Joseph Daniel

Senior Energy Analyst

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Joseph Daniel is a senior energy analyst with the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In his role, he establishes policy positions, develops strategy, and produces analytics that spur innovation in energy markets to facilitate the transition to a modern electricity grid that is clean, affordable, flexible, and reliable. See Joseph's full bio.

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Joseph's Latest Posts

The Real Reason Behind Coal’s Cycling Woes

Integrating renewables into the current mix of resources sure does get a lot of attention these days. Sadly, the issue has been thrown up as an unnecessary barrier to the development of wind and solar. One of the most pervasive arguments I’ve heard suggests integrating variable resources (like wind and solar) is costly and sometimes physically impossible. But data recently analyzed by UCS adds to the growing body of work that undercuts such arguments. Read more >

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Brayton Point coal plant Credit: Mr. Ducke (

Coal Is No Longer a Baseload Resource, So Why Run Plants All Year?

Today’s energy experts are increasingly questioning the validity of the generations-old way of thinking about our electric grid that says coal is needed as a baseload power resource year-round. “Baseload resources” are the generators that are thought of as providing a constant stream of electric power year-round. At its simplest level, energy wonks tend to fall in one of two camps:

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Synapse Energy Economics
Sierra Club + UCS
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Three Ways Advocacy Has Enabled Market Forces to Clean up the Power Grid

Market forces are powerful—but advocacy by independent groups has played a critical role in making sure economics and market forces can do their job. Read more >

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Entergy building from Hilton New Orleans

Electric Companies Like Entergy Are Using Affiliate Transactions to Block Renewable Energy, Here’s How

Despite the environmental, economic, and reliability benefits of switching to  a renewables future, New Orleans, Louisiana is being blocked by local utility monopoly, Entergy.

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How Does Uneconomic Coal Generation Impact the Grid? A Discussion with Regulators

On November 19th I had the privilege to sit on a panel of industry luminaries discussing an issue I’ve been researching for some time: Coal-fired power plants that operate uneconomically in wholesale markets.

Wholesale power markets all have rules in place that are designed to prevent power plants from running uneconomically. However, some power plant operators use those same market rules to bypass the market decision-making process through a process known as “self-committing.” Self-committing coal-fired power plants allow those plants to operate out of “merit-order” (from least cost to highest cost) and can result in serious market distortion and inflated consumer costs. Read more >

Photo: PDTillman/Wikimedia Commons
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