From NY Newsday: Deregulated Power Grid Presents Own Challenges. An interesting read.
If you would like a copy of the Wall Street Journal commentary from last week but are not a WSJ subscriber, it’s available online at Reason.
The conference committee finally pushed through the energy bill on Friday. Here’s a list of stories addressing the merits, or serious lack thereof, in the legislation.
Overview of the bill from the Washington Post, reflecting the general conclusion that little will be gained from this very expensive bill.
Electricity provisions of the bill:
Bill lets US order power lines built
Enabling FERC to collect wholesale price data from utilities
May not help grid investment and construction
Aims to prevent blackouts
Industry would establish rules for grid use
Ethanol subsidies/MTBE replacement:
Details of ethanol measures in the energy bill
Farmers could make hay with energy bill
Energy bill awash in oil, but still leaves room to double ethanol
Fuel additive hot button in energy bill
Bill makes MTBE waiver retroactive
Bill protects MTBE manufacturers from lawsuits
Subsidies to various industries (except ethanol, so egregiously subsidized that I list it separately):
Industries may cash in on energy bill
Industry tax breaks fill energy bill
Energy bill would benefit companies
Tax breaks for oil
Coal measures of the bill
Looming conflict in Congress over bill:
Congressional conference votes today on energy bill
Showdown looms over energy bill
According to this AP story from last Thursday, outgoing California governor Gray Davis has declared the energy crisis over:
The recalled governor issued a proclamation Thursday ending the state of emergency he declared on Jan. 17, 2001, as wholesale electricity prices hit record highs and California suffered rolling blackouts. The crisis, which aggravated the state’s budget deficit, played a key role in Davis ouster in last month’s recall election. …
The emergency powers allowed Davis to seize power contracts, streamline the application process to build new power plants, demand rebates for consumers who conserve energy and tell shopping centers to reduce their outdoor lighting.
My initial, snotty, observation on this event was “how nice to be able to declare such a thing by fiat”, but my more politically savvy friend Adrian Moore points out that by ending the state of emergency, Davis denies the abililty to use “state of emergency” powers to incoming Governor Schwarzenegger.
I wonder if Governor Schwarzenegger would have even used such powers … but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s a last-minute spiteful move on Governor Davis’s part.
I am on the back end of a work trip, and am thus unlikely to have much time today for posts.
Fortunately, Carnival of the Capitalists is up over at Professor Bainbridge’s place. I was a total flake and spaced sending him my fishing property rights post, but oh well … there’s a lot of good stuff there to chew on.