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  1. Rod, thank you for the clarity. A person always has to be a bit suspicious when EDF portrays itself as a an expert on markets. Expert on subsidies, yes. Expert on markets…not so much.

    One issue EDF doesn’t address is the simple fact that utilities generally have interruptible contracts with the pipelines. A gas-fired plant will take a grid operator capacity payment (“I’ll be there when you need me….the capacity of this plant is at your disposal”). But the plant’s contract with the pipeline is usually an interruptible contract. At peak times, for the power plant, gas may not be available or be too expensive to buy. So, the plant doesn’t go on-line when the grid calls on it (“I’ll be there if it works for me”).

    ISO-NE has been twisting itself in knots to try to deal with this problem. See the section “Capacity auctions mislead the grid” in my post. http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2017/01/pay-for-performance-on-us-grid-no-help.html#.WhBVxDLMwUE

  2. The WJS article requires a sign in, I assume this article on the EDF website from Oct. 2017, covers similar ground:


    Per this white paper, EDF’s proposed solutions for New England’s “fuel security” problem are “Alternative load service assurance solutions” which consists of batteries, LNG, Demand Response, Pumped Storage, Oil, and Energy Efficiency.

    A quick search of Fred Krupp reveals his annual salary is over $545k and EDF’s annual operating budget is well over $100 million. With such friendly oil & gas solutions openly on display, it appears Krupp’s stunted understanding of economics are driven by the fundementals of supply and demand after all.

  3. “Krupp… makes a vague accusation implying that the gas distribution utilities purposely acted to ‘limit the amount of gas available to the generators that produce half of the region’s electricity.'”

    At (possible) risk of gross oversimplification, it would at least superficially appear EDF has it’s hands out pleading for permission to burn more unnaturally fracked gas or, failing that and perusing Meridith’s link, fuel oil in it’s stead.

    I’m shocked.

  4. I have mentioned on Rod’s web pages that the pipe lines serving NE are just not big enough to supply all of the gas needed to the north eastern US when there is a long cold spell. Large utilities such as PSE&G alleviate the problem by storing NG and in really cold spells converting Coal into Coal Gas which is added to the NG. They did this several time during the few years that I lived in NJ. Smaller utilities will just have to pay the price and pass it on.

    1. > Large utilities such as PSE&G alleviate the problem by storing NG and in really cold spells converting Coal into Coal Gas which is added to the NG.

      Sounds like the cheap, partial version of IGCC plants, and a sneaky way to keep using coal. Storing coal at a gasification plant is apparently a good way to, effectively, store natural gas.

  5. I think the consumers (you & me) lost alot more than we gained when we scrapped the old “regulated monopoly with an obligation to serve its customers” system. Deregulation was a big mistake, IMO.

    1. Oddly enough, the regulated-monopoly areas still have less expensive electricity. Or maybe it’s not that odd. ;-

      In this post, I have a graphic, from a report to NESCOE, which is the New England governors association to keep track of electricity issues. The NESCOE report referenced a paper from the business school at UC Berkeley. You can clearly see that the “restructured” RTO areas are have more expensive retail prices (upper red line) than the non-restructured states (blue line).

      This report is two years old. If someone knows of an update, please post it here.


      1. > You can clearly see that the “restructured” RTO areas are have more expensive retail prices (upper red line) than the non-restructured states (blue line).

        You can also see the RTO areas already had more expensive prices before the restructuring. The difference (lower dashed line) increased from around 1998, but after a peak in 2007 has decreased to about the same as in the early ’90s before restructuring.

      2. Yes, the current RTO areas did have higher prices before restructuring. One major point of restructuring was that areas with high priced electricity would see prices fall, due to the effects of competitive markets.

        The chart shows that, at least for the first twenty-some years of competitive markets, competition didn’t particularly lower prices.

      3. The chart also shows that both regulated and unregulated market prices increased by similar amounts, and both seem correlated, more or less, with the natural gas prices shown. If this shows anything, it may be that regulation of markets makes no difference (or small difference).

  6. Rod,
    > rather rambling commentary
    > I say that as a way of establishing standing when making a comment …

    At least you’re aware of rambling. Being paid by the word is suspected.

    > winter weather can be harsh while also being frequently unpredictable.

    “Winter” is unnecessary here, but indeed the data chart alone shows this. Maybe someone can invent a way to increase those average temperatures. 🙂 It’s amazing how people can find ways to adapt to frequently unpredictable conditions or resources, like sun and wind.

    > An complete presentation…

    An or a? (nit)

    1. @Pu239

      Perceptive. Did you happen to notice the red text that provides a brief explanation of the Atomic Insights funding model. Certainly not paid by the word.

      If I would have had more time, I would have written a shorter post.

      People in general are quite resourceful about inventing ways to remain comfortable even if the weather isn’t cooperative. Some put on more layers of clothes or pull up a thicker blanket. Others turn to their thermostat so that they can keep on living and working without additional restraints.

      1. > Did you happen to notice the red text

        No, sorry, I didn’t have much time, and run some smart ad-blocking. 😉

        > Others turn to their thermostat

        Yes, I know even Jimmy Carter symbolically wore his sweater at the White House. There should be room for both types to choose their own way, rather than forcing one approach. Just because you think you’re on a mission from God, doesn’t make your way best for everyone.

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