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energy prices Archives - Michaels Energy

Renewables Killed the Nuclear Star, And Other Price Oddities

By Energy Rant One Comment
In April of this year, I commented on the Center of the American Experiment’s report, Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure. That post is here. As a wee lad, I liked Curious George, so let us dig in and see if we can tweeze the fibers that drive the cost of electricity. Wind and Electricity Prices American Experiment’s claim is that wind energy with near-zero marginal cost of production does not result in lower energy prices for consumers. In fact, they say it increases electricity prices. This is where I began. Data for this post come from...
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Utilities – We all Un-Bundle

By Energy Rant One Comment
Our theme the last few weeks has covered technological change, consumer emotions, and irrational ways of thinking. The regulated monopoly and its cost-of-service model will not last forever. Someday it will be replaced. What might that look like? Right after last week’s post, From Crazy to Rational went up, I read Why Electric Utilities Should Replace Electric Rate Base in Fortnightly. Wow. How fortuitous! Cost-of-Service The cost-of-service model (COS) described in last week’s post, and verified by the Fortnightly article, motivates utilities to provide slightly more business efficiency than government. The COS model sets revenue requirements for utilities by capitalizing...
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Untold Story of Disappearing Energy Jobs

By Energy Rant No Comments
On the subject of electricity generation sources and price, I’ve been reading numerous articles from various bona fide sources and started connecting dots. Public Utilities Fortnightly (PUF) has written about historically low electricity prices, as a percent of GDP or household spending, numerous times in the past year. Electricity price escalation has not kept pace with the consumer price index. As of last August, Steve Mitnick, of PUF shared data, which I plotted on the chart below. [vc_single_image image="13831" img_size="full" alignment="center"] A year ago, I wrote about this topic as well in Low Electricity Prices - For How Long?. In...
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Energy Efficiency; Best in Show Pedigree, with a Homely Mutt Impression

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Energy efficiency gets a bad rap, but I shall attempt to slap some sense into efficiency deadbeats.  I will start by beating the simple-payback-is-bad dead horse one more time.  It may giddyup and run as a result. I am quite certain that one of the things that make investment in energy efficiency the homely mutt of corporate decision making is lack of trust in the savings.  This is why it has always been bogged down with simple payback.  Like, whew, when do I get my money back and break even on this lower-than-penny-stock gamble?  I just want my money out....
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Utility of the Future; Rebates for Load Building Anyone?

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
The source of this week’s post about the utility of the future is this Utility Dive article about Pacific Gas and Electric’s proposed incentives for electric vehicles. The article made me think of this: liberals think big business is evil and conservatives think big government is evil.  Both are right to a large extent.  Oooh.  In my opinion, libertarians are most correct fearing crony capitalism as the unholy alliance between big government and big business.  A primary role of government is to ensure citizens are protected from fraud, embezzlement, collusion, and the seven deadly sins.  Hens and little people are...
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Clean Energy Disconnect Between Say and Do

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
This article, Americans could pay more for clean energy.  But will they really?, from Utility Dive reminds me of my own life experiences with squirrelly people.  They talk a good game, but where is the action?  It also reminds me of the folly in precise net-to-gross, or attribution studies. The article highlights findings of a University of Michigan study regarding consumer concerns over energy prices and the environment.  The findings include: Ninety three percent say energy prices are affordable. The threshold for unaffordable is a 140% increase! Energy markets are inelastic (I said this a long time ago). Self-reported willingness...
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Energy Efficiency in the USA

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
Over the weekend I was reading this white paper by ACEEE, and as almost always, a number of responses came to mind. [vc_single_image image="9086" img_size="full"] With the passing of years I observe that as people age, they fall into perhaps three categories: (1) the curmudgeons  - the glass is ¾ empty and don’t tell me it isn’t (2) cynical cranks with ideas and (3) Chrissy Snows.  Engineers, for example, fall into the first two groups – or they go to law school, get into politics, and turn into a Chrissy Snow.  Chrissy Snows, as with everyone, are mostly good people,...
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f(x) where x = Energy Cost

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government One Comment
It has been a while since I’ve picked on an economist for his or her seemingly foolish statements and theories (other than the Ben Bernanke but I’ll get back to him later). Ed Dolan, university / government wonk, states in an interview that there is no lock-step relationship between economic growth and energy cost.  Rather, the world’s best performing economies have substantially increased their energy efficiency in terms of energy consumption per gross domestic product (GDP).  He states while the OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) - about 35 mostly free countries – increased efficiency by an average...
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Monty and Me

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Sustainability One Comment
Back in August I wrote about our “non-energy policy” and that our federal administrations since Nixon have vowed to reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, especially from hostile regions - and exactly the opposite has occurred.  We are better positioned to control our energy destiny right now, for decades, more so than any time in my life. Technology for tapping conventional fossil fuels has vastly outstripped and expanded the gap between inexpensive fossil fuel supply and alternative energy sources.  Unfortunately or fortunately, this is reality.  Two major energy sources being tapped of course include natural gas from shale...
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No Policy?

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Utility Stuff No Comments
As administrations and congresses come and go, one thing remains the same: “there is no clear energy policy”, and “we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil”.  Neither one is ever addressed. First, what the heck is a clear energy policy anyway and are we sure we want one?  When the government messes with any market, the result is always negative for consumers and in some cases bordering on catastrophe.  The only exception I see is utilities, which lend themselves to monopolistic efficiency.  You may need to lie down after that head-spinning oxymoron.  But seriously, in order to have...
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