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 >
January 15, 2020 12:12 PM EDT
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:
December 17, 2019 3:51 PM EDT
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 >
November 20, 2019 10:47 AM EDT
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 >
October 30, 2019 4:42 PM EDT
There is a pervasive myth in the electric sector that the owners of coal-fired power plants all sign long term contracts for coal. Once upon a time, that may have been true; but that simply isn’t the case today.