US/Canada Electric Grid Strategy: 21 Day Comment Period Now Open
July 20, 2016
By Matthew Clarke, former lawyer at McInnes Cooper
On July 20, 2016, the US Department of Energy published a notice opening a 21 day window for comments on a draft Joint US/Canada Electric Grid Strategy. Aimed at strengthening the North American power grid, the strategy is intended to focus on grid reliability, resiliency and cybersecurity, and ultimately climate change mitigation. Canadian electric utilities and power marketers that participate in cross-border trade in electricity may be impacted by the strategy and may have an interest in making their views on it known to key policy-makers. Canadian companies providing comments may want to emphasize the significant opportunities that enhanced transmission connections between the two countries present for meeting the new North American 50% clean energy goal, as well as other US state and federal environmental and renewable energy targets.
The Strategy. The draft US/Canada Electric Grid Strategy follows from a March 2016 meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama and was jointly drafted by the US Departments of Energy and Homeland Security and their Canadian counterparts. During the “Three Amigos” summit, President Obama, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Peña Nieto announced a North American goal of achieving 50% “clean power” generation by 2025. It is anticipated that this goal will lead to increased export opportunities for Canadian renewable energy producers; the strengthening of the interconnected US/Canada transmission grid pursuant to the Joint Strategy should enhance those opportunities.
Public Comment. On July 20, 2016, the US Department of Energy published a high-level draft outline of the Joint US/Canada Electric Grid Strategy with a notice seeking public comment on it. The Canadian Department of Natural Resources, which has responsibility for energy, may seek similar input on the draft Strategy but has not done so to date. The window for public comment is 21 days, closing on August 11, 2016. Although comments aren’t limited, the US Department of Energy seeks specific suggestions in five areas:
- How best to describe the cyber and physical risks to electric grid systems, as well as ways to address and mitigate those risks.
- Ensuring that the outlined strategic goals and objectives are at the appropriate level for a joint US-Canadian strategy.
- Actions under the proposed joint strategy that Federal departments and agencies should take to make the grid more secure and resilient.
- New ways to secure the future grid across North America, as outlined in the final section of the draft Strategy.
- Timelines to use when considering future planning and investment opportunities.
The notice provides instructions for submitting comments and a contact for further information.
Please contact your McInnes Cooper lawyer or any member of our McInnes Cooper Electricity Team to discuss this topic or any other legal issue.
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