Energy Exchange

FirstEnergy’s dangerous push for an $8B bailout: What you need to know

A mega utility from Ohio is appealing to the Trump administration for an unprecedented $8-billion, ratepayer-funded bailout, even pointing to a 1950s Korean War Act for relief. It’s FirstEnergy’s last-ditch appeal after losing previous efforts to prop up a fleet of failing coal and nuclear plants.

The company’s Washington-based lobbyists have the ears of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, an avid coal champion, who could make a decision any day.

What neither FirstEnergy nor Perry are telling us is that a government handout of this magnitude could have implications for energy markets nationwide – while saddling Americans with a flurry of bailouts that go far beyond $8 billion. For no valid reason at all. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy / Read 2 Responses

Recommendations for a resilient grid, no federal coal bailout required

By Michael Panfil, Rama Zakaria

In the past year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has used the issue of grid resilience as cover for an aggressive campaign to funnel a multi-billion-dollar yearly bailout to the owners of old, uneconomic coal and nuclear power plants. Although this DOE effort was rightly rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in January, the issue of resilience remains.

In denying DOE’s proposal, FERC (the agency responsible for overseeing our nation’s electric grid) asked regional grid operators to report practices they are currently implementing to ensure a reliable, resilient electric grid. In March, grid operators filed their reports, which generally concluded that the grid is resilient and we don’t need uneconomic coal and nuclear plants to keep the lights on.

Today, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) – alongside numerous other stakeholders from business, academia, industry, and public interest organizations – submitted to FERC individual and joint comments on these grid operator reports and the topic of grid resilience. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing / Read 2 Responses

Fundamentals should guide FERC on PJM’s misguided state policy proposal

Federal regulators are currently considering a proposal that could fundamentally alter how our nation’s power markets work in tandem with state-crafted public policies.

The change being considered, submitted by the nation’s largest grid operator, PJM, would increase electricity prices and undermine state policies in the 13 states and D.C. where PJM operates. Today, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), alongside other clean energy advocates, filed in opposition to this proposal.

PJM’s proposal before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is dense and complex (for a great primer on the universe of issues surrounding a similar proposal, see this blog post by NRDC and this article by Vox’s David Roberts). At its core, however, PJM’s proposal centers on a subject that is elemental to the electricity sector: the interplay and interaction between states and federal regulators. PJM should not thrust itself into a public policymaking role, nor should FERC become judge and jury of state policies. Instead, PJM and FERC should facilitate state policy choices. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania / Comments are closed

New study answers the question, ‘What is grid resilience?’

By Rama Zakaria, Michael Panfil

Whether or not our electric grid is “resilient,” and what if anything should be done to make the grid more resilient, has been a topic of intense scrutiny in the past year.

The stakes in this debate reached new dimensions last fall with a highly controversial proposal by Sec. Rick Perry and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which claimed that the resilience of the electric grid is threatened by the premature retirement of uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. DOE’s flawed proposal – to bail out these plants through a profit-guarantee mechanism – was considered and unanimously rejected in January by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency charged with overseeing our nation’s electric grid. DOE’s proposal, in short, was an incredibly bad idea.

When FERC dismissed DOE’s proposal it opened a new proceeding, asking a series of questions around the topic of grid resilience.

A Customer-focused Framework for Electric System Resilience, a new report authored by Alison Silverstein and Grid Strategies, aims to answer these questions. The report, commissioned by Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council, recommends a customer-centric framework for evaluating electric system resilience and concludes that the most effective resilience solutions center upon the wires connecting the grid: distribution, and to a lesser extent transmission. By contrast, generation-related solutions – like keeping dirty coal and uneconomic nuclear plants online past their retirement dates – are the least effective for improving resilience. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, FirstEnergy, Grid Modernization, Utility Business Models / Comments are closed