Discussing Energy Economics on the Internet

A New Power Exchange for the UK?

Posted in Market Design,Trading,UK by Cheryl Morgan on the July 15th, 2008

Long, long ago and far, far away, the UK decided to get rid of the famous Pool and set up a trading-based market instead. Questions were asked as to whether an official exchange would be established as part of the new market design, but Professor Littlechild, then head of OFFER, decided to let the market decide. There were, after all, many firms eager and willing to set up exchanges. Where are they all now?

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This Week It Is Nuclear?

Posted in Nuclear,UK by Cheryl Morgan on the July 14th, 2008

A couple of weeks ago Gordon Brown announced that the UK would be investing massively in renewable energy. Yesterday, in a speech at the end of President Sarkozky’s Mediterranean summit in Paris, Mr. Brown called for “a renaissance of nuclear power”, though to be fair he did mention “massive expansion” of renewable energy as well. Given the looming urgency caused by the imminent retirement of Britain’s fleet of existing nuclear power stations, it would not be surprising to hear Mr. Brown call for massive investment in fossil fuel generation as well.

The real question, however, is all about money. Who is actually going to build any of this new plant? The Guardian quotes a Downing Street source as saying, “The industry will not make the long-term investment required to build a new nuclear power station if they think the government is not totally committed to nuclear energy.” This seems very likely. But given the continuing reluctance of anyone to buy British Energy, total government commitment may not be enough.

One issue that may be giving investors pause for thought is the cost of decommissioning. A report issued last week by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee put the current cost of decommissioning the existing nuclear fleet at £73 billion ($146bn) and rising fast. Who would have to foot the bill for decommissioning any new plants that get built? The Daily Telegraph quotes a government spokesman as saying:

As for the building of new nuclear power stations, we’ve been clear from the very start that energy companies – not taxpayers – must meet the full costs of eventual decommissioning of new nuclear power stations and their full share of waste management and disposal costs.

Anyone fancy taking on that obligation?

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Switzerland to Join Europe?

Posted in Electricity Transmission,Europe by Cheryl Morgan on the July 9th, 2008

Well, their electricity network anyway. Platts reports that negotiations are taking place between Switzerland and the European Union regarding increased integration of their respective electricity transmission networks. This is doubtless particularly welcome news for Italy as the famous blackout of September 2003 was triggered by the failure of lines in Switzerland. A report (in English) on the incident produced by the Swiss government is available here (PDF).

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California Issues Conservation Alert

Posted in California,Demand Management by Cheryl Morgan on the July 8th, 2008

With a heat wave building up and wild fires already affecting many areas the California ISO has issued a “Flex Alert” warning to consumers for today, tomorrow and Thursday. The ISO does not expect power to be interrupted, but voluntary demand-side management agreements may be called into play. Californians had a lot of practice at power conservation during the infamous energy crisis, and the systems developed then are now used to encourage responsible energy use during times of nature-induced shortages. CA ISO’s press release can be found here, and consumers are being directed to the special Flex Your Power web site that gives tips for reducing energy use.

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Around the Web: The Energy Legal Blog

Posted in Legal,Web by Cheryl Morgan on the July 7th, 2008

With most people still recovering from the holiday weekend, it is perhaps a good time to take another look around the Internet. Today’s feature site is the Energy Legal Blog, run by the energy practice of law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani. Most of the material on the site is US-related, but the company does have a presence in other countries as well. There are RSS feeds, so it is easy to follow the stories that they publish.

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IAEE in Perth

Posted in Conferences by Cheryl Morgan on the July 4th, 2008

With much of our Northern Hemisphere readership doubtless on vacation (and the weather in England being predicted to be wet for the next few days) it is perhaps time to think of extending the summer by a trip to the beautiful city of Perth, Australia. The IAEE’s Asian Conference will take place there on November 5-7. Here is a brochure and call for papers.

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Sometimes Protests Work

Posted in Renewables,USA Federal by Cheryl Morgan on the July 3rd, 2008

Last week we reported on the decision of the US Bureau of Land Management to place a 2-year moratorium on all new solar power planning applications in order to do an environmental impact study. The decision was widely condemned by the renewable power industry and the irony of the situation caused many newspapers around the world to take up the story. Even Congress woke up. As the New York Times reports, one of the Colorado Representatives joined in the protests. Yesterday the BLM reversed the decision. The BLM will now continue to process new applications, though they will also continue with the environmental impact study in parallel.

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IAEE San Francisco

Posted in Conferences by Cheryl Morgan on the July 2nd, 2008

With this year’s IAEE Annual Conference in Istanbul over, it is time to turn our attention to next year, when the event will take place in San Francisco. Dr. Sioshansi and I will be delighted to see as many of you as possible visit our beautiful “city by the bay”. In the meantime, here are a PDF brochure and a web site for you to peruse.

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Investment in Renewables Surges

Posted in Renewables by Cheryl Morgan on the July 1st, 2008

The BBC reports on a publication by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which tracks spending on renewable energy. According to Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2008 the amount invested worldwide in such projects last year was $148bn, up 60% on last year. Wind is the biggest area of investment, but solar is the fastest growing. However, worries about world food prices and environmental damage have caused investment in ethanol and biofuels to fall by about a third. UNEP head Achim Steiner describes the current situation as a “green energy gold rush.”

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UIC Conference Offer

Posted in Conferences by Cheryl Morgan on the July 1st, 2008

The 5th Annual Utility Integration Conference takes place in Phoenix on September 16-17. We are pleased to announce that you can get a 10% discount on the registration fee if you mention EEnergy Informer. Useful web links are as follows:


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