Energizing the Big Apple

Uncertain market design affects generation investment planning.

Faced with state-wide electric utility restructuring and power-market deregulation, the state of New York constantly has been adjusting the state’s power markets to meet the potentially contradictory goals of low cost, yet reliable power. In New York this has taken many forms, including monitoring of energy prices, caps on capacity prices and forced divestment of assets to reduce potential market abuses.

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.

Post-Meltdown Valuation

Credit-quality concerns join fuel and market factors to affect power-plant valuation

Lenders know there are billions of dollars of weak financial assets in the market, such as securities backed by bad mortgages. The problem is no one knows who is exposed at what level to those weak financial assets. This causes a lack of confidence in the lending industry, and a credit crunch that — if unabated — could cause a recession.

Keep Your Eye on the South

The Southeast again is the battleground for fuels, technology, and market structure.

One sure sign of recovery in boom-and-bust power-generation markets is the renewed growth in the planning and construction of power plants. Active efforts are underway in generation development in the Southeast markets in spite of the high levels of generating reserve margins. With its traditional utility-dominated market structure and a preference for baseload generation, the Southeast is the battleground for the next round of power-generation development.

Winds of Change Freshen Resource Adequacy

Intermittent and interruptible resources increasingly are being considered in regional resource adequacy calculations—but the approaches differ.

While both NERC and the NERC regional councils (known today as the Electric Reliability Organization) have standards and guidelines for resource adequacy and system reliability, much of the specificity as to how interruptible (e.g., demand-side) and intermittent resources (e.g., wind) are included is left up to the individual ISO/RTOs, states, provinces, etc. In fact, the various regions across North America each seem to have their own methodology for incorporating these resources into their resource adequacy and reserve-margin calculations. As the North American energy industry escalates its desire to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through the expanded use of demand-side resources and intermittent renewables, the importance of this topic also will escalate.

Demand Response: The Green Effect

How demand response programs contribute to energy efficiency and environmental quality.

Demand response reduces overall energy usage, but the magnitude of the reduction depends on whether the technologies are developed and deployed with efficiency in mind.

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs: J. Wayne Leonard

CEO, Entergy

“I think it is my job as a leader to make sure that our values are always lived up to even when [they] conflict necessarily with our vision. That is what people look for at the end of the day. A leader’s role above all else is to make sure the truth is respected.”

Natural-Gas Procurement: A Hard Look at Incentive Mechanisms

Better designs are needed to realize the goal of lower-cost gas.

A gas procurement incentive mechanism that provides strong incentives for a broad range of procurement-related costs and revenues, using a benchmark that is both exogenous and adaptive to external circumstances, can benefit consumers.

Terminal Terminations

The unclear language governing termination rights is subject to interpretation and extraordinary financial risk.

How does one determine the value of power contracts under early termination? Given the vagaries of the contracts themselves, the process is neither clear nor standard, and often results in protracted and costly litigation. Did the counterparty have the right to terminate in the first place?

Tariff Tinkering

FERC says it won’t ‘change’ the native-load preference, but don’t bet on it.

When FERC opened wholesale power markets to competition a decade ago in Order No. 888, it codified a system for awarding grid access known as the pro forma Open-Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), founded on physical rights, and on the fiction that electrons travel along a “contract path.” Should the commission “tinker” with the OATT, making only surgical changes to make it current? Or, do events instead warrant a complete overhaul?