utility regulation

Good News from the States: April 2019 Roundup

While the Feds backpedal, the states move forward on clean energy.

Every day seems to bring more news of the Trump Administration’s dogged efforts to reduce environmental protections and accelerate climate change with increased carbon emissions.  But, as has been true since Trump took office, the picture at the state level is much different.  State governments across the country have accelerated their efforts to decarbonize, while …

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Modernizing the Grid

Utilities are spending billions of dollars to make the grid more reliable and sustainable.

In my last post, I talked about how Obama’s Clean Power plan was the right response to a changing grid. The grid is in the process of changing even more. Itwas designed for some relatively straightforward tasks. The main power plants, mostly burning coal (but sometimes natural gas or nuclear energy), ran day and night. …

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The Case Against Sulking

States will only lose out if they refuse to cooperate with the Clean Power Plan.

Mitch McConnell has urged states to refuse to submit plans if the Clean Power Plan is upheld by the Court.  He has been accused of inciting lawless behavior on the part of state governments.  Let me come to his defense on this.  (How often do I get to do that??) The states are under no legal obligation …

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The Politics of State Energy Deregulation: A Hypothesis

If you are interested in environmental policy, state public utility commissions might be the important agencies you’ve never heard of.  PUCs determine how much power capacity there will be and even more importantly, what the mix of energy sources will generate it.  Sometimes pundits will speak of “national energy policy”, but that is essentially a null set: …

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PG&E Can’t Show You the Money

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the utility whose natural gas pipeline in San Bruno, California exploded several months ago, failed to spend $183 million on pipeline safety that it had been authorized to collect between 1987 and 1999. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, U.S. Representative Jackie Speier wants to know what PG&E did …

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