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Xcel Energy


Soaked to Crisp Threats and 100% Renewable Energy

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week I attended the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference, IEPEC, which I had affectionately dubbed the Energy Program Evaluation Asylum, EPEA, six years ago. Back then, I called it the Asylum because it included annual scrums over subjects such as net-to-gross (NTG) studies, free ridership, and so on. The Family Feud is Dead You’ll never believe this, but the industry seems to have moved on. The only time I heard “NTG” was during the opening-night entertainment exercise – a gameshow wannabee modeled after the Family Feud. “One hundred evaluators were surveyed. The top six answers are on the board.…
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Tele-Phoney Nincompoops; Efficiency Pros – Your Jobs are Safe

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
There is more computing power in your pocket than we used to put a man on the moon. Have you heard this lately? I heard it last week at the closing plenary for AESP’s spring conference. Doesn’t it sound grand? Aren’t we smart? Not really, and not so much. Do Smart Phones Make us Dumb? Do smartphones and their apps make us dumb? Maybe not, but unlike the fairy tale that coffee stunted our growth as children, the drones do stunt cerebral, intellectual, and social growth for sure. For example, people consult with their bestie drones 80 times per day…
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I’ll Take Smart Grid for $200, Alex – What is AMI?

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
Last week, in a moment of weakness, I was on my Pinterest board (is that what it’s called?), when I came upon this excellent tip sheet from a marketing blog. I noted that the “emotional” alternatives to the “intellectual,” bloated phrases were simpler with fewer syllables and easier to read. On the same day, I was studying the benefits and costs of “advanced metering infrastructure,” aka, “smart grid.” Do you see a problem with our industry here? Name something with grotesquely puffy language, and then tag it with an incomprehensible acronym, rather than using a simpler term like, oh, smart…
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Wind Production Tax Credit

Capacity Market v Energy Market – What’s the Diff?

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
We are taking a break from exergy this week, and we are going to examine what is happening in distorted electricity markets around the country. This will be somewhat of a sequel to Regulating Deregulation and Wind's Other Big Subsidy. Too much of a good thing, or as they say, unintended consequences, is pushing the grid in some places toward instability. By the way, I scoff at the term “unintended consequences.” There are only two types of consequences: intended and ignorant ones.Utility Dive notes that Texas (Electricity Reliability Council of Texas – ERCOT) and the Southwest Power Pool are the…
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Electric Utility- A CEO’s Many Bosses

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
I’ve come to realize over the course of many years that the electric utility business is fascinatingly challenging.  No other industry that I can think of has more bosses than an electric utility.  In fact, high ranking utility people promoted from Executive Vice President to President/CEO leave a job with one boss and accept a job with dozens of bosses. A utility must take orders from Washington.  Recently, the Supremes overturned a lower court ruling that effectively said, Michigan, you don’t have to listen to New Jersey to set limits on your emissions.  Now Mr. CEO, you do.The utility pleas…
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Tea Party On, Dudes

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Utility Stuff No Comments
Jeff Erickson of Navigant Consulting presented an interesting paper at last week’s American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study for Buildings.  The title was, “Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party Battle over Energy Efficiency.”  I thought it was just clever (aka bait and switch) advertising, but the presentation featured, almost exclusively, how the free market, small government tea party and the profit-bad, regulation-good occupiers might view energy efficiency. The tea party would favor consumer choice for incandescent light bulbs and gas guzzlers over government regulation of these common, and other uncommon for that matter, consumer goods. …
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