Vertical integration

Bundled against Change

Mississippi draws a line in the sand.

"We view the [Entergy-ITC] transaction [as] an attempt to extract excess value."-Mississippi PSC

Solar Emergence

Models are evolving for utility-scale solar development.

During the next few years, the biggest growth in the solar energy market will happen in the form of utility-scale projects, mostly driven by state renewable portfolio mandates. But financing such projects has become more difficult, with a smaller pool of equity capital and an evolving set of regulatory requirements.

Grid Investment & Restructuring: Two Challenges, One Solution

FERC must align the immediate self-interest of profit-maximizing entities with its own view of what is in the public interest.

Two obstacles must be overcome to achieve true competitive markets: reversal of the long-term underinvestment in transmission, and greater clarity in the legal and regulatory environments. How can the industry make the most of a somewhat defensive regulatory posture?

Power Measurements

Energy trading returns, healthier and wiser.

Power Measurement

Energy trading returns, healthier and wiser.

The recent announcement of a trading joint venture between TXU and Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) is the latest in a series of positive news items supporting the return of energy trading. Wall Street firms continue to expand into the energy-trading sector, with Citigroup as well as CSFB moving into an area already well represented by the likes of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and UBS.

Letter to the Editor

The authors respond:</h1> <p>Jim Johnston's letter gives us an opportunity to clarify our discussion of electricity pricing. In our article we argued that there were two important defects of traditional electricity regulation from the perspective of economists: excess incentive for capital-intensive generation techniques and the use of prices as revenue-recovery rather than resource-allocation devices. Regulated retail prices for electricity consumption are weighted-average rather than marginal cost and thus incorrectly signal consumers about the true costs of electricity production: too high off-peak and too low on-peak.</p> <p>In a true deregulated market, Johnston is correct that consumers would be offered choices about how much of the continuous wholesale price variation they would face, ranging from all to none-just like mortgage products range from continuously adjustable to 30-year fixed-rate, even though the spot price of capital varies continuously.</p> <p>If genuine deregulated electricity markets are not possible, we argued that regulation could "mandate" real-time pricing. Our use of the term mandate was unfortunate because it implies that we would oppose the use of the risk-hedging and long-term contracts that Johnston describes. In addition, our use of the term allowed Johnston to infer that we favor mandating particular market institutions such as the California spot market. We neither oppose the use of the contracts Johnston describes, nor do we favor mandating any particular type of market institutions. What we do not favor is the suppression of prices as resource allocation signals through regulation. <i>-Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren</i></p> </p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Articles found on this page are available to subscribers only. For more information about obtaining a username and password, please call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-368-5001.</b></p>

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Cato's Peter Van Doren and Jerry Taylor analyzed the electricity crisis in the February 2004 issue of the ("Rethinking Restructuring," p. 12) and concluded that the solution to a bad situation is vertical integration and mandatory real-time pricing. In my opinion they have got it half right.

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As a former independent power producer, George Lagassa is sympathetic to the woes of the merchant power industry. Until just a few years ago, he held the license to a micro-hydro qualifying facility (QF) in New Hampshire, so he understands what it takes to compete in a regulated-franchise industry. Yet, as the principal of Mainstream Appraisals in North Hampton, N.H., Lagassa is also a dedicated pragmatist. He sees the industry's consolidation trend as a sort of correction in the U.S. power market.