, with updates in 2012 and 2014.  NIST refers to the new Draft as a “substantial revision of previous releases to address structural changes and increasing system complexity in the grid.”  Comments are due by November 2. … Another critical energy/tech topic is FERC’s upcoming technical conference: “Carbon Pricing in Organized Wholesale Electricity Markets.”  FERC released an update last week.  Everybody who’s anybody will be paying close attention not just to what’s said, but making sure that new “Read Between the Lines” app is working as it’s supposed to!

Maritime: The Army Corps of Engineers (COE) published a whopping 98-page NOPR last week announcing plans to reissue all existing Nationwide Permits (NWP) and to issue five new NWPs: two authorizing certain maricultural activities (seaweed and finfish) and the Corp proposed to divide utility line authorizations into three separate permits, with specific reference to electric utility and telecommunication lines.  Comments are due November 16…. Also last week, but interestingly not via the Federal Register (at least that I saw) the Coast Guard 1st District Northeast sent out an email request asking waterway users to comment, via surveymonkey, on a Waterways Analysis and Management System Study on the Shallow Draft System – waters less than 12 feet deep, to update CG policies and “make navigable waterways of the United States safer and more efficient.”  The surveymonkey link is open until November 1.

Highways (and tech):  In August, Federal Highway published a NOPR seeking comments on how to best implement broadband infrastructure placement and deployment within the rights-of-way of Federal-aid highway projects, a requirement set by the “Mobile Now Act,” signed by the President in March, 2018.  The Act directs the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate regulations to ensure that States meet specific registration, notification, and coordination requirements.  One basic requirement: State DOTs need to identify a broadband utility coordinator.  The comment period ended last week and FHWA received 28 comments from state DOTs, industry groups and individuals.  Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of support for this.  Stay tuned for next steps.
Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing “reply


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