Electricity's Current Challenges: Capital Investments, Renewables, Energy Efficiency, "Modern" IRP, and Transmission

Newark, New Jersey
Thursday, January 27, 2011

Electricity's Current Challenges: Capital Investments, Renewables, Energy Efficiency, "Modern" IRP, and Transmission
Thursday, January 27, 2011 8:30 AM -
Friday, January 28, 2011 4:00 PM (Eastern Time)

Seton Hall University Law School - Auditorium
One Newark Center
Newark, New Jersey 07102
United States

Map and Directions

    The debate over climate change has produced multiple pressures on utility regulators.  Integrated resource planning processes born in the 1990s require modernization to reflect new approaches to demand-side initiatives (including energy efficiency, demand response, and dynamic rates).  Regional transmission planning has the potential to "green" our power supply, but the state and federal regulators must find a way to coordinate their actions.  Large capital investments—whether in generation, transmission, or "smart grid"—are on the drawing boards, but Wall Street is itchy about investments absent more predictability in state ratemaking.  Renewable energy policy is in flux, as four policy urges from four different eras combine in unpredictable ways. 

    This two-day, 12-hour seminar will bring you the learning you need to address these problems.  NRRI's popular seminars make electricity accessible to the beginner while also challenging the veteran.  Designed for lawyers and non-lawyers alike, these seminars trace the roots of today's leading industry challenges.  Audiences praise the dynamic mix of lecture and audience participation.


Who Should Attend


            Whether you’re an attorney, economist, engineer, commissioner, legislator, or manager of a public or private entity—beginner or veteran—this seminar will strengthen your decisionmaking.


            Join the ranks of the thousands of professionals from all 50 states and every industry sector, many of whom have returned repeatedly to hear Scott Hempling’s seminars on the electricity industry.  You’ll gain the insights you need to better grasp the industry’s ever-changing landscape.


            What’s more, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find new colleagues, share ideas, build your network, and strengthen your organization.  Find out what your colleagues are doing—or will do—as they anticipate and adapt to the changing electric industry. 


Praise for NRRI’s Seminars


“Probably the best combination of content and teaching skills I have seen since I joined the corporate world.”


“Your attention to detail and rigorous presentation requirements make for the most effective and well-done programs being presented at the numerous energy seminars.”


“I have found the teleseminars, the in-person seminars, and the written materials provided by NRRI to be some of the most helpful and useful information in fulfilling my responsibilities as a public utility commissioner.  Whether you are a new or a long-time commissioner, NRRI . . . helps us become better and more effective regulators.”



Program Information


            Here’s an outline of the topics we’ll cover during this comprehensive two-day workshop (click here for a detailed course outline). 

Day One

      Regulatory Jurisdiction in the Electric Industry: Who Does What to Whom?


a)         Industry actions triggering jurisdiction


i)          Sale of electricity at retail, wholesale

ii)         Transmission of retail electricity:  bundled, unbundled

iii)         Transmission of wholesale electricity:  bundled, unbundled

iv)        Distribution of retail electricity:  "local," non‑"local"

v)         "Non‑local" distribution of wholesale electricity

vi)        Merge with utility; acquire utility or utility assets

vii)        Issue equity or debt

viii)       Own, use or operate bulk power system

ix)        Site transmission

x)         Site generation

xi)        Construct and operate nuclear power plant


b)         Regulatory purposes


i)          rates

ii)         quality of service

iii)         mergers

iv)        reliability

v)         need

vi)        siting

vii)        safety


c)         Jurisdictional relationships


i)          FERC exclusive (and preemptive)

ii)         State exclusive

iii)         Concurrent (preemptive and non‑preemptive)

iv)        Other


d)         Frontier issues


i)          Preemption:  Must state commissions honor FERC approved costs?

ii)         Unbundling:  How does it change jurisdiction?

iii)         Transmission:  Who decides costs and siting now?

iv)        Reliability:  How many chefs in the kitchen?

v)         Demand response:  State function, federal function, or both?


      Bringing Demand‑Side Initiatives—Energy Efficiency, Demand Response and Dynamic Rates—Into the Integrated Resource Planning Tent


a)         Fundamentals of energy efficiency and demand management


i)          Identify goals

ii)         Study potential (technical, economic, market)

iii)         Design programs

iv)        Analyze benefits and costs

v)         Monitor and verify

vi)        Determine cost recovery


b)         The new complexities


i)          Non‑utility franchised providers

ii)         Aggregrators of retail customers

iii)         Interaction with regional markets

iv)        Customer acceptance and usage

v)         Skill sets (at utilities and commissions)


c)         Rate design


i)          Dynamic rates:  purposes and options

ii)         Implementation decisions

iii)         Can options combine?


      The State Role in Regional Transmission and Generation Policy:  Meshing State‑Level Decisionmaking with Federal Initiatives


a)         Transmission fundamentals


i)          Terminology:  What is "transmission"?

ii)         Eleven features of transmission policy

iii)         Technical concepts


b)         The transmission transition:  from local monopoly to regional markets


i)          Step 1:  Utility retains control, but "unbundles" of transmission from generation

ii)         Step 2:  Regional transmission organizations receive operational control

iii)        Policy forces stimulating the transition:  Independence, regionalization, and market‑making


c)         The transmission‑generation‑DSM nexus:  From utility‑level planning to multi‑state planning


i)          Integration of renewable energy with grid operations

ii)         Resource adequacy

iii)         Regional planning processes

iv)        Market monitoring


d)         Friction points:  challenges and solutions


i)          Cost recovery

ii)         Planning

iii)         Siting:  Who has jurisdiction?

iv)        Reliability:  Who has responsibility, and who has jurisdiction?

v)         Congestion:  What pricing?

vi)        RTO membership stability:  Who decides entries and exits?

vii)        New forms of transmission ownership:  "transco" or "merchant" owners


Day Two


      Large Capital Investments: How Can States Address Uncertainty?


a)         Triggering actions


b)         Pre-approval regulatory commitments that constrain future decisions but do not commit ratepayer dollars to immediate cost recovery


c)         Options for implementing pre‑approved cost recovery


d)         Conditions that can accompany pre‑approval mechanisms to ensure consistency with the public interest


e)         Criteria for selecting among pre-approval mechanism options


      Renewable Energy Policy in Flux:  Eleven Objectives, Four Programs, and Nine Differences  


a)         Ten‑plus policy objectives

b)         Four renewable energy programs

c)         Nine differences among the programs

d)         Are we headed toward success?


6)      Designing State‑Level Feed‑in Tariffs: How to Produce Results Cost‑ Effectively While Avoiding Federal Preemption


a)         Design issues


i)          Context:  Goals, resources, constraints

ii)         Parameters:  Technology, size, caps

iii)         Rates:  avoided cost, market; adjustments

iv)        Terms and conditions

v)         Administration


b)         Jurisdictional issues


i)          The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act path

ii)         The Federal Power Act path




Thursday, January 27:  8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Friday, January 28:  8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.



Seton Hall University Law School – Auditorium

One Newark Center

Newark, New Jersey 07102    



Hilton Newark Airport Hotel

1170 Spring Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott

1 Hotel Road

Newark, NJ 07114



$395 Government or nonprofit organizations

$695 For-profit firms or association thereof


CLE Credit

     Attendees apply for credit on their own.  All prior in-person seminars by Scott Hempling or NRRI have been approved for CLE credit.  We will provide proof of attendance, resume, class schedule, and all other materials traditionally required for CLE credit.  This seminar is designed to offer 12 hours of CLE credit.


How to Register


   Click here
to register.  If you have questions (we hope all are answered by this announcement), please call Alicia Lugo at 301-588-5385 ext. 303.         


Seminar Leader

      Scott Hempling, Esq.
is the Executive Director of the National Regulatory Research Institute.  As an attorney in private practice, he represented many state commissions.  His legal and policy research has included mergers and acquisitions, the introduction of competition into formerly monopolistic markets, corporate restructuring, ratemaking, utility investments in nonutility businesses, and state-federal jurisdictional issues.


        Mr. Hempling received a B.A. cum laude in (1) Economics and Political Science and (2) Music from Yale University, where he was a recipient of a Continental Grain Fellowship and a Patterson research grant.  He received a J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was the recipient of an American Jurisprudence award for Constitutional Law.

        He has appeared numerous times before committees of the U. S. Congress and before state legislative committees in Arkansas, California, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.  He has published articles in The Electricity Journal, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and other professional publications.


Contact Information

  • Phone: 301-588-5385 ext303, Email: alugo@nrri.org
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