Government incentives are smothering free enterprise.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
When Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced legislation in November 2009 aimed at doubling America’s nuclear power capacity within 20 years, he compared the clean-energy challenge to fighting a war. “If we were going to war, we wouldn’t mothball our nuclear navy and start subsidizing sailboats,” he told attendees at the American Nuclear Society’s winter meeting. “If addressing climate change and creating low-cost, reliable energy are national imperatives, we shouldn’t stop building nuclear plants and start subsidizing windmills.”
Structuring renewable agreements to survive change.
Donna M. Attanasio and Zori G. Ferkin
The potential for a federal renewable energy standard (RES) and carbon regulation, considered with the effect of state-imposed renewable energy standards, is fueling a strong, but challenging, market for renewable energy. Utilities are competing to sign up the best new projects, the types of renewable technologies available are increasing, and there are various government stimulus programs for energy; yet, the financial markets still are hesitant. Against this backdrop, how should contracts for power from new renewable resources be shaped so that those deals will look as good five, 10 and 15 years after execution as on the day the ink dries?
Granular customer data will revolutionize megawatt markets.
Tim Porter and Andre Begosso
Advanced metering and other smart technologies will allow more granular monitoring of conservation efforts, making them highly predictable for resource planning and system dispatch. Eventually, the smart grid will erase distinctions between wholesale and retail markets.
Defining the mission when the consumer plays second-fiddle to the needs of the market.
Six months back, when ISO New England was mulling over various reforms that FERC had mandated last fall in Order 719 for the nation’s six regional transmission organizations and independent system operators (RTOs and ISOs are interchangeable terms in this column), the ISO refused point blank to include in its mission statement a proposal by stakeholders that it should operate the bulk power system at the “lowest reasonable cost.”
Price transparency will drive GHG reductions.
Fred Wellington and Michael Scholand
In light of coming GHG legislation, price transparency is the key to achieving cleaner generation through the dispatch of lower-carbon sources.
N.J. BPU enacts new rules to insulate utilities from holding companies.
When Congress repealed the Holding Company Act, it gave states greater authority to regulate utilities. New Jersey picked up the baton and enacted rules to protect ratepayers.
Who will oversee the industry’s cyber standards?
Darren Reece Highfill and Vishant Shah
Who will oversee the industry’s cyber standards? Effective security calls for a single organization to set standards that will protect the smart grid. The industry is struggling to reach consensus over authority, scope and funding for its new security apparatus.
Bringing flexibility and efficiency to energy RFPs.
Joseph Cavicchi and Andrew Lemon
With the introduction of retail competition in the electricity industry, regulatory authorities in many jurisdictions are now overseeing the purchase of electricity at wholesale by electric utilities for customers that do not otherwise obtain supply from independent retailers. There are two primary ways in which, under the supervision of regulatory authorities, electric utilities purchase electricity for these non-shopping customers: through simultaneous descending clock auctions or through fairly common sealed-bid auctions, commonly known as Requests for Proposals.
Subsidies might not be the best solution for interconnecting renewables.
Supporters of renewable energy are seeking to socialize the cost of a new interstate highway system for transporting green power. But utilities and transmission owners will build or finance new transmission systems to serve economic demands. Policy makers shouldn’t pre-ordain the direction of industry progress.
The industry debates how far FERC should go.
Since the Energy Policy Act was enacted in 2005, the domestic power and gas industry has experienced several years of FERC compliance enforcement history. Including the settlements entered into in 2007, total penalties levied and agreed to by companies are close to $100 million over the past two years. Given the high stakes, some industry stakeholders have suggested that FERC could provide more comprehensive guidance on what it means to have an adequate compliance program and what constitutes that compliance.