And where the trouble spots lie in FERC's grid plan.
The mood appeared calm on June 26 in Washington, D.C., at the regular bi-weekly meeting of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Key officials from various regional transmission organizations (RTOs) had gathered before chairman Pat Wood and the other commissioners to brief them on progress over the past year in reforming wholesale electric markets, and on what the FERC might expect in the summer at hand.
Policymakers reflect on how it "coulda been." Nearly all insist "my state did it best."
California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania have deregulated their electricity markets. Yet they're all ironing out wrinkles. California at press time was bracing for a vote on the Proposition 9 recall petition. New Hampshire still faced federal lawsuits filed by Public Service of New Hampshire seeking to quash efforts to bring competition to the state. (See, U.S. District Court, Concord, Docket No. 97-97-JD; U.S. District Court, Providence, Docket No.
DEREGULATION PRESENTS WHAT IS PERHAPS THE BEST opportunity yet for renewables to stake a lasting claim in the electricity market.
Since most energy from renewable sources still isn't priced competitively with fossil-fueled technologies, many restructuring proposals at state and federal levels include various support mechanisms intended to drive down the renewable generation costs. The initial added expense is a necessary trade-off, advocates say, for the resulting reductions in emissions and energy price volatility.
AS A FOLLOW UP TO OUR APRIL 1 ARTICLE ON CANADIAN-U.S. energy convergence, Public Utilities Fortnightly interviewed Ontario Energy Minister Jim Wilson to find out what's in store for the province as it moves ahead with restructuring its electricity industry.
PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION. Chief Judge D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court in Maine, decided to allow Portland Natural Gas Transmission System access to electric transmission corridors owned by Central Maine Power Co. The access will be used to install a natural gas pipeline.
Portland received FERC approval Sept. 24 for installing and operating a 292-mile, $302-million interstate pipeline. CMP owns about 70 miles of the electric transmission corridor. The preliminary injunction, issued April 10, gives Portland access to property on CMP-owned transmission corridors.
MICHIGAN CHOICE APPEAL. Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley filed an appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals of the Michigan PSC's Jan. 14 rehearing order (News Digest, March 15, 1998, p. 18) adopting a phase-in schedule for electric restructuring and retail choice for Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. Kelley alleged that the order fails to create a competitive generation market or foster lower rates. He called it an "outrage," that gave the utilities everything they wanted. Case Nos. u-11290 et al., Feb. 13, 1998 (Mich.P.S.C.).
NEW HAMPSHIRE RESTRUCTURING. The U.S.
THE RAPID DEREGULATION OF THE BULK POWER MARKET has exposed utilities and power generators to the harsh reality of spot price volatility. This new reality begs the question: How can merchant generators, independent power producers and investor-owned utilities analyze their risk exposure when energy prices vary daily or even hourly?
The answer lies with spark spread options (em the link between electric power and gas prices.
Has rate regulation become obsolete for natural gas pipelines?