Earlier this week the Department of Energy (DOE) announced $23 million in funding for 23 new projects focused on developing clean energy technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation. These small businesses will receive $1 million each over the next two years, through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) combined Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, to advance innovative concepts into prototype technologies. Most of these Phase II funding recipients also received Phase I funding in 2015 when projects were selected based on scientific and technical merit and commercial potential. The 23 funding recipients will look to advance their promising clean energy technologies focused on improving manufacturing processes, boosting building efficiency, increasing transportation sustainability, and generating electricity from renewable sources. The recipients … [Read more...] about Dept. of Energy Awards $23 Million for Small Businesses Focused on Clean Energy Innovations
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Legislative ActivitySenate leadership continues to work to encourage their colleagues to lift holds they have placed that have prevented further floor consideration of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 and the Flint water funding package. While progress reportedly has been made to address Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) hold concerning spending for the Flint water crisis, the latest hold has been placed by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) in connection with an amendment concerning offshore oil and gas drilling and revenue. There has been some discussion about the possibility of bringing the energy bill and Flint package to the floor regardless of Senator Nelson’s hold, but that could cause the process to take much longer since it could require a cloture vote and more valuable floor time. With the Senate having passed the opioid bill last week, there is room on the floor this week to take up the energy bill/Flint package if the holds can be resolved. This … [Read more...] about Floor Action for Senate Energy Bill? House to Consider Flint Crisis; Dept. of Energy Begins to Reshape U.S. Electricity Grid
When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Food and Drug Administration each have issued guidance on the risks to health, safety, and productivity associated with unsecured devices on the so-called Internet of Things (“IoT”), we can reasonably assume that these risks are substantial and of meaningful duration. By one estimate, approximately 23 billion “things” are now part of the IoT. That number may climb to 50 billion things by 2020. Global spending on IoT devices and services was $656 billion in 2014. It is estimated to rise to a whopping $1.7 trillion in 2020. The IoT is not a fad. It is our future. Here, as in most other areas in life, benefits are joined at the hip with risks.In lay terms, the “IoT” refers to devices that are able to process information through software and computer servers to autonomously connect with and to monitor … [Read more...] about Internet of Things: Is Your Cyber Insurance Protecting You?
Cyber-physical attacks on critical infrastructure that have the potential to damage those physical assets and to cause widespread losses to third parties are keeping your insurer awake at night. A cyber-physical attack on critical infrastructure occurs when a hacker gains access to a computer system that operates equipment in a manufacturing plant, oil pipeline, a refinery, an electric generating plant, or the like and is able to control the operations of that equipment to damage those assets or other property. A major cyber-physical attack on critical infrastructure is a risk not only for the owners and operators of those assets, but also for their suppliers, customers, businesses and persons in the vicinity of the attacked asset, and any person or entity that may be adversely affected by it (e.g., hospital patients and shareholders).Because damages caused by a cyber-physical attack can be widespread, massive, and highly correlated, affecting multiple sectors of … [Read more...] about Cyber-physical Attacks on Critical Infrastructure: What’s Keeping Your Insurer Awake at Night?
FERC’s Order No. 745 requiring independent regional grid operators (RTOs and ISOs) in limited circumstances to compensate providers of state-authorized demand response services in the same amounts that they compensate electricity generators was vacated in a May 23, 2014 decision by the majority of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Electric Power Supply Association v. FERC. Siding with challengers — principally electricity generators — Judge Brown writing for the two-judge majority held that FERC exceeded its Federal Power Act (FPA) jurisdiction over electricity wholesales and intruded impermissibly on retail jurisdiction reserved to states by “lur[ing]” retail customers into the wholesale markets of regional grid operators with “rich” incentives to reduce retail purchases and consumption whenever a net benefit accrues to the wholesale market in the form of lower market-clearing … [Read more...] about Divided D.C. Court of Appeals Panel Vacates Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 745 on Compensation of Demand Response