Low Carbon, not Always Low Cost
Fortnightly Magazine - February 2017
Consider the current U.S. low power price environment as the country shifts away from coal and toward cleaner energy sources to reduce carbon emissions. What are the prospects that nuclear energy will continue to play a role in the U.S. power mix? That's the question that Michael Haggarty addressed in a recent report on global nuclear power generation.
Fairness Is In the Eye of the Beholder
Fairness has conflicting meanings for customers, utilities, power generators, DER providers, and others. Regulators and policymakers must understand their goal should not be the perfect rate design; it doesn't exist.
Harassment is Wrong
It is appropriate that people are passionate about sharing their views with utility regulators. But demonizing or implicitly threatening a public servant should have no place in public discourse.
Change Will Occur, Slowly
It is not possible to know what priorities the new administration will pursue. It is possible for legislators, regulators, and utilities to make some assumptions: coal will continue to decline as a generation fuel, previous utility investment and court decisions will carry forward. Legislators will continue to promote generation fuel diversity to best ensure system reliability.
Customers and Utilities Benefit
In the U.S., electric utilities are the major supporter of MRPs. In other countries, the government has been a major proponent. Countries such as Australia, Canada and Great Britain have relied heavily on MRPs, often citing the deficiencies of traditional rate-of-return ratemaking.
Offer end uses as the product, and not therms or watts. The utility becomes a true energy service company.
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.
Collaborating to Get More, Sooner
Imagine five or ten utilities teamed up to advance useful applications of drones to the industry. Whether with drones or some other emerging opportunity, collaboration is a smart path to more value, faster.
Past as Prologue
More efficient products and services caused 60% to 75% of the increase in energy productivity since 1970. In this, the first of three parts on the history, present situation, and future of energy efficiency, we'll take a macro view of the efficiency industry and how we got here.