Thursday, December 15, 2011

McDonald's USA - A Model that Focuses on Energy Efficiency as Part of its Strategy

Energy costs are going up. For example, on November 22, 2011, Xcel Energy Inc. filed a request for a $141.9 million electric rate increase for its Colorado customers.  It is anticipated that the rate boost will increase customer bills by approximately 4%.  Because energy is one of higher operational costs of running a business, rate increases can hit businesses especially hard.  Businesses can however, take steps to cut their energy use and control their costs.

More and more companies are recognizing that they can do more with less and the result is a positive impact on the balance sheet and the environment.  One company at the forefront is McDonald’s USA.  This is not a new concept to McDonald’s either.  November 20, 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of a groundbreaking partnership between McDonald’s and the Environmental Defense Fund.  The McDonald’s approach to energy can be broken down into two disciplines: energy procurement (how they buy it) and energy efficiency (how they use it). 

In our upcoming show on ICOSA radio, we plan to focus on McDonald’s efficiency efforts. We want to highlight how the changes made by businesses can have positive impacts that go beyond just energy savings and extend into other areas such as the environment.  For example, a fryer is not just a fryer to McDonald’s.  McDonald’s has developed a next-generation low oil volume (LOV) fryer that uses about 40% less cooking oil and 4% less energy than standard fryers.  That translates to lower operational cost, less waste, less transport cost and less overall energy use.

McDonald’s USA has sought to:  (1) Increase adoption of energy efficient equipment and technology in the restaurants.  (2) Improve tracking of restaurant energy consumption data.  (3) Increase energy awareness and education across the business to continue to realize savings to the bottom line and benefits to the environment.

We are excited to discuss McDonald’s energy strategies in more detail with Steve DePalo, Director of Energy for McDonald’s USA on Monday, December 19th at 11:20 MST on ICOSA’s Connect and Collaborate Segment with Experience Pros Radio on 560 AM in Denver or archived shows can be downloaded from the Experience Pros website:  Check out ICOSA radio at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Colorado Task Force on Transmission Siting and Permitting Issued Report to Governor and the Legislature Today

In compliance with Senate Bill 11-045, the task force on statewide transmission siting and permitting issued its report today.  The report provided three recommendations:

1.  Increase local government coopeation and collaboration.  
2.  Change the appeal process for decisions by the Public Utility Commission (PUC).
3. Open a PUC docket to consider improvements to the backstop process and consider a transmission siting and resource center.  Specifically, "the task force recommends that the PUC open a docket to consider a range of backstop-related issues, including using mediation for dispute resolution, providing advice to the PUC, and considering the possibility of establishing a resource center for the benefit of local governments, transmission providers, the public and the PUC.

As originally introduced, the bill would have created a seven-member electric transmission facility siting commission consisting of three utility regulators, three members representing the local governments in which a plannned facility is proposed to be located, and one member representing the public at large.  After significant amendments, the bill was modified to create the task force resulting in the three recommendations above.

A copy of the task force’s full report can be viewed from the PUC website at

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks to the Military and the Companies that are Creating a Sustainable Military to Protect Our Troops

"Honor to the Soldier, and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country's cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field, and serves, as he best can, the same cause -- honor to him, only less than to him, who braves, for the common good, the storms of heaven and the storms of battle." --December 2, 1863 letter from President Lincoln to George Opdyke and others
This week that falls soon after Veteran's Day is a week for giving thanks and a perfect time to highlight the military and the companies that are working to develop and deploy technologies that will reduce the military's dependence on oil and protect our troops. In short, for the military – sustainable energy saves lives. CNN reports that 1 out of 8 U.S. Army casualties in Iraq was the result of protecting fuel convoys. In fact, there were 3,000 casualties protecting fuel convoys in Iraq from 2003-2007. The logistics of moving fuel to encampments is very costly in terms of planning, budget and lives. The military reports that it can cost up to $40 a gallon to get fuel into the most remote and dangerous places.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking to address challenges to energy supply and by doing so, creating opportunity for companies that provide technologies that: reduce energy use, secure our energy supply and protect our troops by reducing our dependency on fossil fuel sources. For our forces abroad an example of these technologies are solar panels that roll up like beach mats that are then carried in backpacks to recharge batteries. The Wall Street Journal reported that the solar panels the size of placements can replace hundreds of pounds of spare batteries in their packs. Use of the panels reduces the need for helicopters to provide additional batteries and the trucks have to convoy less fuel for generators. Also, keeping extra batteries out of packs means the troops can move faster and farther than before.

The military has long been recognized as a source for technological innovation and in August, the Army established the Energy Initiatives Office Task Force to manage the development of renewable energy projects and help improve issues of energy security.

In a traditional sense, the term energy security often refers to oil supply. The U.S. currently imports at least 60% of its oil from foreign sources and the percentage is increasing. This is problematic for a number of reasons. The electricity problem, however, is different and also an issue of energy security. The U.S. has adequate natural resources to meet its electricity needs for the foreseeable future from coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydropower, wind, solar and geothermal. The issue is the electricity grid. It is susceptible to extended outage from natural disaster or sabotage.

The problems associated with an antiquated grid are multiplied for the DoD as the largest single consumer of energy in the United States. To address this challenge, the DoD is looking to renewable energy and micro grids to make sure that when disaster strikes, the military can sustain critical operations. According to the DoD, "the modern military needs to evolve its power infrastructure. New threats demand new defenses." The ability of an installation to sustain itself is adversely impacted by a fragile, aging, and fossil-fuel dependent electricity grid – and this poses a significant threat to national security.
To address these risks, the DoD is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a micro grid technology. The initiative has been dubbed, the "Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security" or SPIDERS for short. The goal is to enable the ability to operate in an islanded mode during emergency for an extended period of time and provide redundancy in both energy supply and pathways for distribution. Ideally, smart technology would allow for integration of different energy sources, enable energy storage and provide for advanced metering capabilities. As an added benefit, the micro grid could help utilities manage their peak loads by "islanding" for short periods of time when utilities are facing critical load periods. The army is starting with three locations: Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Fort Carson, Colorado; and Camp Smith, Hawaii.

And so, President Lincoln's call to honor the soldier and the citizen that supports him still stands today. It is anticipated that the deal flow between the military and suppliers in the private sector is likely to grow with major industry experts believing that collaboration and third party investment is the way forward to create a more cost effective and sustainable military.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Special Guest Posting: “Climate Change” by Jordi de la Torre (3rd Grade)

Greenhouse gases cause global warming. Greenhouse gases are gases that trap the sun's heat. One greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. Some carbon dioxide is good because plants use it to make food. But people are adding much more. The result is that the extra carbon dioxide traps heat causing the temperature of the Earth to rise. If the temperatures keep rising it could cause extreme weather, warmer seas, changing habitats and hurt people and animals.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

FERC Order 1000 Complements Key Aspects of Colorado’s Electric Transmission Facility Planning Rules

Construction of electric transmission facilities is the key to economic and renewable energy development in Colorado.  Important to this development, key elements of new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 1000 (the “FERC Order”) addressing regional transmission planning processes complement Colorado’s Electric Transmission Facility Planning Rules (the “Colorado Rules”) recently issued under the leadership of Commissioner Tarpey of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (the “Commission”).  These complementary policies may help increase the likelihood of Colorado developing a robust infrastructure designed to support a vibrant economy.

Colorado has been focused on the challenges to transmission development for years. In 2006, the Colorado Transmission Task Force on Reliable Electricity Infrastructure (the “Task Force”) recognized that “Colorado’s ability to ensure continued affordable, reliable electricity and to build a vibrant economy depends on sufficient transmission capability.”  In addition, the Task Force recognized that “[t]oday the system is strained and, if current trends continue, there will not be adequate transmission to meet the needs.”  A robust grid provides consumers access to cheaper electricity and is the facilitator to development of Colorado’s vast renewable resources.  Subsequent to the Task Force report, then Governor Ritter issued a series of reports that identified policy barriers to development and these reports led to legislative and policy changes in the state.

These legislative and policy changes however, impacted transmission development in the state by requiring more complex decision making at the Public Utilities Commission (the “Commission”).  In an effort to address these changes, the Commission issued the Colorado Rules under Decision No. R11-0077 defining the Commission’s role in electric transmission facilities planning as well as new requirements for the state’s public utilities relating to planning.   In this Decision, Commissioner Tarpey acknowledges that the “Commission has an obligation to ensure that proper transmission planning is taking place in Colorado and that the transmission system is sufficient to satisfy the needs of the Colorado citizens.”

Similarly, the FERC Order acknowledges that coordinated transmission planning can protect the consumer because coordinated planning may be more efficient and cost effective.  Specifically, the FERC Order requires, “public utility transmission providers to participate in a regional transmission planning process that evaluates transmission alternatives at the regional level that may resolve the transmission planning region’s needs more efficiently and cost-effectively than alternatives identified by individual public utility transmission provider in their local transmission planning processes.” FERC Order 1000, ¶ 6. 

Colorado and the FERC emphasize coordinated planning and stakeholder input.  Under the Colorado Rules, the three jurisdictional utilities in the state are required to file biennial ten-year transmission plans reflecting their own needs and reflecting how the utility coordinated with all transmission providers in Colorado. The FERC Order goes one step further by requiring regional planning processes to produce a regional plan.  The Commission is careful, however, not to impede existing processes with the new requirements.  Indeed, the Commission clarifies that “the obligation to participate in a regional transmission planning process that produces a regional transmission plan that meets the seven transmission planning principles, is not intended to appropriate, supplant, or impede any local transmission planning processes, that public utility transmission providers undertake.” FERC Order 1000, 161.  The objective is to require planning processes to meet the planning principles outlined in FERC Order 890 while producing a regional transmission plan.  

In another example of synergies, both Colorado and the FERC provided some leeway to the jurisdictional utilities as to how to meet the requirements for coordinated transmission planning.  Specifically, the FERC Order provided flexibility for regions to enhance or define processes and procedures for planning.  The FERC explains, “[p]ublic utility transmission providers have flexibility in developing the necessary enhancements to existing regional transmission planning processes to comply with this Final Rule, based upon the needs and characteristics of their transmission planning region.” FERC Order 158.

Colorado and the FERC also both recognize the importance of considering public policy in transmission planning.  The FERC Order requires “each public utility provider to establish procedures for identifying those transmission needs driven by Public Policy Requirements for which potential transmission solutions will be evaluated in the local or regional transmission planning processes.”  The FERC further encourages states to actively participate in identification of transmission needs driven by Public Policy Requirements.  “Public utility transmission providers, for example, could rely on committees of state regulators or with appropriate approval from Congress, compacts between interested states to identify transmission needs driven by Public Policy Requirements for the public utility transmission providers to evaluate in the transmission planning process.” FERC Order 1000, FN 189.

While Colorado declined to address cost allocation under the new Colorado Rules, the FERC emphasized the close link between planning and cost allocation and believes that the planning is the appropriate forum to address cost allocation.  “By linking transmission planning and cost allocation through the transmission planning process, we seek to increase the likelihood that transmission facilities in regional transmission plans are actually constructed.” FERC Order 1000 ¶ 501.  Thus, the FERC Order requires each public utility transmission provider to file a method or set of methods for allocating the costs of new transmission facilities selected in the regional transmission plan.  Importantly, while the FERC Order provides principles for regional and interregional cost allocation, the Order leaves sufficient flexibility within these principles so that regions can design methods according to regional needs.

The key areas of overlap between the Colorado Rules and FERC Order 1000 emphasize the need for coordinated planning, the need to consider Public Policy Requirements in this planning, and the need for public utilities to incorporate stakeholder input.  These requirements are also in-line with the Clean Energy Vision (“CEV”) defined in the Western Grid 2050 report.  “A CEV trajectory requires much greater regional coordination and cooperation to build the infrastructure that access and efficiently utilize the best renewable resources in the West.”  According to the DOE, however, significant expansion of the transmission grid will be required under any future electric industry scenario and so if the FERC Order is any indication, it looks like Colorado is and has been taking the right steps towards development of a robust infrastructure.     

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority posts Rule Making Policy

Updates from the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (“NMRETA”): 
At a special meeting of the NMRETA board of director’s yesterday, September 13, 2011, the board approved NMRETA’s Rule Making Policy.  The Policy can be found here:
A public hearing on the “Proposed Rule Governing NMRETA Condemnation Procedure” will be held Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 1:00 PM in Porter Hall in the Wendell Chino Building (1220 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM). 

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Overview of FERC Order 1000: Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has jurisdiction over bulk wholesale electricity markets and interstate transmission.  FERC has been engaged in reforming transmission planning and cost allocation through several landmark orders.  FERC Order 1000 issued on July 21, 2011, is the next step in the evolution of the FERC’s approach to address regional transmission planning processes. 
Brief Background to Order 1000
FERC first addressed transmission planning in 1996 with FERC Order No. 888 requiring open access to transmission facilities to address unduly discriminatory and anticompetitive practices.  In broad terms, Order 888 required all public utilities to adopt the pro forma open access transmission tariff (OATT) and provide transmission service for its customers comparable to the transmission service they provide themselves. Order 888 did not require utilities to engage in regional planning efforts.
In 2007, determining that its open access program had certain flaws, FERC issued Order 890 requiring coordinated, open and transparent regional transmission planning processes.  Among other things, Order 890 established that each transmission provider must file a new Attachment K as part of its OATT describing how its transmission planning process satisfies the following nine planning principles:  (1) coordination; (2) openness; (3) transparency; (4) information exchange; (5) comparability; (6) dispute resolution; (7) regional participation; (8) economic planning studies; and (9) cost allocation for new projects.    
Subsequent to Order 890, the FERC held a series of technical conferences to address further planning issues and on June 17, 2010 FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking identifying further reforms in the areas of transmission planning and cost allocation.  The FERC noted, however, that the intention was not to disrupt progress being made with respect to transmission panning and investment in transmission infrastructure, but to address deficiencies in these processes to enable better support of wholesale power markets.
On July 21, 2011 FERC issued the Final Rule (“Final Rule” or “Rule”) providing for reforms in the areas of planning, cost allocation, and nonincumbent developers.  A power point discussion of the Rule can be found here:
The Rule establishes three categories of planning reform: (1) public utility transmission providers are required to participate in a regional transmission planning process that satisfies Order No. 890 principles and produces a regional transmission plan; (2) local and regional transmission planning process must consider transmission needs driven by public policy requirements established by state or federal laws or regulations (e.g., Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements); and (3) public utility transmission providers in each pair of neighboring transmission planning regions must coordinate to determine if more efficient or cost-effective solutions are available.  However, with respect to interregional transmission, the FERC declined to mandate a requirement for neighboring transmission regions to produce an interregional transmission plan or to engage in interconnection-wide planning. 
Cost Allocation:
The Rule does not mandate specific cost allocation methods.  Rather, the Rule provides that methods for cost allocation must be based on six cost allocation principles: (1) cost allocated must be “roughly commensurate” with estimated benefits; (2) those who do not benefit from transmission do not have to pay for it; (3) benefit-to-cost thresholds must not exclude projects with significant net benefits; (4) no allocation of costs outside a region unless other region agrees; (5) cost allocation methods and identification of beneficiaries must be transparent; and (6) the methods must allow the use of different allocation methods for different types of transmission facilities.   Thus, the Rule does not require a one-size fits all method for allocating costs. 
To facilitate understanding of how the order impacts non-RTO markets, the FERC has scheduled two webinars. More information on these webinars can be found here:
Nonincumbent Developers – Removal of Federal Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”)
The Rule further acknowledges that Order 890 did not specifically address the potential for, or effect of, undue preference to incumbent utilities over nonincumbent transmission developers through practices applied within transmission planning processes.  As a result, there is the potential for a nonincumbent developer to lose the opportunity to construct its proposed transmission project to the incumbent transmission owner if that owner has a Federal Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”) to construct any transmission facility in its service territory.  The new Rule addresses nonincumbent developers by requiring removal of any ROFR from Commission-approved tariffs and agreements with respect to new transmission facilities selected in a regional transmission plan for purposes of cost allocation.  The removal of the ROFR is subject to four limitations:
1.       Removal does not apply to a transmission facility that is not selected in a regional transmission plan for purposes of cost allocation;
2.       Removal does not apply to upgrades to transmission facilities;
3.       Removal allows, but does not require, use of competitive bidding to solicit transmission projects or project developers; and
4.       Removal does not impact state or local laws or regulations regarding the construction of transmission facilities.
The impacts of the Rule on transmission planning will likely become clearer after the compliance period.  Under the rule each transmission provider is required to make a compliance filing within twelve months of the effective date of the Final Rule.  Compliance filings for interregional transmission coordination and interregional cost allocation must be filed within eighteen months of the effective date.
FERC’s transmission and cost allocation page can be found here:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Mexico Environment Department REVISING New Haul Road Policy

On September 2, 2011, we posted information regarding the New Mexico Environment Department’s (“Department”) new haul road policy requiring all haul road emission calculations to be based on unpaved road emission factors.  As mentioned in the previous posting, the Department’s new policy was apparently based on an Order issued by the Environmental Improvement Board on December 29, 2010, upholding the Department’s denial of Helena Chemical Company’s Notice of Intent (“NOI”) application. Since that posting, however, the Department has removed the new policy from their website and according to the Department, is currently revising its policy to comport with EPA’s January 2011 changes to AP 42 Section 13.2.1 governing paved haul roads - changes made subsequent to the Helena decision.  Based on the EPA changes, the revised policy will most likely reflect allowance of the use of AP 42 paved emission factors for paved haul road calculations under certain defined criteria.
AP 42 Section 13.2.1 with the 2011 changes can be found here:
The Department intends to post its new policy under its Frequently Asked Questions page as soon as it is approved. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Mexico Environment Department New Haul Road Policy

Companies seeking to permit emission sources in New Mexico should be aware of the New Mexico Environment Department’s (“Department”) new haul road policy posted on the Department’s website on July 12, 2011.  This new policy requires all haul road emission calculations to be based on unpaved haul road emission factors.  The Department presents this policy under its Frequently Asked Questions page (see Permit and NOI processing).  Specifically:
                The Department considers the reduction of emissions through the proposed use of paved roads to be a control measure because both the installation and the maintenance of the paved road is not enforceable by the Department pursuant to the Air Quality Control Act or the Federal Act.  Since NPR or NOI emissions must be based on the Potential Emission Rate (PER) as defined in § NMAC, the paved road control measure cannot be applied to PER calculations.  Thus, road emission calculations must be based on unpaved road emission factors.
The policy is apparently based on an Order issued by the Environmental Improvement Board on December 29, 2010, upholding the Department’s denial of Helena Chemical Company’s Notice of Intent (“NOI”) application.   One issue in the Helena case was emissions from the haul roads.  The Helena facility has two haul roads.  These roads were paved in mid-2005.  According to the Order, “the haul roads accumulate dust, debris and fertilizer, and must be swept frequently, including at the end of each shift.”  The Department provided five reasons for denial of the NOI including the Department’s inability to impose conditions on the haul road if the NOI was issued.  This is explained by the Department as follows,
Helena’s reliance on AP-42 Section 13.2.1 Paved Roads did not have sufficient justification in light of the potential for debris to collect on the roads and the fact that there would be no condition to sweep or otherwise maintain the roads if an NOI were issued.
Under this new policy, unless the haul road is very short, it is unlikely that any facility with an emission source will fall below the threshold to trigger the requirement for a permit in New Mexico. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time is Running Out on the Section 1603 Tax Grant Program for Renewable Energy Projects

In December 2010, the Department of Treasury Section 1603 tax grant program (“1603 Grant”) was extended through 2011.  The 1603 Grant offers renewable energy project developers cash payments in lieu of the investment tax credits (“ITC”).  The values of the awards are equivalent to 30% of the project’s total eligible cost basis in most cases.  Qualifying technologies include: biomass; combined heat and power; fuel cells; geothermal; incremental hydropower; landfill gas; marine hydrokinetic; microturbine; municipal solid waste; solar and wind. 
Another extension is not likely and so developers intending to take advantage of the 1603 Grant should be aware that construction must begin before 2012, i.e., developers must begin construction by December 31, 2011.  Developers must further file an application with Treasury no later than September 30, 2012, whether or not placed in service.  The purpose of submitting an application for a property that is not yet placed in service and will not be placed in service in 2011, is to demonstrate that construction has begun during the required time period in 2011. 
One common source of confusion is how to meet the construction test.  The Department of Treasury has provided guidance ( to use to determine whether construction has begun.  There are two ways to qualify: (1) “physical work of significant nature;” and (2) 5% safe harbor.  The safe harbor provision sets the beginning of construction at the point where the applicant has incurred or paid at least 5% of the total cost of the property, excluding land and certain preliminary planning activities.  While primarily an expenditure test, there are a number of pitfalls in satisfying the 5% safe harbor provision and developers should consult the Treasury or counsel to make sure that the test is satisfied.
It is important to note that even though time is running out on the 1603 Grant, developers still have time to take advantage if they can meet the construction test before December 31, 2011.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Western Grid 2050: Contrasting Futures, Contrasting Fortunes – A New Report For the Purpose of Informing Policy and Investment Decisions for the Western Electricity Sector

A new report, "Western Grid 2050: Contrasting Futures, Contrasting Fortunes" (the "Report") was issued today by the Western Grid Group ("WGG") with support from the Western Clean Energy Advocates ("WCEA"). The purpose of the Report is to inform policy and investment decisions for the Western electricity sector. Former Colorado Governor Ritter today joined advocacy groups in calling for western state leadership to work towards achieving the Report's vision.

The Report anticipates that the Western electricity sector will need to invest more than $200 billion by 2030 however, how this money is invested will significantly affect quality of life in the west. According to the report,

[s]ignificant investment will be required because coal, gas and nuclear facilities will need to be retired or replaced, population, economic growth, and electrification will drive gross electricity demand up, demand reduction efforts like energy efficiency programs will continue, new electric generation will be built and new transmission will be added. The question is not whether hundreds of billions will be invested but rather how they will be invested.

 To explore and evaluate the relative economic, environmental, energy security and public health consequences of the different investment choices, the report examined two trajectories: "Business as Usual" ("BAU") and "Clean Energy Vision" ("CEV"). In the study, the BAU trajectory focuses discretionary investment on retrofitting, repowering and adding coal generation and on meeting any incremental needs with new gas fired generation and the CEV trajectory focuses discretionary electricity resource investment on energy saving and renewable energy technologies.

One of the goals of the Report was to encourage an open dialogue on electricity system investment priorities in the West. In comparing the two trajectories, BAU and CEV futures will require different regulatory and policy mechanisms. The BAU paradigm is based on the existing infrastructure.

The utility regulatory structure in place today was chosen more than 50 years ago to induce utilities to invest in large, base load utility-owned generation. The cost based, rate of return regulation paradigm created incentives that are well-suited to the 5 to 10 percent annual growth in electric demand seen in the 1950s and 1960s. A BAU future is intertwined with the perpetuation of the 1950s regulatory paradigm, and thus no significant changes in institutions, regulations or policy are needed in the BAU future.

On the other hand, the report provides that the CEV trajectory will require different infrastructure, different planning and different regulation to support it.

A CEV future depends on aggressive amounts of electricity demand reduction, customer demand response and customer sited distributed generation. The cost of service, rate of return paradigm does not induce investor owned utilities to invest in customer side of the meter resources thus the regulatory paradigm must change in a CEV future. Furthermore, a CEV trajectory requires much greater regional coordination and cooperation to build the infrastructure that access and efficiently utilize the best renewable resources in the West. Conventional regulation does not adequately induce investor owned utility participation in regional projects, and so once again the regulatory paradigm must change. While Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs) do not profit from generation and grid investment in the same way that investor owned utilities do, POUs have also focused on developing resources within their own
boundaries to serve their own need and efficient implementation of a CEV trajectory will require these POU policy choices to change.

The Report is the first in a series of planned reports by the WGG and WCEA. In September, the WGG and WCEA intend to release the second phase of the report, "Clean Energy Vision Policies" describing mechanisms that can be used to guide transition to the CEV trajectory.

The Western Grid 2050 report can be found here:

Monday, August 22, 2011

SB11-045: First Meeting of the Colorado Transmission Siting Task Force

In Colorado, siting for transmission facilities is decentralized. Under the current system, all transmission lines require local government permits.  The process however, can vary from county to county which is only one of many challenges that can delay a project.  In recognition of the need for transmission development in the state, the Senate passed SB11-045 directing formation of a task force to study barriers to transmission siting and permitting in the state.  The task force is comprised of 17 members representing different stakeholder groups with an interest in the siting and permitting process for transmission in Colorado. The first meeting of the transmission task force pursuant to SB 11-045 was held on Thursday, August 19th at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (the "Commission") and Chaired by Commissioner Tarpey.

1041 permitting at the county level for transmission lines arose out of the Areas and Activities of State Interest Act (“AASIA”).  In 1974, the AASIA was introduced in the General Assembly as HB 1041 to “encourage” local governments to designate certain geographic areas and specified activities as matters of state interest.  Under the AASIA, among other things, counties can designate construction of major facilities of a public utility as activities of state interest.  Once a county makes a designation under AASIA, the county must develop guidelines or “1041” regulations to control development of land resources within the designated area or that area affected by the designated activity. Prospective developers then must apply to the local government for a permit in order to develop in these designated areas.

Alamosa County adopted 1041 regulations in 2009 and Juan Altamirano, Community Coordinator that oversees all 1041 regulations for the Alamosa County Planning Department, provided an overview of the regulations that govern utility infrastructure projects in Alamosa County.  Mr. Altamirano noted that projects are generally approved within 3-6 months.  To save time up-front, the Alamosa regulations require submittal of a preliminary application to assess general feasibility and identify any major problems and issues in order to direct data gathering to accompany the final application. The regulations further provide for significant interaction between the permitting authority and the applicant under predefined timelines.  The purpose of the meetings and timelines are to determine submission requirements for the final application and to ensure targeted data collection for the final application.  The largest CPV solar project in the world and the San Luis – Calumet – Comanche line both touch Alamosa County. 

According to Mr. Altamirano, the 1041 regulations are important because the local jurisdictions are in the position to address: mitigation of project impacts, community development, community communication and community relationships.  A significant number of Colorado counties have identified development of transmission infrastructure as a key factor in their economic development efforts. One concern of the counties is that a one-size-fits-all approach, for example, a statewide siting authority, would preclude meaningful input from the county level and thereby minimize the county’s ability to mitigate any potential impacts of a project.
On the flip-side however, inconsistencies in the county regulations and a lack of communication and coordination across multiple jurisdictions can effectively stall a project.  Tom Dougherty, a consulting attorney to Tri-State and the Colorado Rural Electric Association, described the lengthy regulatory process that Tri-State worked through in order to obtain approvals for its Nucla-Sunshine and E-470 transmission line projects.  The timeline for the Nucla-Sunshine line approximates 17 years from identification of need.  In short, the objective/subjective considerations at the local level can challenge project progress.

The remainder of the meeting identified "choke points" and who the task force would like to have present in subsequent meetings. Choke points identified: (1) inconsistencies in the county regulations; (2) delays in the court system in appealing decisions; (3) delays in the PUC executing its backstop authority; and (4) delays introduced by sequential CPCN/siting processes.

Discussion relating to a statewide authority for siting will come later in the process.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cleantech SBA Roundtable - Hosted by CREED and CCIA in Golden, CO

On Thursday, August 11, 2011, the Colorado Center for Renewable Energy Economic Development (CREED) (; the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA) (; Dr. Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy (http://www.sba/gov/advocacy/858/3177); Mike Landweber, Director of Regional Affairs for the Office of Advocacy; and John Hart, Region VIII Advocate for the Office of Advocacy covering the states of CO, WY, UT, MT, ND and SD, hosted a small business round table at CREED's facility in Golden, CO.  The sole purpose of the meeting was to provide a forum to discuss regulatory challenges facing small business in this region. 

The Office of Advocacy was established to represent the views of small entities before federal agencies and Congress and is an independent office within the U.S. Small Business Administration in order to give small entities a voice in the rule making process.  Dr. Sargeant, a co-founder of a start-up that was eventually acquired, is particularly well suited for this role as he brings the small business perspective to the table. His experience with and passion for small business was apparent in his responses to each of the challenges highlighted by the participants.

Three general themes were consistently expressed by the businesses present: (1) lack of access to capital; (2) the need to streamline and update regulations to address current issues and new business models; and (3) the competitive disadvantage created by federal agency matching requirements relating to how the regulations define the criteria for matching contributions and whether the SBA could be used to fill in any gaps to level the playing field for the small business in competing against large business.  Among other things discussed, one suggestion was to provide carve outs for small businesses for government solicitations.

Dr. Sargeant acknowledged that long latencies in the regulatory process hinder progress and they are acutely aware of the need to find a safe way to bring products to market.  The Office noted that through Executive Order 13563, the Obama administration directed a retrospective analysis of existing rules in order to consider how best to promote analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned. The Executive Order exemplifies the problem facing cleantech small business in that the regulations need to catch up to innovation in addition to being clear, certain and predictable so that businesses can succeed.  Through Mr. Hart and this region's Office of Advocacy, small businesses in this region have the opportunity to participate in identifying outmoded or inefficient regulations specific to their business models. 

Another recurring theme throughout the discussion as emphasized by Mr. Hart, was the need for companies to have a certification mechanism to provide a tool that emerging technologies can use to prove commercial scale marketability.  For example, China promotes commercialization by providing "Competency Centers."  These Centers provide the infrastructure for companies to test their product under commercial conditions in order to provide the data that these companies need to take steps towards market acceptance and actual market integration.

From my perspective, one thing was clear from the round table discussion: The Office of Advocacy was on a fact finding mission to learn first-hand from small business the regulatory challenges that they are facing.  The time was spent listening to small business and comments from the Office were focused on discussing efficient pathways to use to effect change.  The next step is to identify and advocate for solutions. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Bill in Colorado Creates Task Force to Study Siting and Permitting for Electric Transmission Facilities

On the final day of the Colorado legislative session, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 11-045, a bill creating a task force to study the siting and permitting framework for electric transmission facilities in the state. The bill calls for a 17 member task force to be convened by the Director of the Commission or its designee and provide a report to the Governor and the General Assembly no later than December 1, 2011. The bill directs the task force to address six concepts:
  1. An inventory and evaluation of Colorado's current siting and permitting framework for electric transmission facilities;
  2. Research into examples of how other states approach siting and permitting of electric transmission facilities;
  3. Identify possible models for improving Colorado's existing siting and permitting processes as applied to electric transmission facilities;
  4. Recommend actions to streamline siting and permitting processes applicable to electric transmission facilities, including balancing of environmental, land use and community effects with transmission project costs and schedule risks;
  5. Examination of the advantages and disadvantages of a state-wide transmission siting and permitting framework for electric transmission facilities; and
  6. An examination of the political acceptability of and potential strategies for, creating a state-level siting entity.
The task force will comprise the following ten stakeholders appointed by the Governor:
  1. One member representing cooperative electric associations that distribute electricity;
  2. One member representing cooperative electric associations that generate and transmit electricity;
  3. Two members representing investor-owned electric utilities;
  4. Two members representing municipally owned electric utilities;
  5. One member representing renewable energy electric generation interests;
  6. One member representing large commercial consumers of electricity; and
  7. Two landowners representing agricultural interests who reside in different geographic areas of the state.
The bill also calls for appointment of the remaining six members: One member will be appointed by the Speaker of the House; one by the President of the Senate; two members will be appointed by the Executive Director of the Municipal league; and two members appointed by the Executive Director of Colorado Counties.
The bill is now before the Governor.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sustainability: The ‘Embracers’ Seize Advantage – A New Report Issued by the MIT Sloan Management Review Addressing Corporate Commitments to Sustainability-Driven Management

Sustainable business practices are being used by large corporate entities to open new markets and build or change a company’s reputation and image, as demonstrated in the recently issued report by the MIT Sloan Management Review (the “ 2011 Report”) entitled “Sustainability: The ‘Embracers’ Seize Advantage”.  This topic was also discussed during the recent Global New Energy Summit in Colorado Springs.

The 2011 Report summarized the findings of the 2010 Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study and Research Project (the “Project”).  The Project found that even in a down economy, commitments to sustainability-driven management are strengthening and that most companies believe sustainability will be necessary to be competitive in the future.  The result is that companies are accelerating adoption of sustainability-driven management in order to use sustainability as a source of advantage.  “The only way to continue growing and continue being a successful business is to treat sustainability as a key business lever in the same way that you treat marketing, finance, culture, HR or supply chain,” says Santiago Gowland, Vice President of Brand and Global Corporate Responsibility at Unilever.”  See Sustainability: The Embracers Seize Advantage, MIT Sloan Management Review, pg. 4 (Winter 2011).

The 2011 Report is in follow-up to the MIT Sloan Management Review 2009 report, “The Business of Sustainability: Finding and Insights from the First Annual Business of Sustainability Survey and the Global Thought Leaders’ Research Project” (the “2009 Report”).  In the 2009 Report, Wal-Mart was used as a case study to demonstrate repurposing of the supply chain.  Defined as its key moves towards sustainability, Wal-Mart was highlighted for establishing goals of being 100 percent fueled by renewable energy, producing zero waste, and selling products that will sustain the environment.  As one example,

            [Wal-Mart] began working with Unilever plc in 2005 to sell concentrated laundry detergent in a 32-ounce container (equivalent to 100 ounces under a previous formulation).  Consumers got a more powerful detergent in a smaller package.  Three years after rollout, the container saved 80 million pounds of plastic resin, 430 million gallons of water, and 125 million pounds of cardboard, according to the company fact sheet.

2009 Report, pg. 28.  Accordingly, whereas the 2009 Report was designed to assess the business implications of corporate sustainability programs, the 2011 Report was designed to assess key practices of sustainability management. 

A key finding that emerged from the Project is that while commitments to sustainability-driven management are strengthening, sustainability strategy leaders generally fall into two categories: “embracers” and “cautious adopters.”  “Whereas cautious adopters see the sustainability business case in terms of risk management and efficiency gains, embracer companies see the payoff of sustainability-driven management largely in intangible advantages, process improvements, the ability to innovate and, critically, in the opportunity to grow.  And the embracers, it turns out, are the highest performing businesses in the study.”  Id. at 4. 

The Project identified seven practices that tend to be shared by embracers. 

            1.  Move early – even if information is incomplete.  Movement diminishes uncertainty because action generates data to be used to inform additional decisions.

            2.  Balance broad, long-term vision with projects offering concrete, near-term “wins.”  “An ambitious vision might generate brand premiums, transform organizational culture and help attract capital, talent or public collaborators.  But smart embracers balance those aims with narrowly defined projects in, say, supply chain management, which allow them to produce early, positive bottom-line results.”  Id. at 19. 

            3.  Drive sustainability top-down and bottom-up.  The Project results indicate that embracers recognize the benefits of including employees in sustainability initiatives at all levels because it drives up levels of employee engagement and productivity and helps in recruiting.

            4.  Aggressively de-silo sustainability – integrating it throughout company operations.  According to Duke Energy’s Roberta Bowman, “[i]t’s the approach, it’s the process, it’s the mindset.”  Id. at 20.

            5.  Measure everything (and if ways of measuring something don’t exist, start inventing them).  Beyond establishing baselines from which to measure starting positions and progress, some embracers are developing ways to quantify the impact of sustainability on brand, innovation and productivity.

            6.  Value intangible benefits seriously.  Investment decisions tend to made on the basis of a combination of tangible benefits, intangibles and risk scenarios.  “Smart companies are realizing that conservation of natural resources they need is a fundamental part of risk management, as the work being done by companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo on water conservation clearly demonstrates.”  Id. at 21. 

            7.  Try to be authentic and transparent – internally and externally.  “Companies leading the charge on sustainability are fundamentally realistic. They do not overstate motives or set unrealistic expectations, and they communicate their challenges as well as their successes.”  Id. at 21.  In this way, open communication can be used as a defense to claims of “greenwashing.” 

Also stressed in the study is that companies have realized that sustainability requires cooperation between entities.  Sustainability issues encompass environmental and social problems beyond the typical reach of large industrial energy users.  The results show an emerging trend of partnerships between corporations and nongovernmental entities or NGOs.  For example, Unilever, manufacturer of Dove brand soap, was used as a case study in the Project.  One issue faced by Unilever is that Dove contains palm oil, “whose impacts include deforestation and destruction of the habitats of endangered species.”  Id. at 14.  To address this challenge, Unilever is shifting its supply chain away from palm oil and developing new sustainable sources of oil.  To develop sustainable supplies, however, Unilever is using a coalition of government, industry and NGOs.  “The scale of the issue deserves a global response that cuts across sectors.  Otherwise, anything you do will be even more costly and less effective.”  Id. at 18. 

Improved brand recognition is also a benefit of addressing sustainability.  “The views of consumers increasingly resonate with some of the social, economic and environmental messages of brands . . . So I think that in some brands, the sustainability agenda can reinforce brand proposition.”  Id. at 10.  The results of the Project caution, however, that increased brand recognition in this communications driven global society, presents a reputation landscape that is increasingly risky.  “In short, unless reality matches rhetoric, making sustainability claims is a risky business.”  Id.   

The 2011 Report further identifies key drivers that support sustainability initiatives:

            These include increased margins or market share, greater potential for innovation in their business models and processes and access to new markets.  And when it comes to competitive advantage, a significantly larger group of embracers (38%) picked it as one of the top three benefits sustainability had brought to the organization (only 21% of cautious adopters selected it).

Id. at 12.  Thus, the findings indicate that embracers tend to weave sustainability into the fabric of their corporate culture and use this fabric to innovate new opportunities for company growth that would not have otherwise been identified, including innovations to measure progress and build consumer trust.

Finally, the findings indicate that embracers use broad strategies to analyze the risks associated with not fully addressing sustainability issues.  For example, larger embracer companies tend to focus on the regulatory environment and the concerns of investors.  These companies look ahead to emerging regulatory trends and how these trends will impact their business and how these companies can mitigate these potential regulatory impacts.  In this way, companies can take steps to position themselves to address emerging local, state, national and global regulatory changes. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Draft Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines – Comments Due May 19, 2011

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “USFWS”) has issued “voluntary” Guidelines to be used for all utility-scale and community-scale land-based, wind energy projects regardless of whether they are proposed for private or public lands.  The Guidelines define a tiered process for collecting information in increasing detail in order to quantify and evaluate risks of proposed wind energy projects to fish, wildlife, and habitats to be used in making siting, construction, and operation decisions.  The Guidelines can be found here:
Response from AWEA
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has expressed concern that the Guidelines will negatively impact wind development.  According to AWEA, among other problems with the guidance as released, it could:
  • Delay construction of projects by up to three years, and require operating projects to retroactively conduct post-construction wildlife studies for a minimum of two and as much as five years, adding unforeseen costs to the operating budgets of these facilities.
  • Require “adaptive management”, which could include operational changes, such as shutting off turbines at certain times of the year, which will add further unquantifiable costs to even projects already permitted and operating.
  • Request analysis on wildlife-based sound impacts without any peer-reviewed scientific evidence that sound related to the construction and operation of wind farms has the potential to impact wildlife.
  • Greatly expand applicability under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to projects built on private lands, adding time and costs to developing wind projects, when there is no federal staff to perform this vastly increased amount of administrative work.
AWEA has indicated that they will file comments by the May 19, 2011 deadline.  AWEA’s statement can be found here:

Potential Impact to REC Trading Markets
A negative impact to the wind industry could further impact other markets that depend on wind development, like the market for renewable energy credits (RECs).  For example, the EPA Green Power Partnership (GPP) is a voluntary program implemented by the EPA to support increased use of green power.  The GPP supports corporate participation based on the purchase of a threshold quantity of eligible power proportional to their annual electricity use.  Among two other criteria, to be eligible, the power must be generated from wind, solar, geothermal, qualifying biomass, or low-impact hydropower.  Large corporations like Staples and Starbucks, both of which are ranked in EPA’s national top 50, are using the GPP to help reduce the environmental impacts of electricity use and support the development of new renewable generation capacity nationwide.  Regulations that impact wind development would likely impact the way that these corporations participate. 
The USFWS Guidelines
The Guidelines are based on recommendations of the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee (the Committee); a Committee established in 2007 by the Secretary of the Interior to provide recommendations to replace the 2003 interim voluntary guidelines related to land-based wind energy facilities.  The tiered approach is designed to guide the developer’s decision process as to whether or not the selected location is appropriate for wind development and the information collected at each successive tier is designed to guide further analysis for additional tiers.  Specifically, the tiers address:
                Tier 1: Preliminary evaluation or screening of potential sites (landscape-scale screening of possible project sites)
                Tier 2: Site characterization (broad characterization of one or more potential project sites)
                Tier 3:  Pre-Construction monitoring and assessments (site-specific assessments at the proposed project site)
                Tier 4:  Post-construction monitoring of effects (to evaluate fatalities and other effects)
                Tier 5:  Research (to further evaluate direct and indirect effects, and assess how they may be addressed).
The Guidelines define a number of factors to be considered to assess the potential effects to various species: Collision and Barotrauma; Barrier Effects; Habitat Loss and Degradation; Habitat Fragmentation; Noise; Displacement and Behavioral Changes; and Indirect Effects.  The Guidelines note that indirect effects can manifest themselves later in time than the causing action.  Indirect effects can therefore introduce additional uncertainty under the Guidelines.
The Guidelines further include the concept of adaptive management for use in project assessment.  Adaptive management is defined as “[a] decision process that permits flexible decision making that can be adjusted in the face of uncertainties as outcomes from management actions and other events become better understood.”  The net effect is that the assessment process becomes a continual process requiring periodic reviews and adjustments as well as mechanisms for implementation of additional mitigation measures as necessary after the project is developed.  As noted by AWEA, incorporation of adaptive management will likely introduce greater project uncertainty and extended project assessment timeframes. 
The USFWS urges voluntary adherence to the draft Guidelines and communication with the USFWS when planning and operating a facility.  The USFWS will regard such voluntary adherence and communication as evidence of due care with respect to avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating adverse impacts to protected species and will take such adherence and communication fully into account when exercising its discretion with respect to any potential referral for prosecution related to the death of or injury to any such species. 

The Guidelines have the potential to negatively impact the wind industry by providing for increased project timelines and additional operational uncertainty.  The impact will not likely be limited to the wind industry but will reach related industries.  Without adequate wind development, utilities will struggle to meet state mandated RPS requirements; and less wind coming on-line equates to fewer RECs for REC trading markets.  Accordingly, stakeholders related to the wind industry may want to consider filing comments to the proposed Guidelines prior to the May 19, 2011 deadline.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

EPA Issues Extension to Greenhouse Gas Reporting Deadline

On October 30, 2009, EPA finalized annual reporting requirements of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) for large emissions sources in the United States and U.S. suppliers of products that would emit GHGs if released or combusted.  It is anticipated that the data collected will help guide policy decisions and the development of future programs which the EPA might implement to reduce these emissions.  The original deadline for reporting 2010 data was March 31, 2011.  EPA is now extending the reporting deadline for 2010 GHG data pursuant to September 30, 2011. 

According to the EPA, the extension is to allow adequate time for the testing of EPA’s new online GHG reporting tool (e-GGRT) that facilities will use to submit data.  The deadline for registering with e-GGRT has also been extended to August 1, 2011.  The EPA makes clear that the action does not change the data that must be reported or the deadline for future years.

More information can be found:

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Mexico Electricity Transmission Planning Report - Recommendation that the State Consider a Regional Transmission Organization

Background for the introduction of SM 54, the Memorial requesting formation of a technical committee to consider functionality of a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) or like structure for New Mexico, can be found in New Mexico's Electricity Transmission Planning Report (Report) issued by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department on November 1, 2010. The Report provided a number of recommendations from the "Governor's Task Force on Statewide Electricity Planning" which was created by Executive Order of the Governor. The Task Force was charged with preparing recommendations regarding opportunities and steps to enhance the statewide electricity transmission grid, including any appropriate collector systems and financing and cost-recovery options, on a 5-year, 10-year and 20-year planning horizon."

The Report highlights New Mexico's strategic positioning in the Nation:

The United States has three transmission interconnection systems serving the nation: the Eastern Interconnect, the Western Interconnect (Western Electric Coordinating Council – WECC), and the Texas Interconnect (Electric Reliability Council of Texas – ERCOT). For the most part, these interconnections operate separately. New Mexico happens to "straddle" both the Eastern and Western interconnects affording it the opportunity to export power both eastward and westward. The state is also adjacent to ERCOT. Thus far, the majority of the focus on exporting New Mexico's renewable energy out-of-state has been on western markets like Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles. However, there are significant opportunities to export power to eastern markets particularly as more and more states adopt renewable portfolio standards.

The Report recommends that the New Mexico Governor's Office organize a transmission summit of southwestern states to "facilitate the development of transmission lines across state borders and eliminate existing bureaucratic, economic and other barriers to interstate transmission lines."

The Report further introduces the concept of a regional transmission organization (RTO).

A multi-state RTO is common in the eastern United States, RTOs plan, finance and cost-allocate transmission lines that cross multiple state lines. A portion of eastern New Mexico, in Southwestern Public Service Company's service territory, is part of the Southwestern Power Pool RTO. In her presentation to the Task Force, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Suedeen Kelly emphasized that New Mexico should consider being part of a multi-state RTO. Some Task Force members strongly support the area of New Mexico not covered by the Southwestern Power Pool RTO be covered by a newly established southwestern states RTO, while other members felt the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) existing "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" on cost-allocation for multi-state transmission lines is the preferred avenue to resolve this issue.

The Report recommends that New Mexico consider forming an RTO if FERC's proposed rule on cost recovery does not become a formal rule:

If FERC's proposed rule on interstate transmission line cost recovery does not become a formal rule then, yes, the state should consider establishing an RTO for the southwestern United States that addresses cost recovery on a broader, regional basis. The Southwestern Power Pool has been a very successful model for this. Note: Concerns were raised by the Task Force regarding the potential additional costs to the ratepayer that may occur under an RTO framework. This would need to be carefully evaluated and considered before moving forward with becoming part of an RTO.

SM 54 pending in the 2011 New Mexico legislative session provides the conceptual framework to address these, and other, concerns regarding a New Mexico RTO, New Mexico joining an existing RTO or New Mexico contracting for services of an RTO.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Mexico: Requesting Study of Regional Transmission Organization

Senate Memorial 54 was introduced in the New Mexico legislative session on Friday, February 25, 2011 requesting formation of a technical committee to consider functionality of a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) or like structure for New Mexico.  Specifically, the technical committee is directed to consider at least three options for an independent, nonprofit entity to plan and operate the regional transmission assets under its functional control and provide nondiscriminatory wholesale transmission service within its defined geographic region: 

            (A) all New Mexico public utilities joining an existing regional transmission organization that is contiguous with the state;

            (B) all New Mexico public utilities forming a New Mexico-based regional transmission organization; and

            (C) all New Mexico public utilities contracting with a third-party transmission coordinator to functionally control their transmission systems. 

In considering these options, the technical committee is directed to evaluate the following seven criteria: 

            (A) the cost to the state and its stakeholders, including rate payers, government agencies, independent power producers and public utilities;

            (B) the benefits to the state, including potential job creation, environmental impact, enhanced resource development, a more efficient regional planning process and improved ability to coordinate transmission development with the state’s energy vision;

            (C) the benefits of a centralized tariff administration, more transparent transmission scheduling and posting, congestion management, market monitoring, transmission planning, expansion and interregional coordination, ancillary services management and parallel path flow management;

            (D) the impact to each public utility’s interconnection queue;

            (E) the impact on each public utility’s wholesale operation;

            (F) the benefit of creating more robust interstate energy markets; and

            (G) any other costs and benefits appropriate to consider with respect to these options.

The technical committee is directed to report findings and conclusions to Governor Martinez and the New Mexico legislature no later than November 15, 2011.

A copy of Senate Memorial 54 can be located here: