Electricity Policy

Mon02202017

Last updateSun, 19 Feb 2017 6pm

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Getting the Most from Grid Modernization

Getting the Most from Grid Modernization

By Sonia Aggarwal and Mike O’Boyle

The risk vs. reward calculus associated with new investments differs greatly for utility customers and investors in traditionally regulated markets as against competitive wholesale markets. The program design ideas below can help ensure that the risks and rewards of grid modernization investments are shared fairly between these groups. 
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s states consider new utility investments in modernizing the grid, state regulators need some way to ensure that utilities maximize the potential benefits of grid modernization fairly and in a timely fashion.

 

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A Jobs and Infrastructure Program to Arrest Climate Change

A Jobs and Infrastructure Program to Arrest Climate Change

 By David B. Goldstein

We have the technology and know-how to rein in climate change at a profit. In so doing, we can put millions of Americans to work where they live, with good middle class jobs, while making America stronger and more competitive globally.

Part 1: Why limiting climate pollution is an economic development strategy

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ost of us think of our electricity infrastructure as consisting of generating plants and power lines. But that leaves out our contribution—the consumer contribution—to the delicately balanced machine that is our power grid: the demand for energy we place on the grid. That’s because our energy usage—our residences, businesses, grid-connected devices, and soon our cars as well—is part of the grid. There remain immense savings in that usage that can be achieved even while improving comfort—savings in energy use that make our economy more efficient and competitive, while reducing power bills for businesses and residences.

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‘Lighting the World’— An Interview with Former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers

‘Lighting the World’— An Interview with Former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers

By Leah Y Parks and James E. Rogers, Jr.

Electricity, lifeblood of modern society, is—or should be—a basic human right. There’s a business case to be made for bringing it to the 1.2 billion people who lack it. Everyone wins if we help lift kWh-poor economies and their people out of poverty.

EP:  What led you to start providing electricity to some of the world’s 1.2 billion people who don’t have it? 

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Merger Denied: Now What?

Merger Denied: Now What?

 By Scott Hempling

If the competition to buy a utility were first a competition to better serve the customer, the customers’ benefit would not be net zero as it commonly is. It would reflect what the winner had to offer to beat out its competitors. 

 

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ince the modern electricity merger trend started in the mid-1980s, state commissions have approved nearly 100 electric utility acquisitions.  I have addressed this trend with a series of essays—sketches for a book I will complete in 2017.  The first essay (“Utility Mergers:  Who Has a Vision?”) introduced the problem.  Because mergers of monopolies are not disciplined by competitive market forces, regulatory policies must align merging companies' interests with the public interest.  They don't.  When no state has a clear vision for its corporate structure future, we get results that no one intended.  Consolidation among investor-owned utilities has reduced their number by half, while leaving many of our local utilities owned by conglomerates.  Electric utilities are no longer your grandparents’ nest eggs, removing a historically important option for conservative investors (and therefore a source of low-cost capital of benefit to consumers). 

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Searching for Sustainable Solar Policies

Searching for Sustainable Solar Policies

 By Barbara Lockwood

Far from being anti-solar, Arizona Public Service has pioneered with its customers and suppliers to bring the benefits of this clean, renewable energy source to all our customers in the fairest ways possible. 
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s the very first person to hold the title of Renewable Energy Manager for Arizona Public Service (APS), I can attest to how far APS and Arizona have come in facilitating solar energy over the past decade.

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Electricity Daily

APPA, NRECA, Advanced Energy Econ. weigh-in on FERC’s storage proposal

APPA, NRECA, Advanced Energy Econ. weigh-in on FERC’s storage proposal

By Kennedy Maize 

February 17,2017 — Public power interests and a broad coalition of high tech firms with an interest in advanced energy technologies have weighed in on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ’s November proposed rule on how distributed energy and energy storage can operate in competitive wholesale markets. Each took a different approach to the cutting-edge topic. 

The FERC p...

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NUG suit challenges Illinois nuke bailout

NUG suit challenges Illinois nuke bailout

Non-utility generating interests in Illinois and their Washington-based trade group, the Electric Power Supply Association , have asked a federal court to overturn the Illinois law subsidizing two Exelon nuclear plants in the state, Clinton and Quad Cities, which have been unable to compete in interstate wholesale competitive markets. The complaint by EPSA, Dynegy Inc., Eastern Generation LLC, NRC Energ...

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Aggressive investors force NRG Energy director shakeup, board restructuring

Aggressive investors force NRG Energy director shakeup, board restructuring

NRG Energy has purged two key executives under pressure from activist investors, MarketWatch has reported . The non-utility generating company reached a deal with New York-based hedge fund Elliott Associates LP and Bluescape Energy Partners LLC of Dallas, which collectively own 9.4% of NRG to replace Chairman Howard Cosgrove and independent director Edward Muller , with Bluescape’s John Wilder and Barry Smither...

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NM solar bills: Do they offer consumer protection or bureaucratic obfuscation?

NM solar bills: Do they offer consumer protection or bureaucratic obfuscation?

Solar legislation pending in New Mexico is stirring controversy, as the state House and Senate struggle over whether the legislation promotes consumer understanding or creates a bureaucracy designed to slow the spread of solar energy in the Land of Enchantment, one of the sunniest in the nation. Rep. Debbie Rodella and Sen. Clemente Sanchez , both Democrats, have each introduce the bill they call the ...

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Tottering Toshiba assures SCANA, Santee Cooper about Summer nuke completion

Tottering Toshiba assures SCANA, Santee Cooper about Summer nuke completion

Amid turmoil at Toshiba – the resignation of its chairman in the face of $6.3 billion in nuclear losses and possible bankruptcy – the Japanese company and its U.S.-based nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co. have assured SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper that their two-unit V.C. Summer project in South Carolina will be completed, according to World Nuclear News . Nikkei Asian Review said the assurance came...

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Regulators' toolkit to boost renewables: Panel says keep some policies, fix others

Regulators' toolkit to boost renewables: Panel says keep some policies, fix others

By Robert Marritz

February 16, 2017 -- Washington, D.C. — “Updating the Regulatory Toolkit to Deploy Renewables,” a panel offered by NARUC ’s Energy, Resources and Environment Committee, drew a standing room crowd Tuesday, including a high-level contingent from the Edison Electric Institute.  It did not disappoint. Led by California PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman , a witty and provocative modera...

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Editorials

Facts, opinion, and oversimplification in our ever-evolving electricity grid

Facts, opinion, and oversimplification in our ever-evolving electricity grid

We recently had admitted to sometimes exhibiting an excess of zeal for clean energy. So, in a search for balance, we decided to indulge some knowledgeable friends who, if not exactly curmudgeons, may know too much.

Last week we surprised ourselves by taking issue with the many headlines proclaiming 2016 as “the hottest year on record.” It was. But the headlines did not tell the full story. In fact,...

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Closing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle - the Ultimate in Recycling

Closing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle - the Ultimate in Recycling

by Tim Echols

Probably everyone reading this recycles something each week as they put out their trash. It’s become a no-brainer.  People get it.  Recycle and re-purpose materials and you extend the life of landfills, saving everyone money.

It also is the right thing to do. But when it comes to the used nuclear fuel from our commercial reactors, our long-range plan is simply to bury it. Tha...

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Renewable energy technology, poised to disrupt fossil fuels

Renewable energy technology, poised to disrupt fossil fuels

Guest Editorial, by Leah Y. Parks* 

 

As one observer has noted, we are the first generation to be confronted with the Earth-changing threat of climate change—and the last to be able to meaningfully arrest its progress.

Exponential growth in clean-energy technologies is a powerful weapon in this fight, and a 21st-century energy transformation that much of the world has committed to is alrea...

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The business opportunity in the effort to reverse climate change

The business opportunity in the effort to reverse climate change

What’s the cost of ignoring climate change? We’ve heard it all. Arctic melt. Sea rise and storm surges. Ocean warming and acidification. Loss of coastal and intertidal property and infrastructure—trillions of dollars lost. Millions dislocated. Prolonged drought in some areas, frequent flooding in others. Loss of sea life. Loss of many species.  And on and on.

It wouldn’t be pretty. That’s why ...

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The Name Game: A buffet menu of Trump’s choices for energy and environment

The Name Game: A buffet menu of Trump’s choices for energy and environment

By Kennedy Maize

The quadrennial Washington name game is underway, the whispered rumors and guesses, seldom well informed but promulgated with confidence, over whom the incoming administration will name to its policy and managerial team. For the nascent Trump administration, which has evinced little beyond large pronouncements about energy and environmental policy, establishing the veracity of the ru...

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US companies should act to keep US from self-immolating over Paris agreement

US companies should act to keep US from self-immolating over Paris agreement

Michael Liebreich , who founded what is now Bloomberg New Energy Finance and chairs its advisory board, posted a thoughtful op-ed piece in the Guardian newspaper after the US election about the perceived danger a Trump presidency could pose for the directions that have  been set for America’s electricity industry and for the country’s role under the Paris climate change agreement. We felt compelle...

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