KCP&L breaks ground on a novel structure for billion-dollar plant investments.
Scott M. Gawlicki
To the casual observer, the Iatan 2 power plant under construction in Platte County. Mo., is simply another coal-fired facility. However, when viewed by a utility executive facing seemingly non-stop global-warming headlines and news broadcasts, the 850 MW Iatan 2 looks more like a new regulatory and business model for building coal burners.
Green credits are maturing to become real, tradeable assets.
Michael Zimmer, Jason T. Hungerford, and Jennifer M. Rohleder
By displacing electricity produced from fossil fuels, renewable power plants produce two distinct products—commodity electricity and a set of environmental attributes (particularly avoided emissions). These environmental attributes can be packaged into a product called a renewable energy certificate, or REC, and sold separately from the electricity. As REC markets develop, key issues are being addressed regarding market interaction.
FERC would relax price caps—sending rates skyward—to encourage customers to curtail loads.
Bruce W. Radford
About four months ago, at a conference at Stanford University’s Center for International Development, the economist and utility industry expert Frank Wolak turned heads with a not-so-new but very outrageous idea.
As many states move toward re-regulation, we speak to commissioners in Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia to learn how policies are evolving—and how far the regulatory shakeup will go
Regulators use rate cases to craft incentives for capital spending.
Phillip S. Cross
(November 2007) Fortnightly's annual rate-case analysis reveals a new trend at state PUCs involving return-on-equity rate allowances. Regulators increasingly are giving utilities an earnings incentive to pursue preferred investments.
Recent electricity pricing argues for faster, more extensive deregulation.
Was restructuring a success? Prices provide a dispassionate analysis, showing that restructuring was poorly designed, badly executed, and focused on the wrong part of the grid. With those lessons learned, it’s time to explore ways to move forward.
Some green-energy policies disregard the value of energy use, risking market distortion and consumer backlash.
Policy mandates might erode public support for green-energy efforts, even in an environmentally conscious state like California, by frustrating consumer demands instead of allowing them to be fulfilled more efficiently. Recognizing real consumer value will help policy makers develop economically rational green-energy regulation.
Tech experts weigh the options for improving power delivery.
We’ve heard it all before, but the issue isn’t going away: Reliability of power, from generation to distribution, remains a primary concern of the utility industry. But the current verdict is mixed, depending upon which experts you talk to. Aging equipment is a ticking time bomb—except when it isn’t. NERC CIP standards are driving reliability improvements—except when they aren’t. Maintenance is key—except where monitoring and automation are more important. And regulators should stand aside and let the market drive reliability improvements—but economic incentives wouldn’t hurt.
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