Study on US power, gas connectivity in the East may extend, head says
Washington (Platts)--7Feb2013/605 pm EST/2305 GMT
The US Department of Energy is considering paying to extend a study on
better connecting the eastern portion of the US electric system with the
natural gas system, the head of the effort said Thursday.
DOE might extend the existing Eastern Interconnection Planning
Collaborative to study the gas/electric interface, widely seen as a major
issue facing planners, EIPC executive director David Whiteley said.
EIPC, funded by DOE in 2010 in an effort to bring together planning
authorities, industry and others, is a first-of-its-kind effort including
virtually all segments of the electric industry. EIPC includes independent
system operators, state and federal regulators, engineers, end-users,
transmission owners and developers, and generation owners. DOE also funded
similar initiatives in the Western Interconnection and in Texas. The current
incarnation of the EIPC effort wrapped up its work January 18.
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Whiteley made his remarks at the winter committee meeting of the
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, where state
regulators and others lauded the results of the process, which developed
highly detailed planning scenarios covering 2015 to 2030.
Whiteley said that he is "very much encouraged that people found it
helpful, and beneficial and a positive experience."
David Meyer of DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy
Reliability said the agency felt a need to create an interconnection-level
organization to help figure out a path through the myriad challenges facing
electricity planners reliability officials, state regulators and others.
"This train isn't going to slow down," Meyer said at a NARUC meeting
Lauren Azar, a former member of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission,
who was named to as an adviser to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in May 2011,
expressed similar sentiments as Meyer.
"We will either work alone, or die alone," Azar said. She urged state
regulators to think beyond their borders when it comes to addressing
challenges, saying a broad perspective is necessary.
It is imperative to avoid planning based on "snapshots in time," but
should rather be done with a longer view, Azar said. She served on the
Eastern Interconnection States' Planning Council, a coalition of state
governors and utility commissions that is a sister organization to EIPC and
funded through the same DOE program. The process revealed difficulties in
regards to seams and a lack of necessary data, she said.
--Jason Fordney, email@example.com
--Edited by Carla Bass, firstname.lastname@example.org