Steven P. Schneider
THREE FACTORS (em RESTRUCTURING, TECHNOLOGY AND environmental controls (em now create both reason and opportunity for electric utilities to lower their property taxes, which often make up a substantial cost of doing business.
Property tax valuation is fairly straightforward. Most states compute property taxes on fair market value, or what a hypothetical buyer and seller would agree the property is worth, with both parties having knowledge of the relevant facts and neither compelled to buy or sell.
Bruce W. Radford
AS YOU CHILL OUT IN YOUR TV CHAIR, WATCHING THE Winter Olympics from Nagano, Japan, think a moment about Kyoto, not far away, and what the climate change treaty might have in store.
On Jan. 8, federal climatologist Tom Karl announced that 1997 was the warmest year on record, with thermometer readings exceeding the mean (1961-90) by 0.42 degrees centigrade (0.75 degrees Fahrenheit). Writing in his World Climate Report, editor Patrick J. Michaels took Karl to task for reporting only half the story.
Despite recent announcements by the Environmental Protection Agency to place additional restraints on power plant emissions, coal continues to dominate electric fuels markets. Though some fear new EPA standards could pressure marginal coal plants to close, it is unlikely this will happen. Coal markets are propped up by a marked decrease in contract prices, cleaner mining, productivity gains, troubled nuclear power and instability in gas and oil prices.
Joseph Kruger, and Melanie Dean
The overwhelming impression is one of growth (em in volume and in the number of participants.
The early 1990s was an anxious period for advocates of emissions trading. Concerns about whether the sulfur dioxide allowance market would ever develop tempered the heady success of the first national emissions trading program implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Title IV. These concerns were heightened when in May 1992, Wisconsin Power & Light traded 10,000 allowances to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
OTAG Makes Recommendations to EPA
Does cleaner air mean lighter pockets?
The Ozone Transport Advisory Group has recommended that the EPA should let states adopt a range of emissions levels to help meet ozone standards, which could tap into utilities' profits. The proposal comes two years after OTAG was formed to study region-to-region airborne movements of smog, a byproduct of ozone.
Coal-fired power plants and vehicle exhaust are the biggest contributors to ozone, due to emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.
Dr. William Ryan; and Ed Reid
Mr. Lindsay's March 1 letter (PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, p. 6) requires some further discussion. We do agree that reducing cooling seasonal peak electric demand is desirable. Lessening the electric infrastructure's environmental effects and electric system failures, as we witnessed in the summer of 1996, is to the public good. However, thermal storage systems have siting issues and the potential to run out of capacity at the worst possible time on peak days.
Lori A. Burkhart
A new report found advances in distributed electric generation, noting a pronounced shift since the early 1990s toward on-site generation, as electronic control systems now allow for remote dispatching, and combustion turbine engines are smaller, more powerful and offer increased energy efficiency.
North American Distributed Generation System Markets, produced by Frost & Sullivan, said that the Clean Air Act of 1972, and subsequent amendments made over the last 25 years, have influenced technologies.
Introduced in the 105th Congress
• H.R. 296, sponsored by John Shadegg (R-Ariz.). Would privatize the federal Power Marketing Administrations, splitting them into regional corporations to market and maintain generation and transmission services. Stock would be sold to recover outstanding federal debt; holding companies could invest in the corporations.
• H.R. 338, sponsored by Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). Would repeal Section 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978, but would force utilities to honor QF contracts entered prior to Jan.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
Utility witnesses want it both ways:
Stranded-cost recovery plus incentives for renewable energy.A New England utility executive told a U.S.