Wind Power: Poised for Take Off?
A survey of projects and economics.
The amount of electricity generated from wind in the U.S. is expected to surge this year - owing in large part to hydropower shortages out West, natural gas price volatility across the country, and high capacity factors for wind turbines, which help to offset the intermittent nature of wind energy generation.
A Twenty-Fold Increase?
Former coal lobbyist Glenn Schleede plays Don Quixote, crusading against the DOE's 20-year initiative to boost investment in windmills.
How to justify green power without apologizing for the price.
Policymakers have shown considerable interest in the concept of a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), and how it might affect the cost of energy.
The RPS would require electricity providers to include a small amount of renewables-based power - typically less than 3 percent or 4 percent - in their resource mix.
But who gets a slice of the pie?
In August the Bonneville Power Administration released its proposed wholesale electric rates for the five-year period from 2002 to 2006. The controversial proposal is subject to five months of scrutiny, including eight public hearings from Sept. 30 through Oct. 14, with adoption of final rates expected early in 2000.
In this era of emerging competitive markets, relatively low-priced federal power is prized by wholesale customers in the BPA's Northwestern U.S. service territory.
States earmark millions to fund solar projects via system benefits charges.
Making solar power a realistic choice for electric consumers is a burgeoning issue for state utility regulators. As part of electric restructuring, regulators are trying to finance the costs of solar installations.
Key to delivering commercial, on-grid solar power to new markets are state efforts, partnered with other government and industry actions. So far, the system benefits charge, or SBC, is the primary short-term incentive to develop solar, wind, biomass and other renewable resources.
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.
Some in Congress would link customer choice with a portfolio standard. How would that play in a wholesale power market where gas turbines rule the roost?
By Michael C. Brower and Brian Parsons
WHAT KINDS OF POWER PLANTS WILL
get built in a deregulated electric industry? If recent history offers any guide, utilities and independent power companies will succumb to the traditional wisdom and invest in gas-fired combustion turbines and combined-cycle plants. Sound reasons may exist for doing so. The plants are less expensive than conventional steam plants. They put less capital at risk.