The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE)'s mission with State and Regional Policy Assistance is to provide, on an as-requested basis, unbiased policy assistance and analysis to States and regions on State electricity policies, programs, laws, and regulations that facilitate electricity infrastructure investment needed to deliver clean, affordable, and reliable electricity to customers.
The program was transferred from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, with a history going back to the early 1990's, as part of OE's 2003 creation. Efforts in the 1990's included the topics of integrated resource planning, plus seminal work on best practices for electricity information disclosure and consumer protection practices, state renewable portfolio standards, utility energy efficiency, electricity restructuring and market design issues. Much of this work is viewable in the archives section of the National Council on Electricity Policy website. More importantly, many State electricity-related laws and regulations of the period were informed by the technical assistance and work sponsored then.
Best practice-based technical assistance is provided through a combination of OE staff, and nationally-recognized experts at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Regulatory Assistance Project, the National Council on Electricity Policy, the National Council of State Legislatures, and the National Governors Association, and others. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) provided additional funding for technical assistance through State Assistance for Recovery Act Related Electricity Policies block grants.
With these entities, the expert technical assistance is provided on an as-requested basis to State public utility commissions, State legislatures, regional State associations, regional transmission organizations/independent system operators, Federal officials, Governors' offices, State energy offices, and sometimes individual electric utilities.
Currently, often-requested technical assistance or analysis is given on these State and regional electricity policy subjects: utility-related energy efficiency, renewable energy, demand response (reducing electricity use at peak times), portfolio management and resource planning methods both at the utility, state, or regional level, transmission siting; transmission planning; and portfolio management.
Particular best-practice emphasis is on encouraging the development of regional institutions and regional thinking among States on these and related topics that help modernize the grid and meet the needs of the Nation's 21st century economy and environmental concerns.
For an example of technical assistance, the National Council of State Legislatures uses OE funding to answer state legislators' and staffs' inquiries on state electricity-related policies, including the development of policy-oriented publications; hosting collaborative forums and workshops; and testimony to state legislative committees on topical issues ranging from siting and permitting of new renewable energy resources to strengthening the electric grid to increasing the use of utility-related energy efficiency.
In April 2013 the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published the first set of protocols for determining energy savings from energy efficiency measures and programs. The protocols are available individually or compiled in a report title The Uniform Methods Project: Methods for Determining Energy Efficiency Savings for Specific Measures.
In 2007, 46 states requested and received assistance under the OE State and Regional Policy Assistance Program. Assistance from OE ranged from quick response consultation to highly technical workshops.
Under the Federal Power Act of 1935, as amended, most matters related to generation and retail distribution of electricity is reserved to the States, and thus not under Federal jurisdiction. The siting of transmission is also reserved to the States, with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission jurisdiction granted in certain limited conditions under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Federal Power Act gives jurisdiction to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to set the rates, terms, and conditions for the sale of bulk power for resale and the use of transmission facilities.
Thus, OE's mission to modernize and expand America's electric grid cannot be achieved without the active and supportive involvement of the States. However, to conform with the Federal Power Act leaving most decisions to the States, the program does not advocate policies to the States, but instead serves as a clearinghouse for policymakers on best practices for effective electricity policy at the regional or state level, and that is obtained on an as-requested basis. More Information
- National Council on Electricity Policy Publishes Third Report in Electric Transmission Series
With funding provided by the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), the National Council on Electricity Policy published a report entitled “Updating the Electric Grid: An Introduction to Non-Transmission Alternatives for Policymakers” in September 2009. This report is the third publication in the National Council’s Electric Transmission Series released for commissioners, staff, and other government officials to gain further understanding of electric transmission and distribution issues. It serves as a basis “primer” for State officials on alternatives to electric transmission. In this report, the National Council explores five types of Non-Transmission Alternatives (NTA) – End-Use Efficiency; Generation as an Alternative to Transmission; Demand Response; Improved Transmission System Capabilities, Performance, and Efficiency; and Energy Storage Devices and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles. The report also considers policy options for these five NTAs, provides examples of state or utility consideration of NTAs, and lists potential policy directions based on numerous reports. The second report in the series, “Coordinating Interstate Electric Transmission Siting: An Introduction to the Debate” was published in July 2008. The first report in the series, "Electricity Transmission: A Primer," was published in June 2004.
- Shaking Up the Residential PV Market: Implications of Recent Changes to the ITC, Bolinger, M., G. Barbose and R. Wiser. LBNL. November 2008
- Energy Efficiency as a Preferred Resource: Evidence from Utility Resource Plains in the Western United States and Canada, Hopper, N., G. Barbose, C. Goldman and J. Schlegel. LBNL-1023E. September 2008
- Reading the Tea Leaves: How Utilities in the West Are Managing Carbon Regulatory Risk in their Resource Plans, Galen Barbose, R. Wiser, A. Phadke and C. Goldman. LBNL-44E. March 2008
- Benefits of Demand Response in Electricity Markets and Recommendations for Achieving Them (Pursuant to Sec. 1252 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005), February 2006
- State and Regional Policies That Promote Energy Efficiency Programs Carried Out by Electric and Gas Utilities - Section 139 of the Energy Policy Act , March 2007
- Electricity Transmission, A Primer, booklet by the National Council on Electricity Policy, published June 2004
- “List of Covered Electric Utilities” under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) as Applicable to “States-Must-Consider” Provisions under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) and Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007)
- Paying for Power Plants in Restructured States (February 2007) and Financing Energy Efficiency (September 2006), a two-volume Infrastructure Finance handbook for State Decision Makers, National Council on Electricity Policy
- Energy Efficiency in Western Utility Resource Plans: Impacts on Regional Resource Assessment and Support for WGA Policies , Hopper, N., C. Goldman and J. Schlegel. LBNL-58271. August 2006
- California Customer Load Reductions during the Electricity Crisis: Did They Help to Keep the Lights On?, Goldman, C., J. Eto and G. Barbose. LBNL-49733. May 2002
- Renewables Portfolio Standards: A Factual Introduction to Experience from the United States, Wiser, R., C. Namovicz, M. Gielecki, and R. Smith. LBNL-62569. May 2007
- The Summer of 2006: A Milestone in the Ongoing Maturation of Demand Response, Hopper, N., C. Goldman, R. Bharvirkar, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and D. Engel, Freeman, Sullivan & Co. The Electricity Journal, Vol. 20, Issue 5, June 2007, Pages 62-75. LBNL-62754. May 2007 (revised July 2007)
- A Regional Approach to Market Monitoring in the West, Barmack, M., E. Kahn, and S. Tierney, Analysis Group; and C. Goldman, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. LBNL-61313. October 2006
- Many of the publications & presentations of The Regulatory Assistance Project are funded by the State and Regional Policy Assistance Program, which can be found at http://www.raponline.org/
- Many of the electricity-related publications & presentations of the National Council of State Legislatures are funded by the State and Regional Policy Assistance Program, which can be found at http://www.ncsl.org/programs/energy/energy2.htm
The 2010 National Electricity Forum, February 17-18, 2010 – The National Electricity Forum is the nation's preeminent executive-level public policy forum series on electricity infrastructure. The 2010 Forum's theme is: Infrastructure for a Clean Energy Economy. This is the fifth year for the National Electricity Forum. See past Forums.
NATIONAL ACTION PLAN FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Utility sector leaders make firm commitment to energy efficiency through a National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, facilitated by DOE and EPA. More information.