The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released their jointly developed proposal for the implementation of the National Action Plan released by FERC on 17 June 2010,1 as required by section 529 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).2 The National Action Plan, which was developed with input and participation from a broad range of stakeholders, identifies means for states to maximize and support cost-effective demand response actions, as well as analytical tools for demand response design, evaluation, and analysis. The implementation proposal is relevant to both current and prospective demand response providers, and builds on the National Action Plan by identifying the following actions which can be taken by federal, state, and private sector organizations to implement the Plan. 

Technical assistance to states

  • Establish a national forum: Proposed as a one-day session in 2011, to be sponsored by the DOE and FERC and attended by private and non-federal governmental organizations.
  • Conduct informational and educational sessions for policymakers and regulators: The DOE has and will continue to provide funding and technical assistance for demand response. Private or non-federal governmental organizations may sponsor additional educational sessions.  
  • Sponsor technical papers: Recommends the development of papers by a coalition, or any private or non-federal governmental organizations, which would be targeted to state officials. The DOE has made specific commitments to fund technical studies.  
  • Technical assistance to states for demand response: As stated above, the DOE intends to continue providing technical assistance to states for demand response. Additionally, FERC staff provides up-to-date information to states and other interested parties about demand response programs and trends in policy.  
  • Build a panel of demand response experts: Both the DOE and FERC have hired various researchers and consultants to conduct formal demand response analytical and training efforts, and privately and publicly sponsored conferences and seminars on demand response are widely available. Private or non-federal governmental organizations may choose to maintain rosters of demand response experts, develop procedures to identify "experts," and finance activities on behalf of their members and constituents.
  • Establish a demand response grant program: The DOE has committed $4 billion of federal funds in the Smart Grid Investment Grant and Smart Grid Demonstration programs to 131 organizations for smart grid projects. Private and non-federal governmental organizations may award additional funds for particular projects or technologies.  

National communications program

  • Develop a communications umbrella: FERC staff and the DOE propose that a coalition, or any private or non-federal governmental organizations, execute the communications program recommended in the National Action Plan. The DOE will provide limited support in specific research areas, including compiling customer education efforts and results from consumer behavior funded through the Smart Grid Investment Grant program. 
  • Local implementation: Logistical support and coordination and use of diverse public relations, advertising, viral, and grassroots marketing techniques by coalitions or private or non-federal governmental organizations.
  • Direct outreach to states, policymakers, and partners: Communications assistance to states and policymakers using meetings, workshops, and public educational efforts on demand response by coalitions or private or non-federal governmental organizations.

Tools and materials

  • Develop a web-based clearinghouse of demand response materials: The DOE will examine the feasibility of integrating the Action Plan's web-based demand response clearinghouse with the DOE-sponsored Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse. In addition, a coalition or other private or non-federal governmental organizations are invited to develop and maintain more specialized web-based clearinghouses or databases to meet their specific needs.
  • Develop or enhance demand response estimation tools and methods: The DOE and other federal agencies are providing assistance and funding applicable research. Coalitions or private or non-federal governmental organizations are invited to oversee additional private efforts.

Hogan Lovells has deep relationships with both FERC and DOE staff, and would be happy to assist any current or prospective demand response providers who wish to engage in the development of this joint agency initiative. For further information, please contact any of the lawyers listed above.