The electric grid connects electricity generators to consumers. State and federal regulators are tasked with ensuring that consumers have access to safe and reliable electricity at just and reasonable rates. The requirements of this task have and will continue to transform as technologies change and as the impacts of climate change alter the context in which the electric grid operates. Thus, regulators who make adapting to climate change a priority will better fulfill their mandate to ensure that utilities provide consumers with safe and reliable electricity at just and reasonable rates. Yet some regulators do not recognize how closely adaptation aligns with their basic mandate. This chapter is written for advocates seeking a more thorough integration of adaptation considerations into regulation of the electric grid. Part 1 describes the grid, its regulators, and their functions. Part 2 highlights impacts of climate change that are expected to impair grid operations: increased temperatures and heat waves, changes in precipitation, storms, and sea-level rise. Part 3 discusses substantive proposals to adapt to climate change impacts. Part 4 summarizes the basic regulatory proceedings and identifies opportunities for an advocate to present evidence and arguments during such proceedings.
Environmental Law | Law
Payal Nanavati & Justin Gundlach,
Legal Tools For Climate Adaptation Advocacy: The Electric Grid and Its Regulators – FERC and State Public Utility Commissions,
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, September 2016
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/sabin_climate_change/112