Electric shortages and the generation overbuild continue to co-exist.
While maintaining its stance as the most sophisticated competitive electricity market in the country, PJM still faces several challenges, all of which are augmented by its expanded footprint. Most prominent is the RTO’s plan to implement a new reliability pricing model. Further, parts of PJM are ailing from transmission congestion issues that limit access to abundant, cheap power sources in the region.
Sam Newell, Frank Felder, and Johannes Pfeifenberger
When summer heat waves cause electric demand to peak, they also often cause wholesale electricity prices to rise substantially above their average levels. However, since most electricity customers face retail rates that do not reflect this movement in wholesale market prices, they do not modify their consumption patterns, causing a significant drop in economic efficiency. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 calls upon states and utilities to evaluate and implement DR programs to mitigate this problem.
Everyone is in favor of more demand response, but little gets delivered when system operators need it the most.
Scott Neumann, Fereidoon Sioshansi, Ali Vojdani, and Gaymond Yee
Despite overwhelming theoretical and empirical evidence, we aren’t seeing more DR when it is needed most—during emergency periods. The reasons boil down to two obstacles, both of which must be addressed before widespread DR implementation can move forward.
Dominion and AEP want to put the toothpaste back in the tube, but re-regulation could get messy.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
Is it possible to go back to the way things were? Nostalgia for the old regulated model seems to be waxing of late, particularly in Virginia. The 70-percent rate increases in Maryland last year at the expiration of price caps—part of the transition to electric competition—has become the calamity that some state regulators fear most. Several utilities are pushing for re-regulation.
Does anyone care about rising redispatch costs?
Richard Lauckhart and Gary L. Hunt
Regional transmission organizations (RTOs) or independent system operators (ISOs) dominate the major power grids of North America, with the notable exceptions of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. The purpose of this article is not to criticize system reliability but to highlight the more pervasive challenge today and for the future: Controlling the cost impact of decisions by grid operators on energy market participants.
Jay Kumar, President, Economic & Technical Consultants Inc.: Could Hind Farag and Gary L. Hunt point out any winner whose power costs have decreased after the implementation of LMP? I can bet they won’t find even one single (real) entity. ... I am glad that MISO is sticking to the original basis of a supposedly competitive market.
Diane Moody, Director, Statistical Analysis, American Public Power Association: “The Fallacy of High Prices” purports to show that restructuring of wholesale power markets has resulted in significant benefits. However, the analysis it offers in support of this proposition is not credible.
Three challenges to federal authority from those unhappy with the status quo.
A look at how regulators, grid operators, and consumer advocates in Arkansas, California and Connecticut have posed challenges to established law and policy at FERC.
An analysis of current valuation trends explains why some assets command better values than most.
Devrim Albuz and Gary L. Hunt
Average North America power-plant asset value is at $725/kW.1 Compared with our winter 2005-2006 analysis, this figure has barely changed; however, we have seen significant value movements based on region, fuel, and asset types.
The new transmission siting and permitting policies could be just as messy and unruly as the old ones.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
The idea behind the NIETC is a noble one: to help facilitate the construction of badly needed transmission capacity to relieve congestion problems and improve reliability. In fact, the promotion of new infrastructure investment is at the heart of EPACT. But there’s just one problem. The new process for permitting and siting electric transmission under EPACT appears to be as flawed and contentious as it was pre-EPACT.
Why the standard market design refuses to die.
Hold on to your hats. The vaunted and vilified “standard market design”, once thought dead and buried, has been resuscitated, with all attendant chaos and rhetoric, but this time in the guise of a new proposal under the code name “open dispatch.” This new construct, as remarkable in its way as Einstein’s theory of indeterminate space and time, declares that electric transmission, long seen as one of a triumvirate of unique and essential utility industry sectors (along with generation and distribution), is little more than a mirage.