Electricity Policy

       

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Integrating Variable Resources in the Pacific Northwest

Integrating Variable Resources in the Pacific Northwest

By Jeremy Eckstein

With storage too costly at present, Pacific Northwest utilities needing operating flexibility are weighing the relative advantages of demand response programs and establishing or joining a regional energy imbalance market.
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n this paper I explore what sources of electricity system flexibility are likely to be adopted in Oregon and Washington in order to manage predicted increases in renewable energy.  Although it is Northwest-centric in its focus and industry review, I believe it has relevance to US markets in general, as renewables integration and the search for greater system flexibility is of wide and growing interest.  I also explore policy options to encourage adoption of these technologies.

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Will U.S. Utilities Experience an Energy Transition Similar to Germany’s?

Will U.S. Utilities Experience an Energy Transition Similar to Germany’s?

By Bob Gibson

Changes in the structure of the evolving electricity markets of the U.S. and Germany may make national differences in policy and public perception irrelevant, as new technologies take hold.

 

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hen E.ON, one of Europe’s largest utilities, announced in December that it would spin off its conventional power generation business into a separate entity and refocus on renewables, energy efficiency and grid operations, an obvious question arose: Could similar transitions be coming to utilities in the United States?  In a word, yes.

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Competitive Power Markets Benefit Customers, but Standards that Support Competition Must Be Preserved

Competitive Power Markets Benefit Customers, but Standards that Support Competition Must Be Preserved

By Bill Massey

It’s indisputable that competition is a highly effective way to ensure that electricity, an essential engine of our economy, is provided to users reliably and at lowest cost. But it’s also crucial that we preserve rules that assure fair and wholesome competition.
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t is hard to believe that almost two decades have passed since federal and state utility regulators began in earnest to adopt competitive markets as a preferred way to ensure a reliable supply of electricity at the lowest available cost.  What’s even harder to believe is that there are still skeptics who doubt that electricity markets – where they have been fully implemented – are indeed beneficial to consumers and the regional economies they power.  Members of the COMPETE Coalition are not to be found among the skeptics.

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Considerations for State Regulators and Policymakers in a Post-FERC Order 745 World

Considerations for State Regulators and Policymakers in a Post-FERC Order 745 World

By Peter Cappers and Andy Satchwell

State regulators and policymakers should act now, while demand response is under judicial review, to develop contingency plans to ensure resource adequacy is not jeopardized and that DR remains a robust and economic resource for meeting electricity needs.
 
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y vacating FERC Order 745 in Electric Power Supply Association vs. FERC (“EPSA”)  , the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit injected uncertainty into the future of demand response (DR) resources in U.S. wholesale markets.  Among several things, the decision explicitly identified “incentive-responsive demand” as a retail transaction, not a wholesale transaction.  Thus, demand response, as the industry has come to understand it within the confines of ISO/RTO-administered energy markets, is not under FERC jurisdiction but rather state jurisdiction.  However, if the Court of Appeals’ majority arguments are taken to their logical conclusion, then FERC may not have jurisdiction over DR providing any bulk-power system service, not just energy.

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The Shape of Things to Come: Net Demand

The Shape of Things to Come:  Net Demand

By Bentham Paulos

As wind and solar mature commercially they have novel effects on power system operations, planning, and finances.  With Germany and California in the vanguard, policy solutions are emerging. But to best pursue a clean energy future, we first must change the way we look at our power systems, starting with the daily load profile. 
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he growth of wind and solar power are introducing a new element into grid operations, and changing the way grid operators look at the system.  Indeed, they are changing the familiar daily shape of the demand profile.

 

If you would like to obtain a complimentary PDF file of Mr Paulos's article on Net Demand, and were unable to sign up for a 30-day free trial to Electricity Daily and ElectricityPolicy.com, please email your request to [email protected].

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Electricity Daily

Dynegy shares jump nearly 10% after FERC approves acquisition of NE generation

Dynegy shares jump nearly 10% after FERC approves acquisition of NE generation

March 31, 2015 -- Shares of Dynegy jumped nearly 10% yesterday after it received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to acquire generating assets from Duke Energy and others. It was an astounding move for an industry where precipitous drops or Olympian ascents in price are rare indeed. Dynegy, which emerged from bankruptcy quite splendidly in October 2012, has more than regained its balanc...

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Gov. Cuomo’s announcement of state energy lab—a good idea, none too soon

Gov. Cuomo’s announcement of state energy lab—a good idea, none too soon

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcement last week of the Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy (AGILe), the state’s first electric power research and development facility, comes none too soon for a state whose energy infrastructure is seen as in need of modernization. The laboratory will be funded by a $35 million grant from the New York Power Authority and will be a joint venture between NY...

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Colorado flirts with performance-based utility regulation; PSC nixes the idea

Colorado flirts with performance-based utility regulation; PSC nixes the idea

Is the hoary, traditional system of rate-of-return regulation about to give way to a different, more modern regulatory model—one that instead would take account of new, non-revenue producing demands placed on utilities and performance metrics that would reward or punish the utility based on how it performs in meeting public policy goals? There’s dissatisfaction with often tedious contested rate ca...

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Spurned by Arkansas PSC, asks DOE to join it to build Plains & Eastern DC Line

Spurned by Arkansas PSC, asks DOE to join it to build Plains & Eastern DC Line

Last Wednesday the Arkansas Senate passed a resolution opposing construction of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line that would run across Arkansas to transmit wind-generated electricity from Oklahoma to Tennessee. That line, its backer, Clean Line Energy Partners, hopes will win approval from the US Department of Energy under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to develop the line jointly wi...

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Japan to restructure in 2016—really

Japan to restructure in 2016—really

Japan’s electricity system faces a fully liberalized market next year, but the behavior of its change-resistant electric utilities , and the fact that no nuclear plant is yet operating four years after the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster, would seem to mask that fact.  Some 7,000 workers are still struggling through a Fukushima cleanup operation that has suffered many setbacks, with no end in sight....

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UBS says even a positive MATS decision wouldn’t help coal plants on life support

UBS says even a positive MATS decision wouldn’t help coal plants on life support

March 30, 2015 -- UBS analyst wizard Julien Dumoulin-Smith is not concerned about the Supreme Court’s review of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Why? He sees “little in immediate practical implications on power markets arising from a scenario where the Supreme Court overturns MATS.” With current gas prices “virtually ensuring limited run times on coal plants, particularly of the Appalachian v...

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Editorials

Unsolicited advice for EPA on Its Clean Power Plan: Encourage regional compliance

Unsolicited advice for EPA on Its Clean Power Plan: Encourage regional compliance

Two regional transmission organizations—PJM and MISO—were asked by their constituencies to assess whether compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon-cutting Clean Power Plan might be achieved more cost-effectively if planned on a region-wide rather than on a state-by-state basis.

Each RTO analyzed the problem preliminarily and each found that several billion dollars might be saved...

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Guest editorial: Demand response and electricity market reform: What next?

Guest editorial: Demand response and electricity market reform: What next?

Responding to the excellent paper by Peter Cappers and Andy Satchwell, “ Considerations for State Regulators and Policymakers in a Post-FERC Order 745 World ,” we want to share a conversation that transpired at a recent conference that addressed the issues of reliability in organized markets, the uncertain future for demand response, and what level of government—state or federal—should oversee it. T...

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The virtuous circle of infrastructure investment— a win, win, win proposition

The virtuous circle of infrastructure investment— a win, win, win proposition

In President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1955 State of the Union speech, he said, “A modern highway system is essential to meet the needs of our growing population, our expanding economy, and our national security.” Eisenhower led the movement to develop the interstate highway system that links the US, making vehicle travel for transportation, tourism, and the greater economy so accessible that we take...

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Three cheers for state regulators, in Connecticut and elsewhere

Three cheers for state regulators, in Connecticut and elsewhere

State utility regulators are a hard-working lot. They have a tough job and an underappreciated one.

State commission budgets and staff aren’t what they should be. Their resources are unequal to those of the companies they’re supposed to regulate.

The mind-numbing details buried in rate cases, and planning and mergers and other proceedings are not light reading.

Thus, ill-tempered remarks  from Connecti...

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Digging deeper: Competition at the distribution level

Digging deeper: Competition at the distribution level

The pro-competitive reforms introduced into the bulk electricity transmission grid by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the past two decades and more, culminating in FERC Order No. 1000, have transformed what was once a patchwork of transmission monopolies into something more resembling a common carrier system.

Today, as innovation has crept into the local level, with both supply- and d...

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Why should we be concerned with India?

Why should we be concerned with India?

Yesterday we published three articles that concerned India. You may ask why (aside from the dearth of interesting US news). There are several reasons.

  • One story announced US-based SunEdison’s plans to build a $4 billion solar manufacturing factory with an Indian company.
  • A second concerned plans of Rajasthan, one of the largest of India’s 29 states, and the sunniest, to develop 655 MW of solar as th...

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