Electricity Policy

Tue01172017

Last updateSun, 15 Jan 2017 4pm

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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. 

 

S

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. 
A

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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Surfing the EV Wave: Will We Smooth the Way?

Surfing the EV Wave: Will We Smooth the Way?

By Leah Parks

The pace of electric vehicle adoption may be faster or slower than we expect. But EVs catch buyers’ imaginations, with a ride and torque like no other car we’ve ever driven, we must be ready to integrate and make good use of them.
T

he age of electric vehicles has been slow to arrive, held down in part by buyers waiting for the technology to mature, for EV prices to come down, and for the cost of owning and operating oil-fueled vehicles to be less attractive.  But it is surely coming. 

 

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A Revolution in Power: Where We’ve Come from, Where We’re Headed

A Revolution in Power:  Where We’ve Come from, Where We’re Headed

By L. Lynne Kiesling and Dick Munson

State initiatives demonstrate a growing awareness that public policy must change to keep up with and encourage technological change. New players entering the industry are demonstrating the power of markets to stimulate investment and innovation. 
G

oogle used to be simply a leading internet search company, but it entered the electricity business by buying big blocks of renewable energy for its large data centers, and by acquiring Nest, the maker of smart thermostats and home devices. It sees opportunity and profits in using innovative technologies to help buildings better manage their energy use.

Click here to view article as fully-formatted PDF file.

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Electricity Daily

CAISO-NREL-First Solar study discovers new opportunities for grid-scale solar

CAISO-NREL-First Solar study discovers new opportunities for grid-scale solar

January 17, 2017—In a finding that could increase opportunities for some renewables, a study by the California ISO , the National Renewable Energy Laboratory , and First Solar showed that solar facilities with smart inverter technology can provide key grid services at levels that are similar to, and in some cases better than, conventional power plants, Platts reported . In August, the ISO and NREL put a 3...

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Mountain West Transmission Group is exploring affiliation with an RTO or ISO

Mountain West Transmission Group is exploring affiliation with an RTO or ISO

A group of electricity service providers in the US Western Interconnection have announced plans to explore potential participation with an existing regional transmission organization (RTO). The entities—which include two investor-owned utilities; a federal power marketing agency of the Department of Energy; two large rural electric generation and transmission cooperatives; a Colorado public power ...

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PNAS paper: MIT scientist Solomon says methane will heat the seas for centuries

PNAS paper: MIT scientist Solomon says methane will heat the seas for centuries

Greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere today will cause the seas to rise for centuries, even if those gases leave the atmosphere quickly. That’s the finding of a new study published a week ago in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study specifically examined short-lived greenhouse gases like methane, the main ingredient in natural gas. Methane is destroyed in the at...

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Large coal-fired generator, in the heart of the gas-rich PJM market, files Chapter 11

Large coal-fired generator, in the heart of the gas-rich PJM market, files Chapter 11

Homer City Generation , operator of a three-unit, 1,884-MW coal-fired generating station about 45 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, has initiated a voluntary, pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The financial restructuring process is expected to eliminate more than $600 million in existing secured debt from Homer City’s balance sheet and provide for an...

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FirstEnergy and environmental groups reach settlement on efficiency programs

FirstEnergy and environmental groups reach settlement on efficiency programs

FirstEnergy Corp. and several key environmental groups have reached a settlement on the company’s revised energy efficiency plan for its Ohio utility customers. The Dec. 8 stipulation addressed major objections to FirstEnergy’s earlier plan, Midwest Energy News reported , including elimination of terms that would have let the company profit from energy-saving activities it played no part in. The settle...

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NuScale Power submits its unique SMR design to NRC, making investor proud

NuScale Power submits its unique SMR design to NRC, making investor proud

January 13, 2017 --  NuScale Power yesterday formally submitted its design certification application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its small modular nuclear reactor commercial power plant design.  Corvallis, Ore.–based NuScale, in which Fluor has been the majority investor since 2011, has been developing its light-water nuclear technology for more than 15 years under the directio...

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Editorials

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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Should we strive to halt climate change? Can we adapt to it? What are risks?

Should we strive to halt climate change? Can we adapt to it? What are risks?

Lord Matthew White Ridley , known as Matt Ridley or even Lord Ridley, is a 58 year-old British journalist, businessman and author of popular science books. Since 2013 he has been a Conservative hereditary peer in the House of Lords. Earlier he was chairman of Northern Rock Bank that led to the first run on a British bank in 150 years. On Oct 17, he delivered the 2016 Annual Global Warming Policy Forum lec...

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