reverse auction

Cali Gets it Right

Not your father’s feed-in tariff.

The industry has struggled to craft a feed-in-tariff (FiT) structure that works for solar generators and utility customers, with mixed success. But now, the California Public Utility Commission might have found an approach that other states can replicate. CPUC’s FiT mechanism recognizes the value proposition of solar energy, and uses market forces to drive economic improvements, especially for distributed solar projects.

Pricing the Public Good

Weighing green energy’s costs and benefits.

Policies aimed at promoting one good thing can diminish a better thing, for a net loss to the overall public welfare. Raising prices to promote renewables, for example, makes electricity less affordable and hurts the economy. But artificially low prices can themselves create social ills — by preserving an unsustainable status quo.

Commission Watch

What everybody missed in setting up the regional grids.

Commission Watch

What everybody missed in setting up the regional grids.

While the electric utility industry has largely agreed on what elements to include in a standard market design (SMD) to govern wholesale power trading in a given region, recent experience shows that the regulators from time to time have overlooked a number of things.

Gas Pipelines Auctions

A debate on the FERC proposal to put short-term capacity up for bid.

Last summer the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission truly outdid itself. In a move that left the gas industry speechless, the FERC proposed that it would remove all price controls or cost-based regulation for capacity rights shorter than one year's duration, and instead would resort to auctions for the purchase and sale of such "short-term" rights to transport natural gas on interstate pipelines.

The reason? The FERC said it wanted to level the field between short- and long-term contracts.