The big challenge facing the Northeast energy markets.
The Northeast energy markets are working hard to establish new levels of regional coordination and cooperation. The region’s concerted effort is essential to resolving some of the industry’s toughest issues since the individual markets evolved. These issues include the elimination, reduction, or bridging of seams issues that prevent the economic transfer of capacity and energy between neighboring wholesale electricity markets, or control areas, as a result of incompatible market rules or designs.
As if carbon control were a fait accompli, gen developers skew the queue toward renewable projects, driving new policy on transmission pricing.
Now at last, in a region other than California, we can see clearly that renewable mandates and fears of carbon taxes have influenced the power-plant development cycle. Moreover, this effect is helping to drive policy proposals for the pricing of transmission service and the recovery of costs for grid upgrades deemed necessary to bring the new plants on line.
The 2005 Act, designed to streamline projects, may fall short of that goal.
David B. MacGregor and Matthew J. Agen
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was supposed to streamline the siting process and provide a federal “trump card” for projects delayed at the local level, but it is far from clear whether these goals have been, or will be, achieved.
An expiring 40-year-old contract rocks the Pacific AC Intertie.
PacifiCorp informed FERC, PG&E, and the state of California that it would not renew the contract upon its long-anticipated expiration date of July 31, 2007. Instead, it would take back full ownership of its transmission-line rights and sell the available capacity into the open market under its own tariff at today’s going rate.
What’s the story with AES Ocean Express?
In January 2004, FERC authorized AES Ocean Express LLC (AES) to construct and operate natural-gas pipeline facilities to transport revaporized LNG from an offshore receipt point at the boundary between the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas to onshore delivery points on the east coast of Florida. AES proposed to connect its planned pipeline to the pipeline system of Florida Gas Transmission (FGT). AES and FGT were unable to agree upon the terms and conditions to be included in FGT’s tariff regarding the LNG delivered through AES’ proposed pipeline, leading to AES filing a formal complaint with FERC, wherein it alleged that FGT sought to impose unreasonably restrictive gas quality and interchangeability standards on LNG delivered into the FGT system.
FERC issues a surprising order regarding responsibility for LNG-related retrofit costs.
The answer to the question of who will be responsible for cost-mitigation measures to accommodate the introduction of large quantities of LNG into the U.S. pipeline grid remains up in the air for now, but there are signs pointing in one particular direction: toward ratepayers.
Price caps, secondary markets, and the revolution in natural-gas portfolio management.
When FERC decided in February, in Order 890, to lift the price cap for electric-transmission customers seeking to resell their grid capacity rights in the secondary market, it cautioned against expecting a quid pro quo for gas. Was the commission just teasing?
The Southeast again is the battleground for fuels, technology, and market structure.
One sure sign of recovery in boom-and-bust power-generation markets is the renewed growth in the planning and construction of power plants. Active efforts are underway in generation development in the Southeast markets in spite of the high levels of generating reserve margins. With its traditional utility-dominated market structure and a preference for baseload generation, the Southeast is the battleground for the next round of power-generation development.
How to develop balanced revenue-backed financing to manage the impacts of governmental mandates.
Severe upward pressure on electric rates after a decade of stability has regulators, legislators, utility executives, consumer advocates, and myriad other stakeholders searching for solutions. Revenue-backed financing can mitigate many of these mandate-driven rate increases significantly. These programs must, however, be designed to eliminate the inefficiencies and inequities that can be associated with revenue set-aside programs.
Intermittent and interruptible resources increasingly are being considered in regional resource adequacy calculations—but the approaches differ.
Lawrence Risman and Joan Ward
While both NERC and the NERC regional councils (known today as the Electric Reliability Organization) have standards and guidelines for resource adequacy and system reliability, much of the specificity as to how interruptible (e.g., demand-side) and intermittent resources (e.g., wind) are included is left up to the individual ISO/RTOs, states, provinces, etc. In fact, the various regions across North America each seem to have their own methodology for incorporating these resources into their resource adequacy and reserve-margin calculations. As the North American energy industry escalates its desire to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through the expanded use of demand-side resources and intermittent renewables, the importance of this topic also will escalate.