Let’s face it, regulators won’t let U.S. utilities die; they SHOULD update rules to better serve customers by allocating costs to those who benefit from them

The tally of utilities and governments around the world imposing or boosting fixed charges for grid-supplied electricity is rising to make up for the decline in traditional, rate-based revenue.  In the U.S. this has been due primarily to ever-improving energy efficiency and the end of year-to-year increases in electricity usage. Now, the demand curve looks […]

With demand response & distributed energy growing: how long will regulators preserve traditional utilities’ business models?

In the six months since a consultant to the Edison Electric Institute wrote a paper describing “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business,” many utility officials, analysts, investors and consultants have been mulling over how investor-owned electric utilities may have to change principally due to the growth of demand […]

Energy and climate portion of President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address

To save you time searching for the energy and climate portion of Obama’s February 12, 2013 State of the Union address, which occurred not quite half way through the speech, here it is, courtesy of ABC News: “After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce […]

Wind industry’s proposal to phase out its Production Tax Credit could shift energy subsidy debate

By Bill Opalka, Guest Contributor A proposal by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to phase out of its key federal subsidyby year-end 2018 in return for its immediate extension could mark a new era in assessing the fiscal costs and the economic and environmental benefits of all energy subsidies. The proposal was made to […]

Phase-out of wind production tax credit could help secure its extension

Amid the lame-duck rush to conclude the 112th Congress, the proposed extension of the 10-year wind energy production tax credit, or PTC, is one of the two big energy issues President Obama has to juggle as he prepares for his second term and tries to keep the U.S. economy from falling off the ‘fiscal cliff’. […]

With Obama’s win, cleaner energy has another chance, but these questions loom

Just because President Obama won four more years, doesn’t mean the next four will be any easier. Sure, it’s now his legacy he is beginning to focus on. But there are tall hurdles even the election results will do to change. Renewable energy developers and suppliers have a few rays of sunshine and a more […]

10 reasons to create a carbon tax

The possible revival of serious talks about a U.S. carbon tax should take thought-leaders to the most recent credible analysis in a book finished earlier this year by Shi-Ling Hsu,  a professor at the University of British Columbia: The Case for a Carbon Tax. Here I cut to the chase to spotlight the 10 reasons […]

U.S. carbon tax talk on the rebound: enough for both parties to dislike . . . and pass?

It might only apply to industry emissions and nary a Republican would dare admit to seriously considering it, but talk of a possible carbon tax is making the rounds in political Washington and elsewhere. Think about it. A carbon tax does not lack for support among mainstream energy and fiscal policy experts; it has drawn […]

Federal Court’s Upholding EPA on Greenhouse Gases Boosts Opportunity for Hybrids and Power from Renewables and Natural Gas

A federal appeals court has done for natural gas and renewable sources of electricity that no executive branch stimulus package could ever hope to do: raise the bar higher still to justify building another coal-fired power plant in the U.S. The same can be said in favor of hybrid and all-electric passenger cars. Now that […]

Petty politics defeats wind offshore Maryland. Can a third bid succeed? Will Gov. O’Malley even try?

“Petty political grudges” in Maryland’s Senate Finance Committee are to blame for the failure of the General Assembly to establish the mechanism to incent and pay for one of the first networks of offshore wind turbines anywhere off a U.S. coastline. That’s the way Chesapeake Climate Action Network Executive Director Mike Tidwell put it in […]