Last December, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) filed its cost of service and rate application for gas transportation and storage. This application was filed in the context of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) being under enormous pressure to increase its safety oversight of utilities, a $14.4 million fine imposed on PG&E for failing to notify regulators about incorrect records on a natural gas pipeline and a looming $2.2 billion fine for the 2010 San Bruno explosion. In this context, it is understandable that PG&E would be very sensitive to safety concerns and would seek to make capital expenditures to improve the safety of its gas transportation system. The catch, of course, is that when a utility spends money, rates go up. For PG&E, this is complicated even further by the risk that a $2.2 billion fine could increase PG&E’s cost of raising money to pay for the capital upgrades it wants to make. When rates go up, large consumers pay attention; and when rates go up a lot, everyone pays attention.
The other day I attended the launch of a new energy efficiency initiative in Dubai. The Government of Dubai has ambitions to achieve substantial savings in the consumption of energy and water over the next 15 years. It aims to encourage the retrofitting of some 30,000 government and private sector buildings and public areas with energy efficient appliances, equipment and materials covering lighting, cooling, water, industrial processes and building insulation. It is also targeting efficiencies in district cooling through regulation and greater system connectivity. To this end a new “ESCO” (Energy Service Company) industry is being created under the regulatory oversight of the Dubai Regulatory & Supervisory Bureau. As a catalyst for the evolution of this new market, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has established Etihad ESCO, an ESCO that will help promote energy efficiency projects for government departments and agencies. Read More
In an announcement awaited by industry, the European Commission has proposed the non-binding objective of increasing the share of renewable energy to 27% of the EU’s energy consumption in 2030. However, at the same time, an ambitious and binding target emerged: for the EU to reduce by 2030 domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below the 1990 level. An extraordinary target or a disappointment?
K&L Gates will be a Gold Sponsor at Infocast’s 7th Annual Energy Storage Week in Santa Clara from February 11-13. This event will address the projected rapid rise in energy storage project development over the next 3-5 years. Early movers in this market are poised to capture larger than average advantages. Policy makers and senior executives at the forefront of energy storage deployment will be attending the summit to share up to date information on the policies, procedures and industry best practices into business plans and to gain access to key players and decision makers across the entire supply and utilization chains of storage services to further storage projects. K&L Gates attorneys Bill Holmes, Paul Lacourciere, Dirk Michels, Charlie Schwenck and Andrew Young will be attending Infocast’s Energy Storage Week. We look forward to seeing you there!
The Australian Federal Government has taken its first step towards creating a new national energy policy by releasing an Energy Policy Issues Paper seeking stakeholder input on a range of priority areas. As signalled by the Coalition in its election campaign, regulatory reforms aimed at reducing electricity and gas costs for households and businesses will take centre stage in forthcoming Green and White Papers. Other key topics include measures to support export growth and foreign investment, increasing energy efficiency and ensuring long term security of energy supplies. Click here to read more.
The Australian Federal Government (Government) released a Green Paper on Friday 20 December as part of its Direct Action Plan on climate change policy. The Green Paper outlines the Government’s preferred design for an Emissions Reduction Fund and invites further input from business and the community on the design elements outlined in the Green Paper by 21 February 2014, before a White Paper is released in early 2014. To read the full alert, click here.