What are capacity markets and why do they matter?
If you live in the Midwest, East of the Mississippi and North of the Mason-Dixon line, or in Arkansas or Louisiana, the companies that generate your electricity are covered by what are called capacity markets. I’ll bet you didn’t know that. That’s actually part of the problem, because there’s very little transparency and hence little …CONTINUE READING
Legally deficient? Arbitrary? Disguised special interest favors? All par for the course in this Administration.
You couldn’t ask for a more typical example of the Trump Administration at work. Nuclear and coal plants are being closed across the country, unable to compete with cheap natural gas and increasingly cheap renewables. In a desperate effort to support the coal industry, Trump wants to force consumers to subsidize these plants. It’s not …CONTINUE READING
Trump is considering using emergency powers to save coal plants. Turnabout would be fair play.
The Trump Administration is considering using emergency powers to keep coal-fired power plants in operation even though they’re not economically viable. That would require an extraordinary stretch of the statutes in question. And if the statutes are interpreted that broadly, a future president could easily use them for the opposing purpose — forcing utilities to …CONTINUE READING
Utilities are moving away from coal & toward renewables, even in GOP states.
Even in Republican states, there has been a regulatory movement to expand the use of renewables. (see this report for more.) Perhaps even more surprisingly, some utilities and generating companies that now use a lot of coal are voluntarily turning to renewables. Here are some recent examples: Ohio. In February, AEP explained that “Our customers …CONTINUE READING
Michael Wara posted previously about Rick Perry’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear. In its current incarnation, the proposal is aimed purely at ISOs and RTOs that operate capacity markets, which largely means a single entity, PJM. Why the focus on PJM? Oh, I guess I had better explain. OK, to start with, what did …CONTINUE READING
They’re both fossil fuels, but their producers don’t always have the same policy views.
Bush’s environmental policies were bad, but Trump’s policies are way worse. One reason is that Bush and Cheney were oilman, and Trump is obsessed with coal. Yes, oil and coal are both fossil fuels, but they have different economics and different policy stances. These are two very different industries. The U.S. coal companies are in …CONTINUE READING
Administration policy is based on a series of falsehoods.
There are some falsehoods which the United States government has now adopted as dogma. They aren’t true but they’re repeated day in and day out. Sadly, they’re sometimes not even deliberate falsehoods, because the people who repeat them have been brainwashed into believing them or are just too ignorant to realize the actual facts. “Greenhouse …CONTINUE READING
With or without Trump’s policies, those Appalachian coal jobs aren’t coming back.
Earlier in August, the governor of West Virginia asked Trump for a billion-dollar bailout of the Eastern coal industry. Under his plan, the federal government would pay power companies $15 per ton to use Appalachian coal. That’s a sign of the industry’s desperate economic plight. In 2016, global coal use had its biggest drop in …CONTINUE READING
Some Resources for Non-Experts (and for Experts Too!) on the Executive Order Rolling Back Federal Climate Change Regulations
Cutting Through the Information Overload
The President’s Executive Order rolling back climate change-related initiatives, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” just came out today, and there’s already plenty of analysis to help people to understand its likely impact. While the short answer is that it is terrible for our country, the long answers tend to make people’s eyes glaze over if …CONTINUE READING
Carbon emissions are set in decline in Texas, with less coal and more renewables.
At a national meeting of state utility regulators, the head of the group recently said that the Clean Power Plan was basically dead, BUT this might not matter because “arguably, you’re seeing market-based decarbonization” due to technological changes. Case in point: Texas. Market trends are pushing Republican-stronghold Texas toward a cleaner grid. ERCOT, which operates nearly all …CONTINUE READING