Energy Information Administration

A Multi-Pollutant Strategy

An integrated approach could prove more effective for controlling emissions.

Despite political challenges, the EPA and Congress have made strides toward a more coherent and integrated approach to regulating air emissions. The time is right to reach consensus on a multi-pollutant strategy.

Memo to the President-Elect (Part 2)

A clear and present need for nuclear energy expansion.

Addressing climate change will require extending the life of today’s nuclear fleet and laying the foundation for new plants.

Memo to the President-Elect (Part 1)

A clear and present need for nuclear energy expansion.

The new administration might be our last, best hope for recapturing America’s technological and economic superiority. The time has come to institute an “Apollo Project” level of effort to convert to a carbon-free energy infrastructure while tossing aside the business-as-usual model. The future lies in nuclear power.

Letters to the Editor

(September 2008) In July 2008, two pronouncements on energy policy were made by well-known and respected public figures, T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore. While the T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore proposals are timely and merit further evaluation, at this time continued dependence on oil imports and only modest progress in replacing fossil fuel use for power generation have to be accommodated.

Biofuel Furor

Will power plants get caught in ethanol’s food fight?

The debate over food vs. fuel never has been louder. Using corn to make the biofuel ethanol is perhaps the best known point of argument. Everyone is asking: Should the United States require a certain percentage of U.S. corn crops be turned into fuel in the face of global food shortages and exorbitant food prices? And what are the effects of diverting food croplands into producing fuel?

Inclining Toward Efficiency

Is electricity price-elastic enough for rate designs to matter?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, electricity demand isn’t immune to price elasticity, and rate designs can encourage conservation. In particular, inclining block rates coupled with dynamic pricing can cut electric use by as much as 20 percent.

Securitization, Mach II

Green investments require bulletproof financing.

Originally developed to compensate U.S. electric utilities for regulatory assets rendered uneconomic by deregulation, so-called “stranded-cost” securitization techniques are finding new applications. To date, utilities have issued approximately $40 billion of stranded-cost securitizations. That number could increase dramatically if the industry applies well-tested securitization techniques to the extraordinary costs it faces in the future.

Revisiting the Keystone State

Rate caps have squelched competition in Pennsylvania.

The prolonged period of capped rates in Pennsylvania—years longer than in any other state—has produced some benefits and some drawbacks. On the plus side, due largely to the rate caps, electricity costs in the Commonwealth have fallen from 15 percent above the national average in 1996 to below the national average in 2007. This has been a significant benefit, but a temporary one that many have taken for granted.

Private Equity Still Strong

Volatile markets create investment openings.

(June 2008) As fossil fuel prices continue increasing and alternative energy gathers momentum, the energy and utility industries can expect to see continued interest from private-equity firms. Over the last five years, record levels of private-equity investments have been used to buy power plants, as well as other utility assets and energy product manufacturing facilities. These once-overlooked industries suddenly are hotspots for private-equity investment.

The Late Great Gas Utility

By abandoning R&D and marketing, the gas industry may have sealed its own fate.

Gas producers and utilities have all but abandoned R&D and marketing. Is it too late to reverse the death spiral, or can the industry learn from other check-off marketing successes?