News - Future of Utility Regulation

Nicholas Institute Senior Counsel Jennifer Chen was recently invited to speak before the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Her remarks focused on how regional energy markets could help cut greenhouse gas emissions while providing consumer savings and economic opportunities to all states—regardless of individual state climate ambitions.

PJM is seeking to  procure more reserves at higher prices by augmenting its operating reserve demand curve. Because the reserve and energy markets interact, energy prices will increase too, writes Nicholas Institute Senior Counsel Jennifer Chen for RTO Insider.

Stakeholders in PJM may decide on Thursday to initiate a process to study and potentially price CO2 emissions in its energy market. Such a process would provide a forum for much needed detailed discussion and analysis on what could be a critical link between CO2 emissions policies and efficient markets, writes Jennifer Chen, senior counsel at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, in Greentech Media.

The Gulf Coast Power Association’s annual Spring Conference on April 16-17 began the day after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear challenges to Illinois’ and New York’s zero-emission credit programs. The court’s decision was a stark reminder that individual states are driving changes to the country’s electric generation mix, often to the frustration of the grid operators charged with operating competitive, economically efficient markets, reports RTO Insider.

The International Energy Agency recently reported strong greenhouse gas growth from energy production in 2018, with an emerging fleet of Asian coal-fired power plants leading the way. 

A new article in Law360 discusses how Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s plan to seek bankruptcy protection to address crippling liabilities for California wildfires should ring alarm bells for utilities, regulators and lawmakers in other states and force them to examine whether the current utility business model can accommodate climate change-related risks to energy infrastructure, policy experts say.

Governor Roy Cooper recently signed an executive order on climate change, setting goals for the state's economy to reduce greenhouse emissions 40 percent from earlier levels by 2025.

“These goals by themselves do not really have much effect,” wrote Billy Pizer, faculty fellow in the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy, in an article appearing in the Duke Chronicle. "Any real action will require legislation."

Carbon emissions tied to U.S. electricity generation have dropped 28 percent since 2005 to a total of 1,744 million metric tons last year — the lowest since 1987 — according to data the U.S. Energy Information Administration posted publicly, reports Greenwire.

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order that directs the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025. Jennifer Weiss, a senior policy associate with the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions told NPR that it "is a realistic goal, but I think it's going to take a lot of work by multiple parties."

Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order Monday calling on North Carolina to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the next seven years. The target is based on the state's 2005 emission levels, and Tim Profeta, director of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions tells WRAL that it is an ambitious goal, noting that it's more than any other state in the Southeast.