Energy Information Administration

Capacity Markets Demystified

Emerging capacity auctions offer limited but valuable risk-management tools for asset owners.

Fast forward to today’s partially deregulated electric power markets. Wholesale electric energy often is traded in various central markets, as well as among individuals in bilateral transactions. Wholesale electric energy prices largely are deregulated, and clearly, over the past decade, market participants have become adept at routinely charging much more than their variable production costs. This “rent extraction,” as economists commonly call it, can take various forms, and while the mechanism for achieving it can be complicated, the evidence is quite clear that today’s wholesale electricity prices typically are higher than the variable costs of most or even all suppliers.

The High Cost of Restructuring

RTO markets aren’t living up to the promise of cheaper power.

Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) have not performed as well as open wholesale markets over the past decade. RTO advocates want governmental intervention, but the best answer may be requiring RTOs to file system lambdas.

Nuclear Fuel Future

Nuclear power cost projections should incorporate fuel cost uncertainties.

Nuclear fuel cost projections typically consist of current reported costs that are escalated at the rate of inflation. These projections usually consist of a single estimate in each year. In the past, when nuclear fuel costs were low and declining, this approach was acceptable and may have even been conservative. But this approach is likely to understate projected nuclear fuel cost when nuclear fuel costs are increasing.

Letters to the Editor

Before the hearings started, I felt the number of critical cyber assets for a medium size utility would be on the order of several thousand, not 20 as some major utilities are identifying under the CIP standards. This should be a red flag for the industry.

Sticker Shock!

Increasing prices for materials, equipment and services are driving utility infrastructure costs into uncharted territory.

The evidence is overwhelming: After a decade of relatively stable, or even declining, construction costs, the industry is now facing a prolonged period of elevated construction price tags. What are the causes behind this trend, and how might the cost increases translate into higher rates?

Messing With Texas

Armed with calls for gas price transparency, FERC takes aim at intrastate pipelines—the long-forgotten and largely private preserve of the Lone Star State.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has proposed to bring a modicum of federal oversight to the nation’s intrastate natural-gas pipelines. Given the historical structure and regulation of the nation’s natural-gas industry, it should come as no surprise that FERC’s proposal has polarized the industry in general and the state of Texas in particular.

Letters to the Editor

A lengthy letter to the editor addresses whether the Energy Information Administration’s gas-market forecasts, as laid out in a recent article, are biased. The authors of the original piece, Timothy J. Considine and Frank A. Clemente, then respond to the letter.

Gas-Market Forecasts: Betting on Bad Numbers

Why predictions from the Energy Information Administration may contain systematic errors.

Natural-gas estimates from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) are supposed to be “policy neutral.” Are they? Over the past decade, EIA forecasts for NG differ substantially from actual outcomes—even though overestimations of supply capabilities could lead to underestimating the costs of carbon regulations.

LNG Mitigation Costs: Who Will pick up the tab?

FERC issues a surprising order regarding responsibility for LNG-related retrofit costs.

The answer to the question of who will be responsible for cost-mitigation measures to accommodate the introduction of large quantities of LNG into the U.S. pipeline grid remains up in the air for now, but there are signs pointing in one particular direction: toward ratepayers.

When Shippers Seek Release

Price caps, secondary markets, and the revolution in natural-gas portfolio management.

When FERC decided in February, in Order 890, to lift the price cap for electric-transmission customers seeking to resell their grid capacity rights in the secondary market, it cautioned against expecting a quid pro quo for gas. Was the commission just teasing?