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News and Analysis

U.S. EPA Claims Flexibility on Carbon Rules

October 31, 2014

This week, the U.S. EPA released a Notice of Data Availability, in which it invited further comment from stakeholders in three areas of its proposed power plant carbon rules:  the 2020-2029 glide path for emission reductions, the plan’s “building blocks,” and the methodology for calculating state-specific carbon goals.

The agency appears to be reacting to criticisms that the rules are technically flawed and economically damaging.  Its notice states:  “(S)takeholders have expressed a concern that shifting generation away from existing generating assets, particularly coal-fired [electricity generating units], could, in some situations, result in limiting cost-effective options.”

The EPA is also inviting comment on whether it should move from using 2012 as the plan’s baseline:  “The EPA is seeking comment on whether we should use a different single data year or the average of a combination of years (such as 2010, 2011, and 2012) to calculate the state fossil fuel emission rates used in state goal calculations.”

U.S. EPA Out of Sync with Voters

October 24, 2014

The Partnership for a Better Energy Future (PBEF), of which OMA is a member, commissioned a nationwide survey of 1,340 likely voters about the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which proposes to reduce power plant carbon emissions.

Among the findings:

  • A plurality of voters are opposed to the EPA regulations: 47% of voters oppose the regulations, with 31% strongly opposed; 44% support the regulations, with just 19% strongly supporting them. Men, seniors and middle-class voters are the most strongly opposed to the regulations.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the EPA regulations: 39% of voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the regulations while 22% are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the regulations.
  • Nearly half of voters say they are not willing to pay a single dollar more in their energy bill to accommodate the EPA regulations: 45% of voters say they are not willing to pay more in their monthly energy bill.
  • A majority of voters believe the United States cannot afford new costs and potential job losses resulting from the EPA regulations.

Almost three-quarters of voters say they want all-of-the-above energy policies.

Grid Operator Proposes Diluting Demand Response Benefits

October 24, 2014

Earlier this month PJM, the electricity grid operator for this region of the country, released a whitepaper on demand response (DR).  In it, PJM makes proposals that could greatly reduce the value of DR programs for manufacturers going forward.  The proposals could affect current contracts, and, ultimately, increase capacity prices significantly.

EnerNoc will present on the development at the November 13 meeting of the OMA Energy Committee.  EnerNoc works with manufacturers, and others, to aggregate DR and manage DR bid processes.  Register for the committee meeting here.

Sign Up for CHP Tour of OMA Member, Jay Industries, Inc., in Mansfield

October 24, 2014

The OMA CHP/WER/EE work group has a limited number of spaces remaining for its November 12 tour of Jay Industries, Inc.’s new combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Mansfield.

The tour will be 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. followed by a lunch discussion hosted by IGS Energy.

CHP plants generate electricity on-site while utilizing the waste heat to generate hot-water, steam, or chilled water.  CHP plants use natural gas and have an overall efficiency of about 75%, which exceeds the overall combined efficiency of traditional centralized power plants and boilers, which are typically 50% efficient.

To find out more or reserve your spot, contact OMA’s energy engineering consultant, John Seryak, of Go Sustainable Energy LLC.

The OMA CHP/WER/EE work group is a peer-sharing, learning group for facility and energy managers charged with managing energy consumption and peak demand in their facilities.  Learn more or join here.

Is your plant a good candidate for CHP?  As an OMA member, you are eligible for a free screening analysis from Go Sustainable Energy LLC.   Contact John Seryak.

In-State Renewable Generation Standards to be Cancelled

October 24, 2014

On October 15, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) issued an entry directing PUCO staff to propose rules amending Ohio Adm. Code 4901:1-40-03 in order to eliminate the in-state renewable energy requirement.  The revisions incorporate recently enacted S.B. 310 into the commission’s regulations

Should Consumers Subsidize Utilities?

October 17, 2014

Three of Ohio’s four investor-owned utilities have rate cases pending before the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) that would impose nonbypassable riders on all electricity consumers to subsidize the continued operation of uneconomic generation units.

The proposals are so significant to the operation of the electricity markets in PJM (which manages the markets in Ohio and 12 other states) that its Independent Market Monitor has filed a motion to intervene.  In it, the market monitor says:  “The Market Monitor takes the position that subsidies should not be permitted to interfere with the competitiveness of PJM markets and PJM’s competition‐based market design.”

A national coalition notes:  “This amounts to a hidden tax on the state’s consumers and businesses and Ohio’s economy, and represents a threat to the realization of the competitive market’s benefits.”

To learn what you can do about this issue, contact Ryan Augsburger.