Energy Policy & Legislation

Zero Emissions Credits

State Priorities vs. Regional Differences

Recently adopted state programs to foster existing nuclear generation are being challenged in the courts for potentially infringing on FERC’s wholesale market jurisdiction. 2017 could prove to be the year when state policy priorities began to elbow aside voluntary regional market constructs.

Whale Tale

Transitions are Complex Affairs

It’s tempting to idealize how market forces shape the outcome of energy transitions. The truth is that many factors affect what happens and how fast. Notably, government policies play a greater role in shaping energy than most care to admit.

Is Good Utility Regulation in Jeopardy?

Balance and Adaptability are Critical

The three mortal sins of utility regulation are ideology, ignorance and inertia (the three I's). Acting on political beliefs, inadequate information, and past conditions that no longer exist is a recipe for poor regulation.

'Markets' Test

We Called Them 'Markets.' Now We're Testing Them.

We're enamored of free markets, particularly in the nineties. But power markets cannot come close to emulating authentic competition. Why? They cannot satisfy the basic conditions of competition taught in microeconomics 101.

The Electric Utility in 2030

Fat or Skinny?

Debates over utility business and regulatory models have sidestepped a fundamental question: What do state legislators and regulators want the electricity utility of the future to do? Do they want "fat" utilities that play a larger role in implementing public policy and delivering energy services to customers? Or "skinny" utilities that are more narrowly focused on the ownership and upkeep of the grid?

Why Are We Still Arguing About NEM?

Competitive Market Will Take Care of Next Burning Issue

I do not understand why we are still distracted by Net Energy Metering (NEM). It worked well when we had not-so-smart meters and were trying to encourage rooftop solar penetration. People in general and students of regulation in particular are left confused and can easily find some support for both sides. This results in conflicts and proposed compromises that keep the debate going at full tilt. Two things are missing or mostly overlooked in all this regulatory discourse.

FERC, Renewables and Potatoes

Hidden Costs of Externalities

We continue to rush towards a renewable future without considering overall system design, the costs that various renewable scenarios impose on grid operation, and the operation of the grid with these scenarios. When the externalities of climate change and ocean acidification create an overwhelming mandate to move away from fossil fuels, we have no choice but to go forward. Shouldn't we try to pick the cheapest path?

Energy People: Rob Powelson

We talked with NARUC President, Commissioner Rob Powelson

Commissioner Powelson was installed as the 128th president of NARUC in November 2016.

Moral Economics and Power

Neo-Liberalism's Consequences

Adam Smith's first book, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” argued that people acted not just for money, but also out of professional pride, fairness, patriotism, altruism and other non-economic reasons. Maybe the time has come to revisit Adam Smith and his important first book.