Moody’s concludes: mass grid defection not yet on the horizon

Yes, solar power systems are getting cheaper and battery storage is improving. The combination has many folks worried (or elated) about the future prospects of grid-based electric utilities when consumers can get the power they want at home. (See Lynne’s post from last summer for background.) An analysis by Moody’s concludes that battery storage remains an … More Moody’s concludes: mass grid defection not yet on the horizon

Should regulated utilities participate in the residential solar market?

I recently argued that the regulated utility is not likely to enter a “death spiral”, but that the regulated utility business model is indeed under pressure, and the conversation about the future of that business model is a valuable one. One area of pressure on the regulated utility business model is the market for residential … More Should regulated utilities participate in the residential solar market?

Energy poverty and clean technology

For the past three years, I’ve team-taught a class that’s part of our Institute for Energy and Sustainability at Northwestern (ISEN) curriculum. It’s an introductory class, primarily focused on ethics and philosophy. One of my earth science colleagues kicks us off with the carbon cycle, the evidence for anthropogenic global warming, and interpretations of that … More Energy poverty and clean technology

“Grid defection” and the regulated utility business model

The conversations about the “utility death spiral” to which I alluded in my recent post have included discussion of the potential for “grid defection”. Grid defection is an important phenomenon in any network industry — what if you use scarce resources to build a network that provides value for consumers, and then over time, with … More “Grid defection” and the regulated utility business model

The spin on wind, or, an example of bullshit in the field of energy policy

The Wall Street Journal recently opined against President Obama’s nominee for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, Norman Bay, and in the process took a modest swipe at subsidies for wind energy. The context here is Bay’s action while leading FERC’s enforcement division, and in particular his prosecution of electric power market participants who manage to run afoul … More The spin on wind, or, an example of bullshit in the field of energy policy

Did ERCOT’s shift from zonal to nodal market design reduce electric power prices?

Jay Zarnikau, C.K. Woo, and Ross Baldick have examined whether the shift from a zonal to nodal market design in the ERCOT power market had a noticeable effect on electric energy prices. The resulting article, published in the Journal of Regulatory Economics, and this post may be a bit geekier than we usually get around here. … More Did ERCOT’s shift from zonal to nodal market design reduce electric power prices?

Court says no to FERC’s negawatt payment rule

Jeremy Jacobs and Hannah Northey at Greenwire report “Appeals court throws out FERC’s demand-response order“: A federal appeals court today threw out a high-profile Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order that provided incentives for electricity users to consume less power, a practice dubbed demand response. In a divided ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the … More Court says no to FERC’s negawatt payment rule