EEI Launches Pilot Environmental, Social, Governance, and Sustainability Reporting Template

To better serve customers and investors, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) recently announced that it is launching a pilot environmental, social, governance, and sustainability-related (ESG/sustainability) reporting template, with the goal of helping EEI’s member electric companies provide investors with more uniformity and better consistency for ESG/sustainability metrics.

“EEI’s member companies are committed to a clean and affordable energy future, and our industry is leading the way in emissions reductions, having cut carbon dioxide emissions 25 percent below 2005 levels as of the end of 2016,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “In an effort to become a model industry for ESG/sustainability reporting, EEI has been working closely with our large investors and financial institutions to better understand their informational needs regarding reporting metrics.”

In order to assess the current ESG/sustainability reporting practices, EEI assembled a broad working group compromised of institutional investors who specialize in asset management, ESG/sustainability, investment banking, and buy-side and sell-side research and electric company officials from various disciplines, including accounting, environment, ESG/sustainability, finance, treasury, investor relations, and legal.

“We expect that the template, created through a thoughtful and inclusive process, will be a useful tool to provide consistent data and information, which will help the financial community as it evaluates companies in the industry,” said Caren Byrd, managing director of Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division.

Over the past 18 months, the working group helped EEI develop the template for the qualitative information, including ESG/sustainability governance and strategy, and quantitative information, including portfolio data, emissions, and human and natural resources, that investors are seeking. The template also helps to provide investors with more clarity on risks from stranded assets and regulatory issues, as well as opportunities for investments in clean energy. While EEI has had overwhelming member company support, companies ultimately will choose if and how they incorporate this voluntary template into their current reporting.

The electric companies participating in the pilot will publish their 2016 data in the coming weeks. For those interested in the information, it typically will be posted on the investor relations or sustainability sections of the electric company’s website. EEI plans to release Version 1 of the template in mid-2018 for member company use with reporting 2017 data. IEF

Illinois Rated 2nd Best in Grid Modernization

Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) Chairman Brien J. Sheahan recently announced that Illinois received the second highest rating among all states for its leadership in moving toward a modernized electric grid. Gridwise Alliance in collaboration with Clean Edge Incorporated released the results of its fourth Grid Modernization Index (GMI) on November 8.

“I am very pleased Illinois is being recognized as a national leader for our efforts to embrace innovations in technology and modernize our grid. Under the leadership of Governor Bruce Rauner,

Illinois adopted the Future Energy Jobs Act that is leading to a greater investment in smart technology, renewables and energy efficiency programs by our public utilities,” said Sheahan. “I am especially proud the Illinois Commerce Commission’s NextGrid: Illinois Utilities of the Future Study is mentioned several times in the report and contributed to Illinois’ high rating.”

The ICC recently launched NextGrid, an 18-month customer-focused study, to explore emerging technologies, address customer demands for greater choice, and layout a roadmap to become a clean energy state and modernize the grid while minimizing costs for consumers. Professors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois (UIUC/ECE) Urbana-Champaign are working with the ICC as lead facilitators for the study.

Gridwise based its ratings on three primary areas:

  • State support, which includes plans and policies that support grid modernization
  • Customer engagement, which ranks states on their rate structure, customer outreach and data collection practices.
  • Grid operations, which benchmarks the deployment of grid modernization technologies such as smart meters, sensors, controls and analytics.

Illinois received a score of 73.0. California received the top rating with a score of 81.5 and Texas was third with a score of 64.0. The last GMI report was issued in 2015. IEF

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, but securing the nation’s energy grid is the electric power industry’s top priority all year long. Electric companies proactively safeguard the energy grid and partner with federal agencies to enhance sector-wide resilience to cyber and physical security threats.
With continued investment in grid security measures, enhanced mutual assistance networks, and partnerships with the government, electric companies remain committed to securing the energy grid in the face of evolving threats. The industry has forged a strong partnership with the government through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to prepare for, and respond to, national-level incidents or threats to critical infrastructure. EEI also continues to work with industry leaders, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on critical infrastructure standards for cyber and physical security to protect critical assets of the bulk power system.

   The industry shares actionable information through the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC). The E-ISAC also manages the Cybersecurity Risk Information Sharing Program (CRISP), a public-private partnership co-funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the industry, that facilitates timely bi-directional sharing of actionable unclassified and classified threat information, using advanced collection, analysis, and dissemination tools to identify threat patterns and trends across the electric power industry. IEF

S&C and Ameren Have Successful Test on Microgrid

Ameren Corporation, a Midwest-based utility, and S&C Electric Company, a smart grid leader shaping the future of power delivery, conducted a successful 24-hour islanding test in August at the recently deployed Ameren microgrid in Champaign, Illinois. The microgrid — one of the most technologically advanced utility-scale microgrids in North America — has been operational since May and has now proven it can provide a seamless transition from grid-connected to island mode.

The test focused specifically on the 50kW microgrid at the site, which powers an Ameren research facility. The complete microgrid includes 225kW of renewable generation (PV solar and wind) and 250kW / 500kWh of battery energy storage.

The test began at 8 a.m. on Aug. 3, 2017, with the battery's state of charge at 97 percent capacity. Once the battery was depleted to 90 percent capacity, solar and wind generation kicked in, simultaneously carrying the load and charging the battery. This pattern continued throughout the day, never letting the battery fall lower than 88 percent capacity. In short, the microgrid functioned without any human interaction, automatically coordinating resources and ensuring power never faltered.

Upon conclusion of the 24-hour test, the microgrid successfully moved back into grid-connected mode without any loss of power for end users.

"We have one of the few microgrids in the world that operates at utility-scale voltages and can seamlessly transition from grid-connected to islanded mode," said Ron Pate, senior vice president, operations and technical services at Ameren Illinois. "This successful test provided tangible proof that the system can accomplish what it was designed to do. The microgrid isn't theoretical and our tests don't need to be lab simulations. We were able to prove that this technology works and can provide key benefits to our customers."

IEF

Future Supply of Natural Gas in the Unites States Exceeds 3100 Trillion Cubic Feet Committee Reports

The Potential Gas Committee (Colorado School of Mines) in coordination with the American Gas Association (AGA), recently, released a year-end 2016 biennial report: Potential Gas Supply of Natural Gas in the United States. The new Potential Gas Committee (PGC) assessment finds that the United States possesses a technically recoverable natural gas resource base of 2,817 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) yet to be discovered. This is the highest resource evaluation in the Committee’s 52-year history—a 12 percent increase from the previous high assessment from year-end 2014.

“Dr. Alexei Milkov, director of the Potential Gas Agency, has pointed to a record resource assessment exceeding 2,800 Tcf. With U.S. proved reserves of more than 300 Tcf, the future supply of natural gas exceeds 3,100 Tcf and continues to increase,” said Chris McGill, vice president, Energy Analysis & Standards at AGA. “With this abundant resource as a foundation, our nation will continue to be a recognized leader in clean energy and can rely on domestic natural gas for our energy needs for decades to come.  We appreciate and welcome the sound science and ground-up geological work that the PGC applies in its development of this valuable report.”

The growing importance of shale gas in the U.S. is evidenced by the fact that the PGC’s mean total assessed shale gas resource of 1,797 Tcf for 2016 accounts for approximately 64 percent of the country’s total potential resources.

The future supply of domestic natural gas continues to grow due to the emergence and advancement of key technologies that unlock gas production from reservoirs such as shale formations. For the next decade and beyond, natural gas supplies are expected to support an increase in demand across all sectors. The record gas resources assessed by the PGC, in addition to robust domestic production levels and booked reserves, paints a picture of strong supply for natural gas in the U.S. for decades to come.  IEF

EEI-IEI Forecasts 7 Million Plug-In Electric Vehicles By 2025

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the Institute for Electric Innovation (IEI) released a new report, Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales Forecast Through 2025 and the Charging Infrastructure Required, which projects more than 7 million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will be on U.S. roads by 2025. The report also assesses the charging infrastructure necessary to support this growth, projecting an estimated 5 million charging ports will be needed.

Today, the majority of PEV charging occurs at home. However, as PEVs become more common, customers will expect to have the ability to charge their vehicles at work and at public places. The report finds that an estimated 2.2 million of the 5 million charging ports will be developed as away-from-home charging stations, and highlights the PEV infrastructure development efforts already underway in several states.

“America’s electric companies are leading efforts to advance the electrification of the transportation sector, and these companies are well-positioned to develop the charging infrastructure we need to support 7 million PEVs by 2025,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Electric transportation is a win-win, meeting customer needs while also supporting America’s energy security and sustainability.”

PEV sales are expected to represent 7 percent of all vehicle sales by 2025, with PEVs projected to make up 3 percent of all vehicles (cars and light trucks) registered in the United States.

Developing charging ports and the accompanying infrastructure requires significant investment, which includes the cost of the equipment itself, installation costs, permits, and inspections. The electric power industry already is pursuing innovative solutions to help develop PEV charging infrastructure and to plan for the smart integration of PEVs into the energy grid.        IEF

Bills of Interest-June 2017

The following bills of interest to the energy industry were introduced into the 100th Illinois General Assembly for consideration during its Spring 2017 session:

Senate Bill 71 (Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park and Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie) – would clarify certification procedures for wind power installers.  Passed by the Senate on a vote of 47-3.  Passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 113-0.

Senate Bill 611 (Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign and Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana) – would establish the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force to address the issue of maintaining clean drinking water for communities served by the Mahomet Aquifer.  Passed by the Senate on a vote of 56-0.  Passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 115-0.

Senate Bill 1488 (Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris) –would eliminate the Radioactive Waste Task Force and related sections of law.  Approved by the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.  Held on Third Reading in the Senate.

Senate Bill 1839 (Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago and Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg)) – would make significant changes in the Telecommunications Act designed to modernize much of the state’s telecommunications system, especially voice communications.  Also included changes in the state’s 911 statute.  Passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 81-27.  The Senate concurred on a vote of 53-3.

House Bill 1848 (Rep. Reginald Phillips, R-Charleston)—would expand the state’s clean coal technology portfolio standards law to incent construction of a electricity generating facility near Mattoon.  Held in a subcommittee of the House Energy Committee.  Re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

House Bill 3042 (Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville) – would create a grant program to stimulate development of clean coal technology power generation.  The grant program is subject to legislative appropriations.  Approved by the House Energy Committee.  Re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

House Bill 3396 (Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago and Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris)) – would facilitate the purchase of electricity for a municipal electric company by the Illinois Power Agency.  Passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 112-0.  Passed by the Senate on a vote of 56-0.

 

Bills of Interest-May 2017

The following bills of interest to the energy industry have been introduced into the 100th Illinois General Assembly for consideration during its Spring 2017 session:

Senate Bill 71 (Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park and Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie) – Amended  in committee; would now clarify certification procedures for wind power installers.  Passed by the Senate on a vote of 47-3.  Sent to the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 611 (Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign and Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana) – would establish the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force to address the issue of maintaining clean drinking water for communities served by the Mahomet Aquifer.  Passed by the Senate on a vote of 56-0.  Sent to the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 1381 (Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago) – would make significant changes in the Telecommunications Act designed to modernize much of the state’s telecommunications system, especially voice communications.  Approved by the Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee.  On Second Reading in the Senate.  Deadline for passage by the Senate extended to May 31, 2017.

Senate Bill 1488 (Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris) –would eliminate the Radioactive Waste Task Force and related sections of law.  Approved by the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.  On Third Reading in the Senate.

House Bill 1848 (Rep. Reginald Phillips, R-Charleston)—would expand the state’s clean coal technology portfolio standards law to incent construction of a electricity generating facility near Mattoon.  Held in a subcommittee of the House Energy Committee.  Re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

House Bill 3042 (Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville) – would create a grant program to stimulate development of clean coal technology power generation.  The grant program is subject to legislative appropriations.  Approved by the House Energy Committee.  Re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

House Bill 3396 (Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago and Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris)) – would facilitate the purchase of electricity for a municipal electric company by the Illinois Power Agency.  Passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 112-0.  Sent to the Senate.

Bills of Interest-April 2017

The following bills of interest to the energy industry have been introduced into the 100th Illinois General Assembly for consideration during its Spring 2017 session:

Senate Bill 71 (Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park) – Amended  in committee; would now clarify certification procedures for wind power installers.  Approved by the Senate Energy Committee.  On Second Reading in the Senate.

Senate Bill 611 (Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign) – would establish the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force to address the issue of maintaining clean drinking water for communities served by the Mahomet Aquifer.  Approved by the Senate Environment Committee.  On Second Reading in the Senate.

Senate Bill 1381 Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago) – would make significant changes in the Telecommunications Act designed to modernize much of the state’s telecommunications system, especially voice communications.  Approved by the Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee.  On Second Reading in the Senate.

Senate Bill 1383 (Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Peru) – would have amended various sections of the state’s Underground Utility Facilities Damage Protection Act, which sets standards for excavation near underground utility facilities.  Amended in committee to become a shell bill in the same subject matter area.  Approved by the Senate Energy Committee.  On Second Reading in the Senate.  Companion bill to House Bill 3634 (Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg), which has been re-assigned from the House Executive Committee  to the House Rules Committee.

House Bill 2952 (Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine) – would require the Illinois Commerce Commission to change its rules regarding cost recovery for natural gas main extensions.  After a subject matter hearing, the bill was re-assigned from the House Public Utilities Committee to the House Rules Committee.

House Bill 3042 (Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville) – would create a grant program to stimulate development of clean coal technology power generation.  The grant program is subject to legislative appropriations.  Approved by the House Energy Committee.  On Second Reading in the House of Representatives.

 

Bills of Interest – March 2017

The following bills of interest to the energy industry have been introduced into the 100th Illinois General Assembly for consideration during its Spring 2017 session:

Senate Bill 71 (Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park) – would provide for an immediate effective date for sections of last year’s Future Energy Jobs Bill that deal with renewable energy.  Assigned to the Senate Energy Committee.

Senate Bill 611 (Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign) – would establish the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force to address the issue of maintaining clean drinking water for communities served by the Mahomet Aquifer.  Assigned to the Senate Environment Committee.

Senate Bill 1383 (Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Peru) – would amend various sections of the state’s Underground Utility Facilities Damage Protection Act, which sets standards for excavation near underground utility facilities.  Assigned to the Senate Energy Committee.  Companion bill to House Bill 3634 (Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg), which has been assigned to the House Executive Committee.

House Bill 232 (Rep. Andre Thapedi, D-Chicago) – would change the definition of distributed renewable energy generation device by removing language limiting hydroelectric power.  Assigned to the House Energy Committee.
House Bill 2952 (Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine) – would require the Illinois Commerce Commission to change its rules regarding cost recovery for natural gas main extensions.  Assigned to the House Public Utilities Committee.

House Bill 3038 (Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago) – would place limits on electric utilities recovery of past due charges from customers under a Purchase of Receivables (POR) arrangement with Alternative Retail Energy Suppliers (ARES).  Assigned to the House Public Utilities Committee.

House Bill 3770 (Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana) – would place limitations on storage or disposal of coal ash over a single source aquifer, such as the Mahomet Aquifer.  Assigned to the House Public Utilities Committee.