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  • Who’s Your Energy Daddy?

    For now it remains large, investor-owned utilities, and ostensibly locally-focused rural cooperatives and municipal utilities. But the energy landscape of today gives me uncomfortable reminders of the Athenian tragedy by Sophocles – the Oedipus tale. John Farrell, ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy, gave this panel presentation at the 23rd annual conference of the Society for Environmental Journalists […]

  • Feds running a high-voltage gravy train for power transmission

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gives bonus incentives for outdated and costly systems of energy transmission at the expense of ratepayers.

  • Wellinghoff hypes IT for electricity

    In his vision of an America transitioning away from fossil fuels, Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, sees information technology as the basis for tremendous financial and employment opportunities. And with the right policies and incentives, this could happen soon. But in our current political reality, it feels like light years away. Speaking […]

  • Court strikes down federal overreach on transmission lines

    With the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress gave broad powers to the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to identify “congested” transmission corridors.  The goal was to prioritize new high-voltage transmission development and to provide higher financial returns to transmission development companies.  The decision created a lot of controversy, […]

  • An Electrifying Vision: 20 Million Plug-in Hybrids in 5 Years (Video)

    With the backdrop of devastated communities and ecosystems in the Gulf, President Obama took the opportunity to challenge the nation to move our clean energy transition forward–but what would that look like? Marc Spitzer of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) makes his case for a transformation of our vehicle fleet to plug-ins. He is […]

  • Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein gets climate bill wrong

    In a laudable attempt to draw more elite media attention to the Waxman-Markey bill — which, like all things “environmental,” has not exactly been a preoccupation of the political cable/blog/op-ed axis — Washington Post business writer Steven Pearlstein makes a hash of a few important facts. Pearlstein says the Waxman-Markey bill will create “create dozens of […]

  • A key climate and clean energy pick by Obama: Wellinghoff for energy commission chief

    President Obama has stacked his administration with experts and advocates for strong action on global warming and clean energy. Now he has added one more — in an unusually important position as the Washington Post reports: Add a new name to the list of Obama appointees devoted to aggressive action on climate change. President Obama […]

  • Reid to introduce a new bill granting more authority to feds for electricity transmission

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today signaled that energy policy will be a major focus for Congress in the next months, announcing plans to introduce a bill later this week that would give the federal government greater authority in siting electrical transmission lines around the country. “What we’re talking about doing is making it […]

  • Feds note electric rate increases and high construction costs for nuclear and coal

    An interesting new report [PDF] from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeks to explain why electric prices are currently increasing so dramatically.

    They lay most of the blame on rising fuel costs and rising commodity costs (copper, steel, etc.), which is certainly contributory, but in my opinion deceptive, since it suggests that -- but for commodity volatility -- things could be hunky-dory again. This implicitly diminishes the fact that we're entering a build-cycle in the power fleet, and thus fails to understand all the chickens now coming home to roost in the power sector.

    That said, it still makes for an interesting read -- even if one disagrees with the causes. The reality of rising power prices and even higher prices on forward markets is something that we must understand -- and for which we must start thinking through the consequences.