Discussing Energy Economics on the Internet

Loop Flow Updates

Posted in Electricity Transmission,USA Federal by Cheryl Morgan on the August 27th, 2008

Energy Legal Blog has their say on the issue, and Platts reports on new measures taken by NYISO to combat future attempted scams.

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NordPool and Germany Link Up

Posted in Electricity Transmission,Europe,Germany,Nordic by Cheryl Morgan on the August 26th, 2008

According to EurActive the European Commission has approved a deal for a Northern European energy market that would link the Nordic region to Germany. The European Market Coupling Company will provide congestion management services and transmission rights trading to companies operating in NordPool and EEX. The deal is due to be finalized on September 29th.

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Loop Flow Scam Update

Posted in Electricity Transmission,USA Federal by Cheryl Morgan on the August 26th, 2008

Over at Knowledge Problem, Michael Giberson has an update to the story about the artificial congestion scam that affected NYISO and PJM. Giberson quotes Power Markets Week as saying that FERC is indeed conducting an investigation into the affair. Whether something will be done about it is another matter. PMW says:

Getting something like multiregional coordinated dispatch could solve a number of these issues, sources said, however the move would be extremely difficult because RTOs would lose some autonomy with a super pool, and states may be reluctant to give up some control.

Also, sources said some participants, particularly generators, may be reluctant to see better coordination because it may take away some profitable opportunities such as when price spikes occur across RTO borders.

And then someone will come along and claim that this is a clear case of “market failure”.

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Invesco Backs a Merger

Posted in Nuclear,UK by Cheryl Morgan on the August 26th, 2008

The latest news on the interminable British Energy saga is that Invesco, the largest City shareholder in BE, thinks that a merger with Centrica is the “obvious solution” for the nuclear generator. Previous rumors had suggested that lack of cash was one of the obstacles that led Invesco and Prudential to back out of the EdF sale. Invesco is apparently now saying that this is not the case. So who exactly is holding out for cash. Is there someone involved in the process who is desperate for money? Would that be you, Mr. Brown?

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Xcel Goes Green

Posted in Colorado,Renewables by Cheryl Morgan on the August 22nd, 2008

The greening of the USA’s generation industry took another significant step forward this week when the Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved a plan by Xcel Energy to replace 229MW of coal-fired generation with a 200MW solar plant. As reported by Rocky Mountain News, Xcel had originally planned to replace the aging coal plants (Arapahoe in Denver and Cameo in Gran Junction) with a 480MW gas plant. However, in the face of local opposition, and the need to meet Governor Bill Ritter’s plan for a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020, the utility will now use renewable generation instead.

Solar Power from IR

Posted in Renewables by Cheryl Morgan on the August 21st, 2008

The Economist has an interesting article up about the possibility of designing a solar cell that works on infra-red light rather than visible light. The technology is quite a long way from commercialization, but the possibilities for capturing and recycling energy from low grade heat are very interesting. Also it is fascinating to see how solar has come so quickly from a technology that everyone says is too expensive to a technology that is a favorite of entrepreneurs and inventors.

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Google Goes Geothermal

Posted in Renewables by Cheryl Morgan on the August 19th, 2008

According to a report today on Platts, Google is to invest $10.15 million in advanced geothermal technology. The idea is to develop techniques that will allow geothermal power to be tapped in places where no immediately available natural source exists:

In so-called Enhanced Geothermal Systems, the conditions needed for geothermal generation of naturally occurring pockets of steam and hot water are replicated by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in conventional turbines.

The principal beneficiary will be AltaRock Energy, who have a nice graphic description of their technology here.

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UIC Conference Reminder

Posted in Conferences by Cheryl Morgan on the August 19th, 2008

The Utility Integration Conference is now less than a month away, so it is time to remind you about this offer of a 10% discount on the registration fee.

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Nature Article Now Available

Posted in Renewables by Cheryl Morgan on the August 18th, 2008

Thanks to personal intervention by Oliver Morton (gosh, we have influence!) the Nature article on renewable energy technologies is now available for free. You can read it here. Here are a few brief extracts:

Because hydro is a mature technology, there is little room for improvement in the efficiency of generation. Also, the more obvious and easy locations have been used, and so the remaining potential can be expected to be harder to exploit.

Building and operating nuclear plants requires a great many highly trained professionals, and enlarging this pool of talent enough to double the rate at which new plants are brought online might prove very challenging. The engineering capacity for making key components would also need enlarging.

Wind Power Monthly estimates that the world’s installed capacity for wind as of January 2008 was 94 gigawatts. If growth continued at 21%, that figure would triple over six years.

Earth receives about 100,000 TW of solar power at its surface — enough energy every hour to supply humanity’s energy needs for a year. There are parts of the Sahara Desert, the Gobi Desert in central Asia, the Atacama in Peru or the Great Basin in the United States where a gigawatt of electricity could be generated using today’s photovoltaic cells in an array 7 or 8 kilometres across. Theoretically, the world’s entire primary energy needs could be served by less than a tenth of the area of the Sahara.

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August EEnergy Informer

Posted in EEnergy Informer by Cheryl Morgan on the August 18th, 2008

We are a little late with this due to all the traveling that has been going on, but here is the contents list for the August issue of EEnergy Informer, and a link to one of the articles.

  • An Inconvenient Goal: De-carbonized Electricity Within Decade
  • What – if Anything Did G8 Summit Accomplish?
  • Georgia Takes A Stand On Carbon Emissions
  • Want To Learn About US Energy Policy? Ask T. Boone Pickens
  • Portugal To Promote Zero-Emission Cars
  • California Has A Road Map For Climate Action
  • Regulators Caught In Cross Fire: Damned If You Do, Damned If Your Don’t
  • China’s Real Olympic Challenge: Managing Capacity Shortfalls
  • ENEL Ventures Into Offshore Wind
  • UK’s Renewable Policy: Too Dear And Too Late?

The article on regulation is available for free. All other articles currently require a subscription to the paper edition of the magazine. To subscribe to EEnergy Informer click here.

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