electricity

Getting Down to the Nitty Griddy

United States at Night

The Texas Blackout and the Politics of Price Making

As has been widely reported over the past week, some Texas electricity customers are now facing astronomically high electricity bills as a result of the recent power grid crisis. Under the Texas system, which is as close to a fully deregulated system of electricity provisioning as we have in the U.S., retail customers are allowed …

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A Tale of Two Blackouts

NASA Earth Observatory, Feb. 19, 2021

Learning from the Texas and California Power Grid Failures

The Texas blackouts earlier this week have reminded us once again of the vital importance of electricity as part of the basic infrastructure of everyday life and the terrible consequences that ensue when the grid fails.  Recent reports indicate that dozens of people have died as a result of the extreme weather and blackouts and …

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Guest Bloggers Alice Kaswan and Kirsten Engel: Untapped Potential: Emissions Reduction Initiatives Beyond Clean Power Plan Are Warranted, Workable

New Report Analyzes Potential for Further Emissions Reduction from Existing Sources

Guest post by Alice Kaswan (University of San Francisco School of Law), Kirsten H. Engel (University of Arizona School of Law) It’s been a month since the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments on the Clean Power Plan, and the nation is in wait-and-see mode. But our report, Untapped Potential: The Carbon Reductions Left Out of …

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Guest Blogger David Spence: Why Some Electricity Markets Will Struggle With Decarbonization

David Spence is Professor of Law, Politics & Regulation at the University of Texas at Austin

Recently the New York Times published an article chronicling the financial problems experienced by one of the world’s premier developers of concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities. The financial headwinds facing CSP are a sign of a more fundamental problem electricity markets face: namely, capturing all of the important values we attach to electricity production. Most …

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The Significance of EPA’s Proposed Power Plant Standards

Although they won’t have immediate impacts, EPA’s proposed rules for new coal plants will indirectly help shape the future of the industry.

There’s an uproar over EPA’s proposed rules for CO2 emissions from new coal plants, even though no one expects anyone to build a new coal plant for at least a decade.  I’ve argued (here and here) that the industry won’t have standing to challenge the rules because they won’t have any imminent impact.  In fact, …

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The Current U.S. Energy Pathway is Paved with Coal, Oil and Natural Gas

How well are we doing, in our efforts to strip fossil fuels from our energy mix? If you want to believe the most recent estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the answer is: not so well. As EIA prepares its 2013 report on the impact of various proposed policy changes, it asks itself: …

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Energy Policy: Kicking Butt and Taking Names

Steve, you write: This is not just about ceiling insulation and more heat-reflective roofs.  It also has to do with the ability of electric generators to convert heat to power, the elimination of line losses from the transmission grid, and the improvement of fuel delivery systems to avoid leakage.  It has to do with strategic …

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What a Waste of Energy

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has issued its annual snapshot of our national energy use, based on data collected by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency.  The good news is that we used less energy in 2009 than we did in 2008 (almost all of the savings probably attributable to the still-weak economy).  The …

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Utilities-Only Carbon Cap

The proposed utilities-only cap-and-trade system could be a step in the right direction, although it’s far from ideal.

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A Smart Grid Requires Smart Planning

Two-way instant communication, ever-changing electricity prices, lightning-fast micro-switches – the smart grid is all the rage.  In fact, a report just issued by a firm called Pike Research contains the prediction that worldwide expenditure on smart grid stuff will exceed $200 billion over the next five years.  The hope is that a smarter grid will …

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