Electricity Policy

Wed12072016

Last updateTue, 06 Dec 2016 6pm

ISSN 2331-1223  Twitter

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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

China plans to convert many coal plants to nuclear; global implications possible

China plans to convert many coal plants to nuclear; global implications possible

December 7, 2016 -- China plans to repurpose coal-fired generation located near its cities into clean nuclear plants. It’s no idle pipe dream: The first working demonstration unit could begin commercial operation as early as 2018. Why would China do this ? Several reasons. It would curb its growing urban air pollution problem. It would also boost its own nuclear industry, and also the world’s. For exa...

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Trump transition memo signals boost for oil & gas, renewables cuts; caveat emptor

Trump transition memo signals boost for oil & gas, renewables cuts; caveat emptor

According to documents penned by the Trump transition team a week after the Nov. 8 election, plans are afoot to gut US environmental regulations, open up federal lands for fossil fuel extraction, quit the Paris climate agreement, and possibly rescind tax credits for renewables. The documents, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy and recycled by Greenpeace ’s Energydesk, lists 14 key energy and e...

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PJM, stakeholders wrestle with DER accounting, where to measure impacts

PJM, stakeholders wrestle with DER accounting, where to measure impacts

It’s not just regulators and utilities that are wrestling with the novel problems of how to assess what distributed energy resources bring to the grid. PJM and its stakeholders, for example, are discussing the best way to measure distributed energy resources while integrating them into the grid. Whether to meter DERs in front of or behind the customer’s load was the focus of the Market Implementatio...

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Wind and solar co-located are better together, exhibiting valuable synergies

Wind and solar co-located are better together, exhibiting valuable synergies

Building turbines and photovoltaics at the same location can reduce grid and battery costs and level out power supply. The “wind resource tends to complement [the] solar resource,” says Sarah Kurtz of the US Department of Energy ’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory . “In Colorado, for instance, the windiest time is during the winter and spring months. In winter, we don’t have as much sunshine, but we...

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B.C., with strong GDP growth and CO2 tax, seeks to influence Canadian policy

B.C., with strong GDP growth and CO2 tax, seeks to influence Canadian policy

It may fall on deaf ears in Washington, D.C., but British Columbia says it has shown that sensible climate policies are good for business . It’s been nearly a decade since B.C. began tackling climate change with “world-leading policies,” including a successful carbon tax, says Clean Energy Canada ’s executive director Merran Smith . Now, with new leadership from Ottawa, climate action is happening from ...

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BNEF: The utility-scale solar market is tightening, increasing developer risk

BNEF: The utility-scale solar market is tightening, increasing developer risk

December 6, 2016 -- Competition in the utility-scale solar sector is heating up. The falling cost of PV panels and robust state renewable portfolio standards, plus the December 2015 extension of the investment tax credit for solar projects has led to a second solar projects boom. The result is that “there are more projects being developed than there is demand for them,” says Nathan Serota , senior a...

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Editorials

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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The war to halt global warming: Isn’t one war enough?

The war to halt global warming: Isn’t one war enough?

Much as we dislike military metaphors, which tend to overhype everything, there actually is a war going on in the energy space. Two wars, actually.

The first is a war to halt the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because they are increasing temperatures on Earth and in its oceans, already with awful consequences. The preponderance of evidence has supported...

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Good news comes slowly. The long, inevitable rise of the electric vehicle

Good news comes slowly. The long, inevitable rise of the electric vehicle

Are electric vehicle sales in the US likely to poke along, growing slowly but lacking the acceleration in sales that the cars possess on the road? Or are they headed for a bust-out year, as buyers discover their quickness and easy, clean operation.

EV sales could be explained by the typical S-curve of adoption: a slow start, with only early adopters and niche markets buying. Then, more rapid growth...

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