MATS compliance now, with flexibility for the future.
Conflicting demands for complying with EPA’s MATS rule favor a single control technology to deal with multiple types of power plant emissions.
Virginia brings a new coal-fired plant online.
Reports of coal’s demise are exaggerated. This summer, Dominion cleared the regulatory gauntlet to start up a new coal plant. Whether the example can be replicated might hinge on state incentives—and the forward price of natural gas.
Securitization fails the test for financing environmental capex.
Utilities seeking financing for environmental upgrades should look to the markets for debt and equity, rather than trying to securitize those costs.
How suppliers and generators can each gain from today’s historic low prices.
Gregory C. Staple & Patrick Bean
Gas-fired generators and suppliers alike can each share risk and reward from historic low prices with contracts that blend market and fixed prices
Retrofitting early protected North Carolina ratepayers.
David Hoppock and Sarah Adair
Ongoing litigation over EPA rules raises compliance risks and costs. North Carolina utilities, however, benefited from the state’s forward thinking.
Bold plan for independence, or more partisan overreach?
By Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
The Republican nominee’s energy plan doesn’t say much about electricity or natural gas. But what it does say should sound familiar to anyone who’s followed energy policy for more than four years.
EPA, mercury and electric reliability.
The energy industry has known for decades that federal regulators eventually would set rules under the Clean Air Act to govern emissions of mercury and other air toxics from coal-fired power plants. However, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now having issued a final mercury rule, along with guidelines for possible extensions of the compliance deadline, utilities and power plant owners finally have a clear idea what they are up against. And the outlook isn't pretty. The challenge is to retrofit many hundreds of generating plants across the country--and all on the same three-year compliance schedule. Yet two wildcards remain in play: what deference the EPA will give to electric reliability needs, as it "consults" with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Council; and how effective FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff will be as Republican leadership in Congress works to derail the new rules.
An integrated approach could prove more effective for controlling emissions.
Despite political challenges, the EPA and Congress have made strides toward a more coherent and integrated approach to regulating air emissions. The time is right to reach consensus on a multi-pollutant strategy.
Green investments require bulletproof financing.
Originally developed to compensate U.S. electric utilities for regulatory assets rendered uneconomic by deregulation, so-called “stranded-cost” securitization techniques are finding new applications. To date, utilities have issued approximately $40 billion of stranded-cost securitizations. That number could increase dramatically if the industry applies well-tested securitization techniques to the extraordinary costs it faces in the future.
The current coal bust might lead to a future boom.
Gary L. Hunt and Hans Daniels
Coal is taking a beating. As mining costs rise, coal reserves deplete, emission regulations strengthen, and inter-fuel competitive dynamics change, the allocation of coal in the electric generation industry is certain to see substantial changes. The uncertainties over CO2 regulations and emissions standards are having a chilling impact on both proposed and current coal investment.