AUSenergy News Update 11/21/2013
Nov 21, 2013

In today’s AUSenergy News Update:  Quad Cities Nuclear power plant feels threatened by low wholesale electricity prices, Texans face the choice between higher rates or increased risk of blackouts, and PennFuture seeks to eliminate dirty diesel generators from participating in demand response programs.

Quad Cities Nuclear Power Plant Considers Closing if Wholesale Prices Remain Low

Summary: Exelon CEO Christopher Crane says that the company will consider shutting down the Quad City nuclear power plant if the electricity market doesn’t improve. Such a shutdown could severely hamper the Quad City area with lost jobs and tax revenue. The Illinois legislature may be willing to explore a longer term power purchase agreement from the facility, but that may come at the expense of ratepayers.
AUS Comment: Any long term purchase agreement from the Quad City facility will likely raise electricity rates for Illinois electricity consumers, though a shutdown of the plant may also have a similar impact on electricity prices.

Report Warns Creation of Texas Capacity Market Will Raise Electricity Rates

Summary: The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power and the Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor released a report warning that the creation of a capacity market in Texas would have the effect of raising electricity rates for Texas consumers.
AUS Comment: Concern has been expressed for reliability of the electrical grid in Texas and a capacity market has been the most common solution to address reliability issue. It does add cost to electricity, but Texans may have to choose between higher electricity rates or an increased likelihood of blackouts.

PennFuture Requests PA House Committee to End Diesel Demand Response Loophole

Summary: PennFuture testified to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Environmental Resource and Energy Committee in an effort to get the state to close a loophole created by the EPA. The loophole allows diesel generators lacking pollution controls to participate in demand response programs. These generators generally produce two to three times more pollutants than coal fired power plants and through demand response are only operating during many of the worst air-quality days.
AUS Comment: Closing this loophole could make demand response more accessible for cleaner resources, such as energy curtailment; especially since PJM estimates that backup generators account for a fifth of the region’s demand response. Almost 90% of those generators are powered by diesel.

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