Electricity Policy

       

Fri11282014

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A New Energy Efficiency Manifesto: California Needs a More Integrated, Cost-Effective Approach

A New Energy Efficiency Manifesto:        California Needs a More Integrated, Cost-Effective Approach

By Cynthia Mitchell

Our energy efficiency programs are not adequate to meet grid-scale and local distribution service challenges. This requires a new urgency to find more robust approaches to financing and scaling efficiency — not just in California, but across the country.
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 powerful verse from the Book of Ecclesiastes was turned into a moving song by Pete Seeger and popularized by The Byrds as “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season).  It seems an appropriate anthem for the utility industry today.  The electric power industry in California is at a crucial season of change: meeting state and federal environmental initiatives; planning and implementing diverse resources to continue meeting the energy needs of its people and its economy, cleanly and at lowest cost; and answering novel operational challenges previously unseen in the industry.

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Policies to Build a Flexible Power System

Policies to Build a Flexible Power System

By Bentham Paulos

A power system with large amounts of wind and solar power requires flexibility to maintain reliability.  While the flexibility toolbox is well known to grid operators, policies and financial incentives to apply them to integrating renewables are sometimes lacking.
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he world is heading into the next phase of a global Energiewende, the transition from fossil energy to a highly-efficient, renewable, and low carbon future.  As renewable energy technologies become more mature and cost-competitive, policies to promote their use need to adapt.

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Demand Response is Alive and Well: DR Opportunities in a Post-Order 745 World

Demand Response is Alive and Well: DR Opportunities in a Post-Order 745 World

By Greg Wikler, Stuart Schare, and Brett Feldman

Whatever the outcome of litigation to redress the effects of the D.C. Circuit panel’s decision voiding FERC Order 745, the economic and operational benefits of demand response are so great that many opportunities remain for this largely untapped resource.
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hile the jury is still out on whether the recent D.C. Circuit panel’s decision to overturn FERC Order 745 will withstand an appeals process, many commentators have questioned whether the decision spells the end of demand response (DR) as we know it.  This paper provides a number of reasons for those in the DR industry to be hopeful.

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Three Years of Residential Electric Choice in Illinois, with Opt-Out Aggregation, Yields Results: A Status Report

Three Years of Residential Electric Choice in Illinois, with Opt-Out Aggregation, Yields Results: A Status Report

By Ann McCabe

Illinois residents are becoming accustomed to seeking the best deal for electricity service from an alternate supplier. Beginning in 2011, the ability of cities and towns to contract electric service for their residents through muni aggregation has led to two-thirds of residential customers being served by alternate suppliers. 
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uring the last three years, residential electric switching increased dramatically in Illinois.  By the end of May 2014, more than 3 million residential customers received their electricity from a non-utility provider.  These customers represent about two-thirds of all residential customers; the actual population that switched is significantly greater than the number of meters given the average household size in Illinois.  Illinois has a population of 12.8 million.

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Preserving Economic Demand Response: Promptly and Lawfully

Preserving Economic Demand Response: Promptly and Lawfully

 By Scott Hempling

The value of economic demand response is so great that our collective interests should not wait on lengthy appeals of a D.C. Circuit panel’s decision to preserve this option.  Instead, FERC, the states, utilities, generators, and Congress have alternatives to continue this cost-saving practice without running afoul of the D.C. Circuit’s action.
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he day before my first appellate argument, at the Ninth Circuit in April 1989, I went to court to observe.  One pair of opponents, having finished before the judges, continued arguing in the hallway.   We could keep arguing too, for the months and years that will pass while the full D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court review last month’s D.C. Circuit panel opinion.  Or we can bear down and find ways to make demand response work.  This essay proposes some actions, categorized according to who can take them: generators, FERC, retail utilities, states, municipalities and Congress.

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Electricity Daily

Exelon Corp. weighs closing three of its six Illinois nuclear power plants

Exelon Corp. weighs closing three of its six Illinois nuclear power plants

November 26, 2014 -- As Exelon Corp. considers shutting down three of its nuclear facilities in Illinois, including Quad Cities Generating Station, the Quad Cities Dispatch reports , it's asking lawmakers and the public to recognize the multifaceted value of the energy it produces. Richard Myers, senior vice president of policy development at the Nuclear Energy Institute, told regional reporter...

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Supreme Court to review air toxics rule

Supreme Court to review air toxics rule

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to review the first-ever national environmental standards requiring power plants to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants, saying it would decide whether the government should have considered how much the rules would cost utilities. The rules, adopted in 2012, require coal and oil-fired power plants to cut most of their emissions of mercu...

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MISO: Carbon rule timeline not possible

MISO: Carbon rule timeline not possible

Not possible. That’s the judgment of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator as to the possibility of complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to reduce carbon emissions from existing electric utility generation plants. MISO has identified serious electric system reliability concerns related to the proposed rule’s 2020-2029 interim performance requirements, says the ...

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DOE’s Grid Week features 'cool' graphic

DOE’s Grid Week features 'cool' graphic

As part of what it called Grid Week in mid-November, the U.S. Department of Energy published a “cool” new info graphic , according to Climate Central, which shows how the power grid operates. The three US power grids are enormously complex, but they’re based on a simple idea: Electricity moves in one direction, from a power plant to some large customers along high voltage transmission lines and lowe...

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UBS sees $200/MW-day prices in PJM

UBS sees $200/MW-day prices in PJM

On Nov 24, PJM’s Load Analysis Subcommittee published a draft 2015 load forecast that reduces the previously projected summer peak for 2018 (the next RPM delivery year) by 4,351 MW (-2.6%) as compared with the 2014 Load Report. Julien Dumoulin-Smith of UBS says its modeling of this change alone would reduce RTO capacity prices by -$35/MW-day, though its “rough early forecast of ~$200/MW-day remain...

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NYC sees plan to keep old upstate plants running as concern for Indian Point plant

NYC sees plan to keep old upstate plants running as concern for Indian Point plant

November 25, 2014—Why does New York City care about whether an aging upstate power plant, the 580-MW Ginna nuclear station, some 300 miles away on the shore of Lake Ontario, is ordered by regulators to be kept operating for reliability reasons and payments to support operations are made by customers in the area? That’s the question posed by an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal ? After the complex ...

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Editorials

Guest editorial: Californians know it is electricity bills, not rates, that matter

Guest editorial: Californians know it is electricity bills, not rates, that matter

 

NRDC’s Sierra Martinez has a bone to pick with those, like a recent Forbes blogger, who misunderstand and misrepresent California’s electricity policies.

Despite the facts, the myth that Californians pay a lot of money for their electricity continues to be perpetuated, with proponents of that idea using their misguided interpretation of the data to justify their claim that California shouldn’...

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The deeper meaning of efficiency—and why it matters

The deeper meaning of efficiency—and why it matters

Energy efficiency is like a looming, benign shadow. It’s there but not quite real.

Five years ago we were given the impressive McKinsey & Co. study, “ Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy .” It concluded that the US could reduce annual non-transportation energy consumption by 23 percent by 2020, eliminating more than $1.2 trillion in wasted electricity costs and 1.1 gigatons of greenho...

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In defense of organized wholesale electric markets

In defense of organized wholesale electric markets

By Kennedy Maize

Let me offer some disagreements with Robert Marritz’s recent editorial on organized wholesale markets. My friend and colleague makes a case that RTOs and ISOs are not capable of assuring adequate capacity to prevent serious reliability problems. Then he argues implicitly, although not overtly, for a return to state-based, cost-of-service regulation. I don’t find his arguments persuas...

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Seeking to make ends meet in organized markets: What’s wrong with this picture?

Seeking to make ends meet in organized markets: What’s wrong with this picture?

Is there a hidden flaw in the present construct of organized regional markets—the sort that are operated by ISO New England, PJM, ERCOT, and the New York ISO?

They all do a fine job of planning, regional dispatch, coordination, and management of complex markets for power, energy, and ancillary services. Yet, problems continue to poke their heads up, like an annoying game of Whack-a-mole. The reason...

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Guest editorial: New England generators seek a level playing field for resources

Guest editorial: New England generators seek a level playing field for resources

To the editor—In response to an October 20 piece in Electricity Daily , the New England Power Generator Association’s (NEPGA) believes it necessary to clarify its position in the recent petition to the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission (NHPUC) requesting a review of the state’s affiliate rules. In a petition filed in September, and granted last week, NEPGA sought state oversight over Public Serv...

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Teaching the ‘Duck’ to Fly

Teaching the ‘Duck’ to Fly

With apologies to economist Jim Lazar for appropriating the title of his excellent paper, “ Teaching the ‘Duck’ to Fly ,” recently a featured work on the Regulatory Assistance Project website—and to our readers for not pointing your attention to this paper sooner—we shamelessly steal from Shakespeare as well: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy....

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