Off Peak

Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 1997
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Many regulators say that new technology makes it cheaper and easier to build and operate electric generating plants. Fired by cheap natural gas, these new plants (simple- and combined-cycle combustion turbines) open the business to new players, giving a reason to deregulate electric generation ...

Inexpensive to run:

"[S]maller and more efficient gas-fired combined-cycle generation facilities can produce power on the grid at a cost ranging from 5 cents per kWh to less than 3 cents per kWh."

(em FERC, Dkt.RM95-8-000, RM94-7-001, March 29, 1995

Easy to build:

"Simple-cycle combustion turbines can be put into operation in about two years ... the cost is one-third to one-fourth less than the cost per MW of a conventional coal-fired plant."

(em Texas PUC, Dkt. 13444, April 17, 1995.

A boon to competition:

"[A]dvances in combined-cycle gas-turbine technology have exposed a gap ... Greater competition and increased customer choice ... now seem possible."

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