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The Power Grid’s Glide Path to Reckoning

By Energy Rant No Comments
“The U.S. electrical system is becoming less dependable. The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.” – The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2022. I can take down another one of my seven predictions for 2022. Some numbers from the WSJ: in 2000, there were fewer than two dozen major disruptions. In 2020 there were more than 180. Customers experienced over eight hours of disruption (on average) in 2020, more than double the number in 2013 when the government began tracking this metric. The Journal reports several reasons for the rickety grid. The Markets’ Disincentives for Reliability...
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Regulation v Deregulation in True Color

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
Recent projects have led me to examine how deregulated electricity markets work. Since I am naturally curious, I wanted to investigate differences between electricity price performance of deregulated states versus those of regulated states. This week we examine the impacts of regulation/deregulation on pricing, and next week, we will look at the impacts that renewable energy has on pricing. Data used come from the Energy Information Administration[1]. Figures lie, liars figure, but Jeff merely presents all data available for you to decide, pound your chest, or cry. That is your prerogative. Often data which do not support a narrative is...
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Energy Policy – Stay in Your Lane, Bro

By Energy Rant One Comment
Ohio lawmakers are again at the beck and call of deregulated power producing titans as they pass a nuclear and coal plant bailout at the expense of energy efficiency. They also dumped mandates for renewable resources. Almost simultaneously, the Institute for Energy Research (IER) published this brand new report, which compares levelized cost of electricity from existing nuclear plants to that of new wind and solar generation, transmission, and required backup resources. It may explain why Ohio lawmakers did what they did. The word “may” is used because I am firmly convinced the political class is mostly clueless regarding regulated...
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Utilities and Using Less – Making the Abstract Concrete

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff 2 Comments
The utility business is fascinating and bizarre to me, and this can only mean I’m a hapless, pathetically boring person.  But that is what it may look like to the uninformed.  It’s like soccer, baseball, or Indy car racing.  If you don’t like these games/sports, you just don’t get it. First off, from business and investor perspectives, utilities are not growth stocks, and they haven’t been for decades.  Essentially, they are like US treasuries.  I learned this in a 1989 personal finance class.  Geezers invest in utilities for the steady dividend.  Clearly, I wasn’t interested in a paltry 7% yield...
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Misunderstood Uranium – Boogeyman and Small Boxes

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 4 Comments
If we are to get serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we must put down the mud balls, enjoy some sacred-cow burgers, burn the little boxes in which we confine ourselves, and maybe have a little counseling about that boogeyman under the bed. This post first addresses the little boxes and may assuage fear of the boogeyman. A major step in the right direction is a rebirth of nuclear power as discussed in a recent post, The Nuclear Option. One thing is for sure, if you find yourself in any sort of reader comment and chat session, there is apparently...
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Green Jacket, Cigar, Gold Rings, and Disneyland

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, LEED, Renewable Energy, Stimulus, Sustainability One Comment
I attended the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance last week and it was an interesting environment, to say the least.  This was the 4th or 5th MEEA conference I have attended. Behavioral stuff is an up and coming topic/issue in the EE industry.  I am planning to do a rant that to save energy, people have to give a crap.  I just need something to push me over the edge.  After all, just about all lasting energy efficiency requires behavioral changes.  Only inanimate, stationary, non-energy consuming stuff, e.g., insulation, doesn’t require behavior change.  Everything else has a behavioral component for maintenance,...
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