The Energy Policy Act of 2005 ducks three crucial issues: volatile prices and fuel supplies; insufficient, erratic capital investment in generation and transmission; and energy commodity pricing. What should policymakers do now?
Regulators and Utilities: The Ball’s in Your Court
Are the smart-metering provisions of EPACT 2005 a good thing? The answer, like most things in life, is, “It depends.” Looked at holistically, the opportunity is great. Viewed incrementally, it’s empty words on paper. It’s up to regulators and utilities to take the initiative.
How they can generate green energy and improve a municipality’s bottom line.
Dr. Gary C. Young, Ken V. Rieck, and Clifford Phillips
Federal incentive payment of 1.8 cents/kWh for the generation of renewable energy—part of The Energy Policy Act of 2005—increases the economic attractiveness of many potential hydro sites, and, as a consequence, could revive the building of low-head dams.
Utilities and financiers want ratepayers to fund the next wave of power plants. Will higher electric rates spoil the party?
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
You’ve heard the story. The local utility ought to be investing billions in new power plants, but the company CEO wants a guarantee from regulators for upfront costs and future operating expenses before laying down dollar one on the project. What to do? Utility CEOs attending the Edison Electric Institute’s 40th Financial Conference last month in Hollywood, Fla., were shuffling to the old rate base song-and-dance. But this time, they were working out a few new moves.
(December 2005) Mark Mulhern joins Progress Energy’s senior management committee and Bob Adrian is vice president of competitive commercial operations within the Ventures organization. The California Independent System Operator board of governors approved the appointment of Karen Edson to the position of vice president of external affairs. DTE Energy announced a series of organizational changes. The Southern California Edison board of directors elected John R. Fielder president.
High reserve margins and blackout risk are part of the extended forecast.
The Western Electricity Coordinating Council continues to experience a glut of generation and historically high levels of generating reserve margins. Despite these reserve margins, state and federal regulators are asserting that all is not well, and that rolling blackouts may return.
Jay Morrison, Senior Regulatory Counsel, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: I was disappointed to see that two different articles in the October 2005 issue erroneously stated that the Electricity Modernization Act requires net metering.
Regional committees may improve collaboration between federal and state regulators.
Sandra L. Hochstetter
Layered on top of ever-evolving industry restructuring and corresponding FERC rulemakings, we have the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. When viewed in totality, the new energy legislation provides the federal government with substantial new authority over generation and transmission that can, and might well be, used to alter the outcome of what a state would have decided under its previously exclusive jurisdictional domain. Whether we can avoid unhappy and rancorous confrontations with the use of joint boards, regional compacts, or regional state committees is yet to be seen, but it is my sincere hope that we can do so.
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